Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 9/8/14

The criteria for this list involves franchises who have not changed cities or nicknames and have never made it to a championship final in their respective sport. A minimum of 35 years is used to gauge a “futile” existence.

You just know the Browns will be on this list somewhere.

Teams reviewed were picked from the NFL, NBA and MLB. The NBA Finals, World Series and Super Bowl are the significant events being evaluated. (NFL Championships prior to Super Bowl I are not considered for the purposes of this list.)

These teams have never felt the face-to-face time with the American public that an organization gets by reaching the last game of the season.

National Football League

In the NFL, the Browns and Lions top the list.

Without a doubt, the greatest possible futile Super Bowl match-up would be between the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Two of the greatest franchises in pro football history, and winners of past NFL Championships, have never made it to a Super Bowl in 46 seasons.

The Browns have made it to a Conference championship three times, losing each one to the Denver Broncos. The Lions made one Conference championship game during the Barry Sanders era.

National Basketball Association

In the NBA, the all-time futile match-up would be between the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets.

The Hawks have been in Atlanta and part of the NBA since 1968. The Denver Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976. Neither has made it to an NBA Finals.

The Nuggets made the Conference Finals a few seasons back with Carmelo Anthony leading the charge. The Hawks have made several playoff pushes.

Major League Baseball

In MLB, the Seattle Mariners get the prize. They entered the league as a new franchise in 1977.

Seattle did make it to three American League championship series in the 90s when they had the lethal combination of Randy Johnson, Junior Griffey, and Alex Rodriguez.

The opponent for Seattle in the ultimate futile World Series would have to include the Chicago Cubs, an organization that last made a World Series appearance in 1945.

The Cubs are an honorable mention to the list.

Though the Cubs don’t officially make the list because they have made World Series’ appearances and have won a couple of them more than 100 years ago, they get recognition for their current futile longevity and cult status.


Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com


Big Ten could see a bowl eligible team miss postseason

Cam Newton on struggles: ‘You realize rainy days don’t last’

Five questions to ask ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings

Redskins tickets selling for as little as $1

Andrew Miller agrees to four-year, $36M deal with Yankees

Brandon Marshall out for the season with collapsed lung


Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Rays hire Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash as new manager

Jayson Werth sentenced to jail time for excessive speeding

Josh Gordon admits to 'playing catch-up' with Brian Hoyer

Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman saves day at strip club?

Report: Yankees land Jeter's replacement in Didi Gregorius

Pac-12 Championship game was poorly attended

Bears fans stabbed by Cowboys fans outside Soldier Field

Terminator Genisys convinced Nike to reproduce sneakers for film

PAC-12 Championship preview: Oregon vs. Arizona

College football playoff: recipes for chaos

Activism, sports and feeling angry as a fan

Adrian Peterson 'likely' to be reinstated next week

WATCH: Rodgers' impromptu visit surprises school, dean

What if the USFL didn't fold?

Teammate gives Peyton Manning grief over commercial

Game of the week: Seahawks vs. Eagles

Steve Kerr inherited a lot, but already has improved Warriors

Entertainment News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Werth headed to jail for speeding?

In remembrance of sports columnist Bryan Burwell

What if the USFL didn't fold?

How do you know if your team is the “Mystery Team”?

Bulldogs OL saves day at strip club?

Game of the week: Seahawks vs. Eagles

Yankees trade for Didi Gregorius

Ortiz: BoSox must step up for Lester

Dez Bryant sounds off on sideline antics

Eric Decker defends wife from critics

Activism, sports and feeling angry as a fan

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.