FanPost

The Worst Losing Streaks of All Time In Professional Sports


Who has the worst losing streak in all of professional sports?  It's not who you might think.  Find out, after the jump.

Friday evening the Cleveland Cavaliers finally won a game, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 126-119 [1], leaving them tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for what is often thought to be the longest losing streak in professional sports.  Given the importance of such a losing streak, it is surprising that more attention was not paid to the struggles of the Lebron-less Cavaliers.  Having already examined personal sports losing streaks [2] and the continuing losing streak of the Centenary Gentleman [3], it is now time to turn our task to the worst losing streaks of professional sports, now that we have a tie between two teams for the record for futility.  Or do we?

National Basketball Association:  Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2011):  26 straight losses

Before ensuring that they would share the all-time losing streak with its previous holders, the Cleveland Cavaliers suffered 26 straight losses, starting on December 20th [4]:

Mon, Dec 20 Utah Jazz vs Utah (19-9) L 90 – 101 D. Gibson (29) J. Hickson (9) M. Williams (10)
Wed, Dec 22 Atlanta Hawks @ Atlanta (18-12) L 84 – 98 A. Jamison (23) A. Varejao (13) M. Williams (11)
Sun, Dec 26 Minnesota Timberwolves vs Minnesota (6-24) L 97 – 98 A. Jamison (24) A. Varejao (12) M. Williams (11)
Tue, Dec 28 Orlando Magic vs Orlando (19-12) L 95 – 110 A. Jamison (21) A. Varejao (9) M. Williams (8)
Wed, Dec 29 Charlotte Bobcats @ Charlotte (10-19) L 92 – 101 R. Sessions (22) A. Varejao (10) A. Parker (6)

Continuing through the entire month of January [5]:

Sat, Jan 1 Chicago Bulls @ Chicago (21-10) L 91 – 100 J. Hickson (21) A. Jamison (9) A. Parker (8)
Sun, Jan 2 Dallas Mavericks vs Dallas (24-8) L 95 – 104 A. Jamison (35) A. Jamison (10) R. Sessions (12)
Wed, Jan 5 Toronto Raptors vs Toronto (11-23) L 105 – 120 A. Jamison (32) A. Varejao (8) M. Williams (9)
Fri, Jan 7 Golden State Warriors @ Golden State (14-21) L 98 – 116 A. Jamison (21) M. Harris (10) M. Williams (7)
Sun, Jan 9 Phoenix Suns @ Phoenix (14-20) L 100 – 108 M. Harris (27) J. Hickson (17) M. Williams (12)
Tue, Jan 11 Los Angeles Lakers @ LA Lakers (27-11) L 57 – 112 A. Gee (12) A. Jamison (8) R. Sessions (4)
Fri, Jan 14 Utah Jazz @ Utah (26-13) L 99 – 121 A. Jamison (26) J. Hickson (14) M. Williams (10)
Sat, Jan 15 Denver Nuggets @ Denver (22-16) L 99 – 127 R. Sessions (21) J. Hickson (9) R. Sessions (9)
Wed, Jan 19 Phoenix Suns vs Phoenix (18-21) L 98 – 106 A. Jamison (23) J. Hickson (15) R. Sessions (8)
Fri, Jan 21 Milwaukee Bucks vs Milwaukee (15-24) L 88 – 102 A. Jamison (22) S. Samuels (6) D. Gibson (8)
Sat, Jan 22 Chicago Bulls @ Chicago (29-14) L 79 – 92 A. Jamison (31) J. Hickson (20) A. Jamison (5)
Mon, Jan 24 New Jersey Nets @ New Jersey (12-32) L 101 – 103 A. Jamison (26) A. Jamison (8) R. Sessions (6)
Tue, Jan 25 Boston Celtics @ Boston (33-10) L 95 – 112 C. Eyenga (15) J. Hickson (17) R. Sessions (7)
Fri, Jan 28 Denver Nuggets vs Denver (27-18) L 103 – 117 J. Hickson (24) J. Hickson (14) R. Sessions (13)
Sun, Jan 30 Orlando Magic @ Orlando (30-17) L 87 – 103 M. Harris (20) J. Hickson (11) A. Parker (6)
Mon, Jan 31 Miami Heat @ Miami (33-14) L 90 – 117 A. Jamison (21) A. Jamison (10) R. Sessions (7)

