25 Hardest Teams to Root For

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Every sports franchise has its ups and downs, dynasties fade as star players leave or retire, and losing teams are afforded the chance to draft top-tier talent. But whether through bad luck, bad management, or some combination of both, there are some clubs that just can’t seem to catch a break.

24/7 Wall St. referred to the Sports Reference family of sites to review the modern-era histories of teams in the four major American sports leagues — NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL — to determine which teams were hardest to cheer for. Included in our analysis are the team’s winning record over time, their playoff appearances, championships, and years since making the playoffs. The ongoing incomplete NHL and NBA seasons were not considered.

Many factors can make a fanbase miserable. The most obvious, of course, is prolonged stretches of losing seasons. Any team in the playoffs has a shot at winning a championship, and even one postseason round can get fans excited. But teams like the Sacramento Kings and San Diego Padres haven’t made the playoffs in over a decade, while the Seattle Mariners are approaching two decades without a playoff appearance.

The pain of watching a team struggle is tough, but it doesn’t compare with the disappointment of losing a team all together. Franchise owners will sometimes move their team to a new city in the hopes of getting a better stadium, more tax revenue, or simply because they don’t like their current city — leaving fans who grew up rooting for that team with no one to cheer for. The Rams and Chargers of the NFL recently moved to Los Angeles — one of the best cities for sports fans — leaving the cities of St. Louis and San Diego with no hometown team to support.

These are the 25 hardest teams to root for.