Every professional athlete has a goal of winning a title. At the end of the season, only one team gets to hoist the trophy. Most NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB teams have won a title, but not all of them. Some have gotten close, agonizingly close, but haven’t quite done it just yet. Here are the teams that have not won the current championship of their respective league. That means we are only including teams that have won a Super Bowl, not teams that won NFL or AFL titles before that or any ABA titles or anything of that ilk.
When the Rockies came into existence in 1993, they changed baseball. Mostly because Coors Field was so hitter friendly that it made us all recalibrate offensive numbers, especially coming out of Denver. It also hasn’t helped pitchers, which may be in part why they have only made the playoffs five times, though they did make it to the World Series in 2007.
After one season in Seattle, the Pilots moved to Milwaukee in 1970 and became the Brewers. They’ve played in the American League and the National League, but so far only have one World Series appearance, when Harvey’s Wallbangers made it in 1982.
The Padres and the Seattle Pilots both debuted in 1969, but the Padres are still down in San Diego. The team is brimming with young talent right now, which could mean a third NL pennant, after making it to the World Series in 1984 and 1998, getting swept in the latter series by the Yankees.
Seattle got a second team after the Pilots flopped, with the Mariners arriving in 1977. Some true legends have worn the Mariners’ uniform, including Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez. Seattle set the record for the most wins in a regular season in 2001 with 116, but they have yet to even make a World Series.
Tampa debuted as the Devil Rays in 1998 and, honestly, the first decade or so of the franchise’s existence was bleak. Then, they dropped the “Devil,” hired Joe Maddon, and suddenly turned things around. Tampa won the AL East in both 2008 and 2010, making it to the World Series in 2008 as a true Cinderella story.
The franchise started as the Washington Senators in 1961 before moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers in 1972. There was no success for the team until that move to the Lone Star State, as they’ve won seven division titles. The Rangers went to the World Series in back-to-back years (2010 and 2011) but they seem to have slipped out of their window.
The Nets, then of New Jersey, join the NBA from the ABA in 1977. They won two titles in the ABA, but like we said that doesn’t count here. During a down time in the Eastern Conference, the Nets made it to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, but they were easily dispatched both times. Now in Brooklyn, they are hoping Kevin Durant can lead them to glory.
The history here is a little tricky. The Charlotte Hornets existed from 1988 until 2002, when they left the city for New Orleans. Then, the city got an expansion franchise in the Bobcats in 2004. The Bobcats changed their name back to the Hornets in 2014, and now all of Hornets history is considered theirs. Regardless, they don’t have a division title, let alone an NBA title.
The Nuggets are also immigrants from the ABA, joining up with the NBA in 1976. They’ve had some very fun teams over the years, having played in the highest-scoring game in NBA history. What they’ve never done, even with Carmelo Anthony, is make it to the NBA Finals.
Indiana was one of the best franchises in the ABA, winning three league titles. After making the move to the NBA after that league folded, they would have some down years but find success in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. In fact, the Pacers made it to the NBA Finals in 2000, but was not able to win a title like in the ABA glory days.
The Clippers have one of the bleaker histories of any NBA franchise. They had basically no success in Buffalo as the Braves, where the franchise started in 1970. The San Diego Clippers? Nothing. The Los Angeles Clippers? Years of failure. Then, finally, the franchise started to show potential. Now with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George they are considered one of the best teams in the NBA and title contenders. They may be off this list soon.
The Toronto Raptors just won their first NBA title. The Vancouver Grizzlies lasted from 1995 through 2001 before moving to Memphis. While the Grit ‘n Grind Grizz had their fans, the franchise still has yet to win a division title, let alone make it to the NBA Finals.
Joining the league in 1989, the Timberwolves had some strong seasons. However, Kevin Garnett was not able to carry the team to an NBA Finals, and when he left he won a ring with the Celtics, who are far from this list. Since KG decamped, the T-Wolves have been a floundering franchise just trying to become a playoff team again.
