As the Cleveland Browns are muddling through another losing seasona��still without a wina��don’t forget, they care coming off a campaign in which they won just a single game. 2015 only brought them three. Before that? Seven wins in 2014. Not bad, right? Well one season before that, they won just four.
So, does that make the Cleveland Browns the worst sports team in history?
Long-time Browns fans probably hold much anger and resentment for the late Art Modell, who took the original Cleveland Browns football team out of the city and moved them to Baltimore. That happened in 1995. And since then, the now Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls.
Meanwhile, the city of Cleveland was granted a second football franchise to begin play again in 1999. Since then, the Browns have been to the playoffs just oncea��in 2002, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild card gamea��36-33.
To name the worst sports franchise ever, I’ve taken into consideration each major sport: football, baseball, hockey and basketball. The National Hockey League has never had a perennial loser, however. So ahead, we’ll take a look back at the NFL’s, MLB’s and the NBA’s worst-ever franchises.
In reviewing records from each league, it can be assumed that the worst teams in their respective history have been the Browns, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Clippers. In arguing which of the three is the most pathetic, however, it boils down to how many years of losing each franchise has suffered through.
When the Pirates made the NLCS in 1992, it would be the last time they sniffed a playoff game for 20 seasons. If fact, the Bucs failed to finish above .500 in any of those 20 campaigns thereafter. From 1993-2012, Pittsburgh averaged 68.7 wins per season. Or, a .433 winning percentage.
Despite having a 79-83 record in 1997, the Pirates would still finish second in their division. Twice more in that 20-year span they finished third, and four times in fourth. All other years saw a fifth or last place finish. In that second-place season, Pittsburgh finished just five games out of first.
The furthest Pittsburgh was ever out of first place, though, came in 2010. Try 34 games out of the top spot. 12 times in those 20 years, the Pirates were 20 games or more out of first. They finally ended the streak with a winning season in 2013, which saw them qualify as a wild card team in the playoffsa��only for them to lose in the divisional round. For the next two seasons, the Bucs once again made it into the postseason. This time, only to lose the wild card game.
Now it’s back to losinga��with consecutive losing seasons for Pittsburgh.
But put the Pittsburgh Pirates 20-year hiatus side-by-side with the Cleveland Browns record from 1999 to the present, and based on win-loss percentage, the Browns are much worse.
Since they re-joined the league 18 years ago, the Browns have averaged 4.65 wins per season. Their highest finish was in 2007a��winning 10 games and landing second in the AFC North. Prior to the NFL realignment that created the North division in 2002, Cleveland was in the AFC Centrala��where in 2001, they finished third with a 7-9 record.
Only in 2010 did the Browns finish that high again. As for every other season, they have been dead last in the AFC North.
While the Browns have yet to find a franchise quarterback since returning, the team’s record since is an awful 93-217. In those 18 years, Cleveland lost fewer than 10 games only three times. Of those 15 seasons when the Browns dropped 10 or more, there have been five 11-loss seasons, five 12-loss seasons, two 3-13 campaigns, a 2-14 season in 1999a��their first year backa��and last year’s terrible one-win campaign.
In fact, by beating the San Diego Chargers in Week 15 last season, Cleveland avoided the embarrassment of a winless campaign. Dating back to 2015, the Browns had lost 17 straight regular season games. By losing their first six games of this season, Cleveland has now dropped seven straight dating back to last season’s finalea��an overtime loss to the Steelers.
How long can this current streak last?
Cleveland plays host to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. After that, nine games remaina��against Jacksonville, Cincinnati, L.A. (Chargers), Green Bay, Baltimore, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Only the Titans, Jaguars, Packers and Ravens play in Cleveland. What they avoided last season may be unavoidable in 2017.
This discussion leaves us with the Los Angeles Clippersa��once called the a�?worst franchise in sports historya�? by some.
The Clippers run of losing seasons encompassed most of the years from the 1983-84 season through 2010-11. Along the way, there were 25 sub-.500 seasons in 28 years. Only in 2005-2006 and 1991-92 did the Clips have a winning record. Those finishes were 47-35 and 45-37, respectively, with the team suffering playoff losses in both seasons.
1992 brought a first-round loss. But in 2006, the Clippers made it as far as the Western Conference semifinals.
Los Angeles would make it twice more from 1984 to 2011. First in 1993 with a 41-41 mark, though what followed was a loss in the first round. Then again in 1997, despite having a 36-46 record and finishing fifth .
The Clippers have finished as high as third in their divisiona��all while completing the season with a losing record. But overall, they won 792 games and lost 1,472. Their .350 winning percentage rests between the Browns and Pirates. During that span, they averaged just 28 wins per season.
Now the Clippers have been finding their winning ways. Meanwhile, the Pirates outlook is not good.
And as for the Cleveland Browns, their fans are suffering through yet another losing season. They are still struggling to find the a�?righta�? quarterback. While other teams that have been through some difficult stretches of losinga��like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who now seem to be in a good stage of rebuildinga��Cleveland’s horizon remains very dark and cloudy.
For more from Harv Aronson, you can check out his website here!