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20 Most Pitiful Franchises in Sports History

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
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Regardless of fan following and various other factors, there are quite a few franchises in sports that very rarely exceed expectations. From serial mediocrity to a lack of championships, each team on this list is pitiful in its own way. Here are the 20 most pitiful sports franchises in history.

20. Toronto Maple Leafs

2014 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
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20. Toronto Maple Leafs

2014 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
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An Original Six franchise, the Maple Leafs haven't been relevant in several years. Whether it was blowing a three-goal third period lead in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Bruins in 2013 or charging the most in the NHL to see a mediocre team play, the Maple Leafs have been subpar for quite some time.

19. St. Louis Blues

Washington Capitals v St. Louis Blues
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19. St. Louis Blues

Washington Capitals v St. Louis Blues
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The Blues have never really been laughably bad, but they've never been particularly good either. They have zero Stanley Cups in their half-century-long existence and always seem to underachieve in the playoffs. With a talented team, the franchise has a chance to turn that around over the next couple seasons.

18. Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins v Kasnas City Royals
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18. Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins v Kasnas City Royals
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The Royals were a relatively successful franchise until 1985. They won the World Series against the in-state rival Cardinals that year and haven't made it back to the playoffs since. That's right, this team hasn't made the playoffs in 30 years. Most of their current players weren't alive the last time the franchise reached the postseason.

17. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills
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17. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills
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They are competitive from time to time, especially in the mid-1990s, but overall, the Bengals haven't been very successful. Most years they make the playoffs, they fail to escape the first round. The reason this team is on the list is because of their lack of playoff success.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves

Utah Jazz v Minnesota Timberwolves
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16. Minnesota Timberwolves

Utah Jazz v Minnesota Timberwolves
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Once they trade star Kevin Love, the T'Wolves will probably climb even higher on this list, but for now, they're only the 16th most pitiful team in sports history. Even when they had Kevin Garnett, they couldn't do much in the postseason and for the most part, they've been really bad overall.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James Portraits
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15. Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James Portraits
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If LeBron James' homecoming includes a championship, then this team will drop off the list, but like all Cleveland teams, they've been mired in futility for quite some time. Without a championship in their franchise history, it's no wonder the fans are putting all their eggs into the King James basket.

14. Seattle Mariners

Cleveland Indians v Seattle Mariners
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14. Seattle Mariners

Cleveland Indians v Seattle Mariners
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In isolated seasons, the Mariners have been a very good team. However, they have never shown they can sustain success and the stars on their team usually leave before they can establish anything in a Mariner uniform. With several seasons of promise, the team never seems to make a deep playoff run.

13. San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
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13. San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
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Without Tony Gwynn playing for them in the 80s and 90s, this team would be much higher on the list. They were competitive in the 80s often and even in the early 2000s, but have been irrelevant other than that. Seemingly always a slightly below average team, this franchise doesn't seem likely to make a championship run for a while.

12. Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
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12. Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
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The current contingency in Washington could soon turn this around, but to date this franchise is without a World Series title. Until they show they're capable of winning a title, they will continue to be looked at as a pitiful franchise overall.

11. New York Jets

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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11. New York Jets

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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Ah, the butt fumble. Few moments of failure live on in infamy as long as that play has. Other than Hollywood Joe Namath making good on his promise in Super Bowl III, the franchise is without a title and they've rarely been in the mix. In Mark Sanchez's first two seasons, they appeared competitive, but haven't threatened since then.

10. Toronto Raptors

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven
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10. Toronto Raptors

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven
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Even when they had Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady both in their primes, the Raptors couldn't manage to win a championship. They've been relatively anonymous in the sporting world since then and will continue to do so unless they can string together some seasons like they had last year.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints
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Other than their Super Bowl victory in 2002, the Bucs have been a relatively bad franchise. There was a two-year span in the late 1970s in which the team managed to win just one game. Memories of performances like that don't just go away overnight.

8. Cleveland Indians

Colorado Rockies v Cleveland Indians
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8. Cleveland Indians

Colorado Rockies v Cleveland Indians
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There's a reason the hit movie "Major League" made it seem so unlikely that the Indians could compete in MLB. While they've had some seasons of success, they've been as futile as the city of Cleveland has been as a sports city as a whole. They got oh so close in 1997 before the Marlins buried their World Series hopes.

7. Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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7. Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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An 0-16 record doesn't just go away. The fact that a team in the modern NFL could actually lose all of its regular season games is appalling. Obviously the team has improved since then, but they choked away the NFC North they should've won last season and that wasn't the first time they've blown what seemed like a sure thing.

6. Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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6. Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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Making it to four0straight Super Bowls and losing every single one had to be agonizing for Bills fans. Ever since that run in the 1990s, the team has been irrelevant and doesn't seem like they will be able to shed that label for another couple of years.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
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5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
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Other than a couple of playoff seasons with David Garrard at quarterback, this team has failed to do anything. They're almost never competitive and are one of those teams that failure has become synonymous with.

4. Sacramento Kings

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings
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4. Sacramento Kings

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings
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The Kings have been around for over 50 years and have just one championship to their credit, which came back in the 1950s. They've almost been relocated several times and despite the support of their fans, people wouldn't be able to blame the NBA for pulling the trigger on that in the future if they continue to struggle as much as they have recently.

3. New York Mets

San Diego Padres v New York Mets
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3. New York Mets

San Diego Padres v New York Mets
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Take away their World Series titles in 1969 and 1986 and the Mets have been virtually unwatchable over the course of their history. There have been other isolated years they've been competitive, but for the most part, the Mets are a non-factor in MLB year in and year out.

2. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns v New England Patriots
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2. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns v New England Patriots
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The Browns epitomize Cleveland sports as a whole: Never really competitive and when they are, they find a heart-breaking way to crush their fans' hopes and dreams. Even with Johnny Football at the helm, this franchise might not be able to shed the pitiful label without winning a Super Bowl.

1. Chicago Cubs

Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
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1. Chicago Cubs

Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
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Even though they've won more games than they've lost over their history, it's hard not to look at a team without a World Series in over a century as the most pitiful sports franchise ever. There have been many times they've been competitive, but they find gut-wrenching ways to lose, which causes the most logical fan in the world to wonder whether there's a really a curse or not. As of right now, it might be a good bet that one does exist.