The Pelicans started out as the New Orleans Hornets in 2002, having taking on the Pelicans name in 2013 when Charlotte got the Hornets name, and the Charlotte history, back. There hasn’t been much history yet for this franchise as a result, but they have still had a couple huge names. Of course, Anthony Davis has already forced himself out of town. Can Zion Williamson be the star to carry this team to glory?
The Magic were established in 1989 and found success relatively quickly. Grabbing Penny Hardaway and, oh yeah, Shaquille O’Neal helped with that. The Magic made it to the Finals in 1995, but didn’t win. After Shaq left, the franchise rebuilt around Dwight Howard many years later and returned to the Finals again in 2009. Neither time did they manage to win.
The Suns, in the NBA since 1967, made it to the NBA Finals in 1993. You surely remember that, as Charles Barkley and crew were facing Michael Jordan’s Bulls. However, do you remember they made it to the Finals in 1976 as well? It’s true, and they lost to the Celtics. Either way, no ring for the Suns.
Speaking of Jordan and the Bulls, they ruined the glory days of the Jazz franchise. Given the name “Jazz” because they started in New Orleans in 1974, they were powered in the ‘90s by the dynamic duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Utah made it to the NBA Finals in both 1997 and 1998, and both time they lost to the Bulls.
Technically, the Cardinals’ franchise began way back in 1898. However, it was professionally established in 1920 at the Chicago Cardinals. Since then they have also called St. Louis and now Arizona home. In that century-plus of existence they do have two titles, the most recent of which was back in 1947. In the Super Bowl era, they have made once appearance in the title game, losing to the Steelers in 2008.
The Falcons don’t have quite that much history, as their first season was in 1966. They’ve had considerably more success in the Super Bowl era than the Cardinals, though. Atlanta as a city has hosted a few Super Bowls, and the Falcons themselves have played in two, their latter appearance fairly recent in 2016.
We don’t have to remind you of the Bills’ Super Bowl history, do we? Buffalo, who joined the AFL in 1960, would probably want to remind you it won two AFL titles. We just remember the four-straight Super Bowl losses. It’s absolutely amazing to make it to four championship games in a row. Unfortunately, they never won that ring.
For a franchise that played its first game in 1995 the Panthers have had a lot of success. They won their first division title in 1996, their second season, and have gone onto bigger and better things since the turn of the millennium. With two Super Bowl appearances in franchise history (2003 and 2015) they’ve had a lot more success than other relatively recent additions to the NFL.
For years, the Bengals were one of the worst teams in the NFL, which means if you don’t remember football prior to 1990. Cincinnati debuted in 1968 and actually made it to two Super Bowls in the ‘80s. Then they didn’t make the playoffs between 1990 and 2005.
Much like the Charlotte Hornets, the Browns are technically an expansion team but with the history of the franchise bequeathed to them after the original Browns (established in 1946) left for Baltimore to become the Ravens. Those old Browns had a ton of success in the pre-Super Bowl era. They have four NFL championships and four AAFC championship before that. However, they are also one of only a handful of teams to never play in a Super Bowl.
Speaking of franchises who wish we included titles before the Super Bowl. The Detroit Lions were established (as the Portsmouth Spartans) in 1930 and won four titles prior to the first NFL-AFL Championship Game, which would become known as the Super Bowl. That would be a game the Lions have never played in, even with Barry Sanders.
We can cut the Texans some slack. They’ve only been in the NFL since 2002, making them the NFL’s youngest franchise. Being an expansion team is tough, so we could basically write the first few seasons off. Now, though, Texans fans might be a little frustrated they haven’t made the Super Bowl yet.
The Jaguars might be a little jealous of the Panthers. The two Big Cat teams both debuted in 1995, and they both made conference title games in 1996. Since then, the Panthers have made it to two Super Bowls and had a 15-1 season with an MVP quarterback. The Jaguars have not been to the Super Bowl and may be the NFL’s worst team currently.