And then continuing through on into February [6]:

Wed, Feb 2 Indiana Pacers vs Indiana (18-27) L 112 – 117 R. Sessions (25) M. Harris (8) R. Sessions (9)
Fri, Feb 4 Memphis Grizzlies @ Memphis (26-24) L 105 – 112 J. Hickson (31) J. Hickson (15) R. Sessions (11)
Sat, Feb 5 Portland Trail Blazers vs Portland (26-24) L 105 – 111 A. Jamison (17) R. Sessions (6) D. Gibson (9)
Mon, Feb 7 Dallas Mavericks @ Dallas (35-15) L 96 – 99 J. Hickson (26) J. Hickson (12) R. Sessions (13)
Wed, Feb 9 Detroit Pistons vs Detroit (19-33) L 94 – 103 A. Jamison (22) J. Hickson (15) R. Sessions (12)
Fri, Feb 11 Los Angeles Clippers vs LA Clippers (20-32) W 126 – 119 A. Jamison (35) J. Hickson (14) M. Williams (14)

During this time they lost to some pretty putrid teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, the New Jersey Nets, and the Toronto Raptors.  They lost at home, they lost away, they lost everywhere.  They lost by large margins (by 55 points against the LA Lakers on January 11th), and they lost by small margins (by two points against New Jersey on January 24th).  Mostly they lost because of bad defense, allowing more than 100 points in almost all of their losses.  But still they lost, until overcoming a mediocre LA Clippers team as a result of some "home-field advantage" in calls and an opponent that probably let its guard down.  At least the streak is over and Cleveland fans can take comfort in knowing that while their team is horrible, it is not the holder of the record stream in futility.

National Football League:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-1977):  26 straight losses

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of two expansion teams that began play in 1976, starting out in the AFC West (!), where they promptly went 0-14 in their first season under the dour and stoic leadership of legendary USC coach John McKay [7]:

1 September 12 Houston Oilers L 20–0 2:00 The Astrodome NBC 42,228 0–1
2 September 19 San Diego Chargers L 23–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 39,558 0–2
3 September 26 Buffalo Bills L 14–9 1:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 44,505 0–3
4 October 3 Baltimore Colts L 42–17 1:00 Memorial Stadium NBC 40,053 0–4
5 October 10 Cincinnati Bengals L 21–0 1:00 Riverfront Stadium NBC 40,700 0–5
6 October 17 Seattle Seahawks L 13–10 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 43,458 0–6
7 October 24 Miami Dolphins L 23–20 4:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 61,437 0–7
8 October 31 Kansas City Chiefs L 28–19 1:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 41,779 0–8
9 November 7 Denver Broncos L 48–13 4:00 Mile High Stadium NBC 61,703 0–9
10 November 14 New York Jets L 34–0 1:00 Shea Stadium NBC 46,427 0–10
11 November 21 Cleveland Browns L 24–7 1:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 36,930 0–11
12 November 28 Oakland Raiders L 49–16 4:00 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum NBC 49,590 0–12
13 December 5 Pittsburgh Steelers L 42–0 1:00 Three Rivers Stadium NBC 43,385 0–13
14 December 12 New England Patriots L 31–14 1:00 Tampa Stadium NBC 41,517 0–14

They then were moved to the NFC Central Division, where they would long remain with cold-weather teams like the Packers, Lions, Vikings, and Bears, promptly started play in their second season and proceeded lost the first twelve games of that season too, before winning the last two games to end their second season a terrible 2-12 [8]:

1 September 18, 1977 at Philadelphia Eagles L 13–3 1:00 Veterans Stadium CBS 0–1
2 September 24, 1977 Minnesota Vikings L 9–3 8:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–2
3 October 2, 1977 at Dallas Cowboys L 23–7 1:00 Texas Stadium CBS 0–3
4 October 9, 1977 Washington Redskins L 10–0 4:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–4
5 October 16, 1977 at Seattle Seahawks L 30–23 4:00 Kingdome CBS 0–5
6 October 23, 1977 Green Bay Packers L 13–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–6
7 October 30, 1977 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–10 4:00 Candlestick Park CBS 0–7
8 November 6, 1977 at Los Angeles Rams L 31–0 4:00 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum CBS 0–8
9 November 13, 1977 New York Giants L 10–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–9
10 November 20, 1977 at Detroit Lions L 16–7 2:00 Pontiac Silverdome CBS 0–10
11 November 27, 1977 Atlanta Falcons L 17–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–11
12 December 4, 1977 Chicago Bears L 10–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–12
13 December 11, 1977 at New Orleans Saints W 33–14 2:00 Louisiana Superdome CBS 1–12
14 December 18, 1977 St. Louis Cardinals W 17–7 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 2–12

Like the Cleveland Cavaliers they lost games because of poor defense and poor offense, and additionally poor special teams (which provided the losing margin against the Miami Dolphins in 1976, as a missed extra point and field goal proved decisive).  This would not be the last period of poor play from this team, which would spend most of the 1980′s and the early 1990′s losing double-digit games per season, but they never matched their own record of consecutive losses, at least.

However, as bad as these two losing streaks are, they are not even close to the longest records for professional sports losses.  For that record, we have to look in less obvious places:

Victoria Football League/Australian Football League:  Melbourne University Football Club (1911-1914):  51 straight losses

To find the second worst professional losing streak in all of professional sports, one has to go all the way back to the early 1900′s in the Victoria Football League, the forerunner of the Australian Football League.  Before disbanding their team due to the outbreak of World War I, the Melbourne University Football Club lost the last 51 games of its existence, finishing in last place from 1911 to 1914 every season.  To add injury to insult, the casualties of so many of its players in World War I (it suffered the highest casualty rates of any Aussie football club, having soldiers as unfortunate or unskilled on the battlefield as on the football field) made it impossible for the club to reform after the war, and its surviving players joined the Melbourne squad.  However, Melbourne University has managed to field one of the most notable and successful amateur football squads on the university level [9].

United States Hockey League:  Omaha Lancers (1986-1987):  53 straight losses

The worst professional losing streak of all time, though, belongs to the Omaha Lancers of the minor-league USHL.  Like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Omaha Lancers owe their record of futility to a brutal record as an expansion team that leaves them as having the most consecutive losses of all time for a professional team.  The Omaha Lancers went 0-46-2 (46 losses in regulation, 2 losses in overtime) in their debut season and then lost their first five games of the 1987-1988 season.  Ironically enough, they are now one of the most successful teams in the USHL, having won five regular-season crowns and seven playoff titles in the United States Hockey League, with a notable 20 consecutive appearances in the Clark Cup Playoffs [10].  This club sounds like it has the makings of a Disney movie in its future, turning a record for futility into a culture of consistent winning.

[1] http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2011021105

[2] http://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/everyone-smiles-when-youre-winning-a-musing-on-sports-psychology/

[3] http://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/gentlemen-finish-last-if-theyre-from-centenary/

[4] http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/cle/schedule?view=list&season=2010&m=12

[5] http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/cle/schedule?view=list&season=2011&m=01

[6] http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/cle/schedule?view=list&season=2011&m=02

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_Tampa_Bay_Buccaneers_season

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1977_Tampa_Bay_Buccaneers_season

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_University_Football_Club

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omaha_Lancers

Content provided by a member of Bucs Nation and does not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of Bucs Nation.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker