January 19, 2007

When franchises go bad.: The Raiders, Knicks, Blues, and Orioles are the SportingNews' choices for the worst franchises in pro sports.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia to general at 01:41 PM - 30 comments

The link is to the article about the Raiders, with the links to the other three being right before the start of the article. I've always thought that the Lions were the worst franchise in the NFL, possibly even all of pro sports but after read that article I may have to reconsider. The Raiders out do the Lions, but the Lions are by far the second worst franchise in the NFL. One thing I found the article shows is that many times, a franchise that goes bad can attribute that to the owner. Al Davis is obviously in no posistion to run a NFL franchise at the moment, and Angelos has no idea what he's doing in Baltimore.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:44 PM on January 19, 2007

Chicago Blackhawks? I can't see why, just based on this year and last, you could really suggest the Blues are a terrible franchise. They made the playoffs for 26 straight years up until 2006. The Blackhawks have been held under thumb by a miser who won't even broadcast the games on local TV. Perhaps, I'm coming too much from the perspective of a fan - because I'm quite sure the Raiders are making money. Which would make them a successful franchise, no?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:02 PM on January 19, 2007

I read the article about the Raiders, but haven't gotten to the others yet. I'll try to address those when I have a little more time. The Raiders' saga sounds an awful lot like the Patriots' trials and tribulations until James Orthwein was smart enough to hire Bill Parcells as head coach. Then, after Robert Kraft nearly screwed it up by being too involved in personnel decisions, losing Parcells and hiring Pete Carroll, Kraft proved himself capable of learning a lesson, and after hiring Bill Belichick, got out of the day-to-day team operation. What I'm trying to say in the above is that no matter how messed up the Raiders are, they can be fixed. The problem is that Al Davis has to go, as was so ably pointed out in the article. Somehow, the Raiders without Al Davis just aren't the same, but I guess it's like putting your infirm grandmother into a home. It's lonely not having her around, but at least now you can go on with the rest of your life without her constant needs getting in the way.

posted by Howard_T at 02:26 PM on January 19, 2007

I grew up a Orioles fan cheering for Brooks, Frank, McNally, and Palmer. Watching this team disintegrate over the last 10 years has been painful. Angelos continues to make the same mistake repeatedly - signing aging stars in the twilight of their careers to lengthy, multimillion dollar contracts - then acting suprised when their production goes down. Pitching is an afterthought and any young prospect showing any hint of talent bolts for better managed teams at first opportunity. Angelos complains it takes $100 million to compete in AL East and he is keeping ticket prices down. But will fans continue to pay even these ticket prices to watch the team lose 90-95 games a year. This year's attendance suggests they are reaching the end of their patience with his strategy.

posted by BikeNut at 02:27 PM on January 19, 2007

I've always thought that the Lions were the worst franchise in the NFL, possibly even all of pro sports but after read that article I may have to reconsider. The Raiders out do the Lions, but the Lions are by far the second worst franchise in the NFL. I disagree...the article did nothing to sway me from the belief that the Lions were the worst franchise in the NFL. In fact, if anyone is battling Detroit it's Arizona, not Oakland. Heck, Oakland was in a SB just 4 years ago. Maybe they're the worst over the past FEW years, but as far as franchise futility, they're just youngsters. It is amazing though, in the NFL of all sports, that a team can be consistently bad. The NFL is GEARED to make the bad teams better. Salary caps keep all teams competitive. 2 to 3 years of being bad mean 2 to 3 years of getting FRANCHISE draft choices. Bad seasons mean you play poor teams the following year. It's actually an ART to be consistently bad in the NFL nowdays. I mean you have to do "beautiful" things like draft WR's with 3 top 10 picks in a row or "masterful" things like KEEPING the man who drafted WR's with 3 top 10 picks in a row.

posted by bdaddy at 03:19 PM on January 19, 2007

As a kid I remeber all four of these franchises being among the tops in their respective sports, and even though I'm not really a Raiders fan, and definitely not an Orioles fan, it's saddening to see these franchises wallowing in not just mediocrity, but in the depths of futility. All of these franchises have storied histories, and I don't think the Blues belong in this category seeing that last year was the first time in 26 years to miss the playoffs- in fact they seem to be much improved this year. But as a Knicks fan it kills me to see them put such a lousy product on the court and one of the highest payrolls in the league. Strangely enough the common denominator for each of these teams the ineptitude of the front office, mainly the owners. Unfortunately, we're not likely to see these guys replace themselves to improve the situation, so it looks like we're stuck with losing until they die. It would appear the Raiders will be the first of these franchises to recover.

posted by nyrangersfan43 at 03:27 PM on January 19, 2007

Angelos complains it takes $100 million to compete in AL East and he is keeping ticket prices down. I hope Oriole fans realize that Angelos is feeding them a big steaming pile of misdirection by claiming salary issues and ticket prices are linked. They aren't, and it's the most common lie told by sports owners to their fans.

posted by grum@work at 03:32 PM on January 19, 2007

The problem is that Al Davis has to go Which pretty much means he has to die, sadly enough. I doubt he'll go anywhere on his own.

posted by justgary at 03:39 PM on January 19, 2007

I haven't read the article, so take this with a grain of salt... but the Raiders? Over the Cardinals or the Lions? That sounds like crazy talk.

posted by tieguy at 03:42 PM on January 19, 2007

The Blues???? One terrible year doesn't make them a bad franchise. Checketts, Davidson and new coach Andy Murray have done an admirable job of rebuilding the franchise after former owner Laurie's dismantling job last year. Also, how could the Arizona Cardinals fail to make this list? Here is a franchise that has never been good- not in Chicago, not in St. Louis, not in Arizona. Bill Bidwill HAS to be the worst owner in all of pro sports.

posted by Bury Bonds at 03:58 PM on January 19, 2007

Yeah, I can't see how the Raiders made this list and the Lions did not. The Lions have won a total of 1 playoff game during my lifetime (39 years). They are 55-105 for the last ten seasons. Their total club record is 479-540. The last time they had something resembling resounding success was in 1957, when they won the NFL championship. Very few pro sports teams can even come close to this record of futility.

posted by deadcowdan at 05:02 PM on January 19, 2007

Why the birds and not the Royals? I am a royals fan, and will freely admit that we have been by far and away the most pitiful team in baseball. We overwork any good young arms we have, causing them to suck*, sign over the hill sluggers (Juan-Gone?), have a third of our (miniscule) payroll devoted to one man (Mike Sweeney), who while good hitter can't field and spends at least a 1/3 of the season injured, which adds to our lack of ability to hold onto any great player we do have (WS MVPs Dye & Damon), and replaces the one guy who brought any kind of spark (Tony Pena) with a manager (Buddy Bell) who has one of the most dismal managing records in baseball. The result of this run-on sentence? Three seasons of 100+ losses, and no playoff appearance since God-knows when. However, we have a savvy new GM & the most exciting group of farm players in the MLB. Hopefully things will turn around. However, at this point there is no way you could put the birds under my team. *I learned this from a post here, i think it was grum who posted the effect of adding 40+ innings of work to a pitcher who performed well the previous year. The results were sad, and no one was guiltier of this crap than the royals. Gotta give credit where it is due: Thanks Grum

posted by brainofdtrain at 05:28 PM on January 19, 2007

Brain, as a fellow Royals fan, I both appreciate the comment, and pity you at the same time (in the way I also pity myself.) I have tried to stay on the Mike Sweeny bandwagon for a very long time, and every year he plays fewer and fewer games, while earning a third of the Royals salary budget. I agree that it is hard not to place the Royals on the list, but they are a small market team, so maybe it is easier to give them some leeway?

posted by hawkguy at 05:59 PM on January 19, 2007

The case made for the Knicks is actually pretty strong - I went into it preparing to disagree, but it's to difficult to make a strong case that there are sadder NBA franchises. Nonetheless, I will try. Memphis/Vancouver. Making the NBA playoffs isn't the victory it is in MLB or the NFL, and that Memphis hasn't won a single playoff game in their three trips and has now blown the show up (with possibly Gasol gone soon?) tells me bleakness is afoot. This is all on top of the fact that the team failed to garner an audience in Vancouver and has failed to garner an audience in Memphis. Minnesota. One good (great?) season out of 16. Painful. And unless someone sends them two young All-Stars and a glut of picks for KG, they'll be bad a long time. Philadelphia is pretty self-explanatory. The Knicks still might win this contest, though. Tough team to root for the past six years.