The Chargers debuted in Los Angeles in 1960 before making the move to San Diego in 1961. They won an AFL title in 1963, but in the NFL their greatest success is making it to the Super Bowl in 1994, getting crushed by the 49ers in the process. Now they are back in LA and hoping to make a second trip to the Super Bowl someday, this time to win.
Sorry, Vikings fans. Your team (established 1961) won the NFL title in 1969. The very next season the NFL and AFL merged, bringing us the Super Bowl. Not that the Vikings haven’t had their opportunities to win the big one. Minnesota made it to three Super Bowls in the ‘70s, but could not claim a single win.
One yard. That’s all that kept the Titans from not being on this list. Beginning life as the Houston Oilers in 1961 (and winning two AFL titles in the ‘60s) the franchise became the Titans in 1999 and made the Super Bowl the same season. Unfortunately, they lost to the St. Louis Rams. Those Rams were a great story, but Titans fans aren’t going to care about that.
The Coyotes were born when in 1996 when the Winnipeg Jets moved down south. However, the Jets returned to Winnipeg and reclaimed their history, leaving Arizona with only the history since 1996. That’s a history without a ton of success, including no trips to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Sabres are one of the two oldest NHL franchise on this list, having played their first season in 1970. Buffalo has made it to the finals three times, including in 1999. You may remember Brett Hull’s skate being in the crease when he scored the series-clinching goal. Since then, the Sabres have not been able to regain that level of success.
The Jackets were one of two expansion teams to join the NHL in the 2000-01 season, and it took them a lot of time to find success. Columbus didn’t make the playoffs until the 2008-09 season, did not win a playoff game until the 2013-14 season, and did not win a series until the 2018-19 season. Needless to say, they have not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Florida was part of the first big wave of expanding to uncommon hockey markets in 1993, and the Panthers came out of nowhere to make it to the finals in 1996. However, they could not best the Colorado Avalanche – they actually got swept – and they haven’t sniffed that level of success since. Since 1996, the Panthers have only made the playoffs five times, and that includes the expanded 24-team playoffs of 2020.
The Wild joined the NHL in 2000 alongside the Blue Jackets, but Minnesota has had better times than Columbus by and large. No, the Wild have not been to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the 2002-2003 season they didn’t just make the playoffs for the first time, but they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Nashville got into the NHL at the forefront of a wave of expansion, beginning their first season in 1998. It took a little while, but in recent years the Predators have been one of the better franchise. They won the President’s Trophy in the 2017-18 season, but the previous season was arguably even better. That year, they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, though they lost to the Penguins.
The Senators existed as a franchise in the NHL from 1917 until 1934, but this version has nothing to do with them. Which is a shame, because those Senators won the Stanley Cup 11 times (not all of them when they were an NHL team, of course). No, these Senators began life as an expansion team in 1992 and had some big years around the turn of the millennium, including winning a President’s Trophy. However, 2007 was the year when they finally made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Anaheim Ducks who debuted around the same time.
Debuting in 1991, the Sharks had their first bit of NHL glory when they upset the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 1994 playoffs. However, their true heyday came when the dynamic duo of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau made them one of the top teams in the 2000s. They won four-straight division titles in that time, including one President’s Trophy. Their only issue was falling short of the finals. They finally played for the Cup in 2017, but came up short once again, ending a window that definitely seems closed now.
Joining the NHL in 1970 alongside the Sabres, the Canucks have come oh-so-close to winning it all twice. In both 1994 and 2011 they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in seven games. They also made it to the finals in 1982, but that one is less remembered.
Hey, the Golden Knights have only been around for three seasons, so nobody is sweating them not having a title yet. In fact, the success they’ve had so far is already incredible. Vegas made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season and have proven to be no fluke since.
This version of the Jets began as the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999, but the team moved to Winnipeg in 2011. When the Jets returned, they got their old Jets history back. Not that either version of the Jets has ever been to the Stanley Cups Finals. The city is relatively small to have a major sports franchise, but they are a devoted fan base. In a way the Jets are like the Packers of the NHL, but without the title success.