posted by nicotine winning patch at 06:06 PM on January 19, 2007

The Blues???? One terrible year doesn't make them a bad franchise. Checketts, Davidson and new coach Andy Murray have done an admirable job of rebuilding the franchise after former owner Laurie's dismantling job last year. I Agree 100% BB. Over the last 12-14 games, the Blues are the hottest team in the NHL. In 2001/2002 The Sporting News rated St. Louis the #1 sports city, based on the success of the Cardinals, Rams, and BLUES. Seems like a "worst franchise" tag is a little harsh. Maybe a franchise that is "rebuilding" would be a better description. Time for some new journalists?!

posted by jphclub at 06:49 PM on January 19, 2007

It seems like from this list, the Knicks have the least excuse to be bad. They should own New York City, with its fertile basketball history, of which they are a large part. Instead, they have become an absurd joke in league which grows even more comical in its business dealings every year. As for the other articles, there is no doubt that the Raiders are a mess. But I agree that the Lions are probably a bigger one. The Orioles article was a waste. But why aren't the Pirates mentioned, as well as the aforementioned Royals? Curious.

posted by Bonkers at 08:00 PM on January 19, 2007

Yeah, I can't see how the Raiders made this list and the Lions did not. It seems silly to argue about which team is worse, but as a Raiders fan, I think the article got it right. The Lions have suffered under Millen, but they are only a smart QB and one or two offensive lineman away from being Wild Card contenders. The Raiders aren't going back to the playoffs until Al Davis gives up control of the team -- and who knows when that will happen (or who would it be)? I think what sells it for me is how far and how hard the Raiders have fallen in the last few years. The Lions have never been great. The Raiders were. And as far as I can tell, Matt Millen is the "joke" in Detroit. In Oakland, everyone is a joker. The Lions can be compared to journeymen boxers waiting for their big shot. The Raiders of old were the Iron Mike Tysons of the league. Now they are just the guys who want to eat hearts, children and ears.

posted by forrestv at 10:38 PM on January 19, 2007

The Lions have never been great. The Raiders were. Yeah, well, except for those 4 (FOUR) NFL Championships '35, '52, '53, and 1957, so, by most peoples' estimation, they HAVE been great, just not for a while.

posted by tommybiden at 10:51 PM on January 19, 2007

Tommy, I'm just going by what the others have posted. Please don't take my slight personally (I've been alive to see the Raiders rise and fall, the "great" Lions were decades before my time.)

posted by forrestv at 10:55 PM on January 19, 2007

Orioles? No. I talked to one guy, he literally had tears in his eyes, Moore said. He said, I was so excited to see the Kansas City Royals on ESPN about a signing wed made. This is a major league franchise, for crying out loud. I totally have to go with brainofdtrain here. The Orioles are bad, don't get me wrong, and Angelos is a scumbag, but a good amount of the evidence against the Orioles in this article is bad luck. At least they have an MVP-caliber star in Miguel Tejada. Kansas City's only star (and the captain of their team, to boot) is a designated hitter who hasn't cracked 130 games played in a season since 2001. I think of Mike Sweeney once a year, when I try to figure out who the Royals could possibly be sending to the All-Star Game. Baltimore hardly even fits into that second category with clubs like Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay. Fans are weeping for joy over the signing of Gil Meche? How do you top that?

posted by BullpenPro at 04:17 AM on January 20, 2007

The Sixers definitely deserve mention on this list. They're paying more to players no longer with the team than they are to the players on the floor. Keep an eye on those Pirates. No doubt the consecutive-losing-seasons streak is pathetic, but they've done a good job the last few years of not only getting out from under some crappy contracts, but getting some good players in return, and could have a decent season this year. They've done a great job acquiring a stable of potentially good, young arms.

posted by SummersEve at 06:01 AM on January 20, 2007

they've done a good job the last few years of not only getting out from under some crappy contracts I hear Derek Bell's contract only has two years left. With a player option for 2009.

posted by BullpenPro at 06:38 AM on January 20, 2007

And it will be at least 11 seasons since the Dallas Cowboys have won a playoff game, asuming they possibly could in 2007-08 season. Jerry Jones may want to consider reading the article as it relates to Al Davis??

posted by jaygolf at 11:45 AM on January 20, 2007

As a Lion fan, I would like to stand up for my team, well sort of... Right now its arguable they are the worst frachise, which is odd considering the Pistons and Red Wings are quite respected as one of the bests in there respective leagues, and the Tigers are resurging. I think to be the worst you should regard the entire history, as well as the present situation. Considering all that, I would have to put the Arizona Cardinals as number one, they have had only one winning season in like ten years! Overall they havent won a playoff game in like 40!!! Thats dismal. Now if you just went present situation and didnt compare a teams history, I would give slight edge to Oakland, over Detroit, but only a slight edge, and here is why...Al Davis...that senial old man needs to stop interfering, he is ruining that team and its reputation. His personal moves are ancient-esque. On the other side you could say that Ford needs to interfere and fire Millen, but he wont, he gave him another year because he only knows about making cars. Speaking of cars...(If the Saints werent 1 win form the Super Bowl we would be mentioning that used car salesman Benson who was quite unpopular till the Saints started winning)...but I digress. If Detroit cant even muster a 7 or 8 win season next year than by all means, I'll vote them the worst, esp since I see the Cards having a play-off type season next year, but you never know, losing breeds...well more losing...

posted by dezznutz at 01:39 PM on January 20, 2007

The raiders go to a super bowl a few years back and now their crap I'm kind of a fan but Al Davis I mean he must be the dumbest owner in football Just win baby whoa just lose I can't believe it bring back Todd Marijuanovich

posted by luther70 at 03:10 PM on January 20, 2007

I finally finished the rest of the series, and I have to agree with the selection of the Knicks as the worst in basketball. Other teams have suffered a similar lack of success, but none have done it in so brainless a manner as New york. There are many arguments for selecting a team other than the Orioles as the worst in baseball, but I can go with the O's. I think that the available market for O's baseball, their inclusion in the AL East (Baltimore is an easy trip from any other AL East city except Tampa), and the quality of the amenities in and around Camden Yards points to a real lack of effort on the part of management to get fans to the park. I lived in Baltimore for about 3 years, and spending the day at the Inner Harbor was always a good time. Couple this with a game at Camden Yards (not built when I lived there), and you have a memorable occasion. Peter Angelos really needs to get a marketing staff, as well as some good baseball operations management. As far as the Blues go, yes they are in a sorry state. I would also nominate my beloved Bruins for at least a mention on the list. Although there have been a number of playoff appearances, few have resulted in anything other than a first round dismissal. The last time the Stanley Cup was carried by a Bruin was 1972. Bruins' management completely misread the new labor agreement, and wound up with a bunch of overpaid stiffs instead of keeping some of the talent they had. In mitigation I might note that there is an abundance of promising young talent on the team and on the AHL team, but there is a lack of good mid-level veterans to knit the whole thing together. The team seems to be operated on the premise that a certain minimum level of hockey will guarantee an average of some decent number of fans in the seats. Since Jacobs owns the building and the concessions, he maximizes his profits by selling something less than a top-quality product. The fans put up with it because Boston is one of the best hockey markets in the world. How many other areas can boast of an NHL team, 6 AHL teams, and 9 top-level Division 1 college teams within a 2-hour drive? St. Louis, wonderful city and great sports town that it is, does not have the same hockey tradition, and thus has some excuse for the poor performance of the Blues.

posted by Howard_T at 03:54 PM on January 20, 2007

As much as I hate to admit it, my beloved Pirates have become the worse basball franchise! The owners do not care about how well the team does and have made the Pirates a minor league team! We have supplied many teams with the players that helped them get to the playoffs and the World Series! Jeff Suppan comes to mind! Al Davis must be 150 yrs. old! I don't know the Arizona Cardinals & the new Cleveland Browns have been very bad too!

posted by steelerchooks at 08:27 PM on January 20, 2007

You do realize your beloved Pirates got Freddie Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez for Jeff Suppan. And you do realize Freddie Sanchez won the NL batting title last season with a .344 average right?

posted by SummersEve at 09:59 PM on January 20, 2007

As well as I like Freddy Sanchez, do you realize that the Pirates just finished thier 12th or 13th losing season? Do you realize that Jeff Suppan and the Cardinals just won the World Series? Right?

posted by steelerchooks at 10:34 PM on January 20, 2007

We have supplied many teams with the players that helped them get to the playoffs and the World Series! Jeff Suppan comes to mind! Jeff Suppan played 8 seasons with 3 teams (Boston, Arizona, KC) before 2003. Jeff Suppan signed as a free agent with the Pirates in January of 2003. Jeff Suppan was traded by the Pirates to Boston in July 2003. He then signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in December of 2003 as a free agent. There is no logical way to say the Pirates "supplied" the Cardinals with Suppan.

posted by grum@work at 11:54 PM on January 20, 2007

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