Which City is the Anti-Title Town?by Christopher C. Wuensch on Jun. 24, 2010, under Sports
There are ticking time bombs scattered in the cities harboring many professional sport franchises.
They sit like a singing elephant on a street corner. No one really wants to acknowledge it. And when they do, they often do so in self-deprecating tones.
These bombs — the pent-up frustration of a metropolis’ insufferable championship drought — have been known to flip over a car or two upon detonation.
And yet, they cannot be defused by simply snipping the red wire. Or is it the blue?
The fallout of the 2004 bomb the Red Sox set off in Boston rained fallout of widespread relief, divine thankfulness and a newfound tidal wave of chowdah-accented arrogance.
Bombs such as these lie just beneath the psyche of a city and fester until a guy — a bayou-born-and-bred boy, really — like New Orleans Saints’ cornerback Tracy Porter sneaks up from behind one of these weapons of mass deprivation and uses all 186-pounds of his 5-foot-11-inch frame to smack it with a ball-peen hammer.
And a city explodes.
“I never saw the (French) Quarter like that,” said Saints believer Marc Hoppe in February, who observed the fallout of Crescent City’s first professional sports title from a perch near Vieux Carré.
Porter’s interception runback for a touchdown late in Super Bowl XLIV sealed the first-ever world championship for the city and set off a party that’s still trickling out of the Big Easy.
“The whole place was insane, and anytime anything happened, everyone was going bonkers,” Hoppe recalled.
“That said, when Porter intercepted that pass, the Quarter erupted. During the run back and touchdown, the whole city just totally exploded.
“People were waiting to be able to let loose and celebrate, but I think we were all sort of reserved until that interception.”
Dynasties are great. They’re the goal of any self-respecting franchise.
But you never forget your first time.
The city of New Orleans waited 43 years for its first title in one of the four major sports leagues — MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL.
This month, the Chicago Blackhawks catered a 49-year famine with a Stanley Cup. Tears were shed. Fathers hugged sons. Lines were penciled across many a bucket list.
But the Blackhawks’ championship didn’t deliver Chicago to its knees.
After all, the White Sox won a World Series in 2005. Let’s not forget about that Bulls dynasty of the 90s.
And while a World Series title has eluded the Cubs — 100 years and counting — Chicago, as a city, has lifted its share of championship banners among the Windy City’s rafters.
That’d be 18 banners, to be precise.
There are plenty of cities with a depravity of titles that spans multitudes of generations.
San Diego and Buffalo have never won a Super Bowl, but did win AFL titles in 1963 (Chargers) and 1964 and 1965 (Bills).
The Indians’ World Series void began during World War II. Since then, neither the Tribe nor the Cavaliers (just like the Padres in San Diego and the Sabres in Buffalo) have been able to deliver Cleveland to the apex of their respective leagues.
You’d have to poll an Ottawa octogenarian to chat about the Senators’ last Stanley Cup win. The Sens haven’t hoisted the hallowed hardware since 1927 — granted there was a 58-year hiatus (between 1934 and 1992) of NHL hockey in the Canadian capital.
Starting around the start of the 20th century, the Senators won a staggering 11 Stanley Cups. Four of them came after they joined the NHL, including winning the first Stanley Cup in NHL history.
The point is: in spite of their droughts, cities such as Buffalo, Cleveland and San Diego have experienced the euphoria of being crowned best in show.
To find the ultimate championship-starved fan base, however, a city can never have hoisted championship hardware; never watched its players poured champagne down the backs of their fellow teammates; never thrown a tickertape parade.
There are 11 cities that have never done any of the aforementioned.
The driest of them all is a city that annually gets an average of 44 inches of rain: Vancouver.
Between the Canucks and the Grizzlies, the good folks of Vancouver have spent 39 years and 45 seasons pining for a trophy.
The Grizzlies have since started a new streak of futility in Memphis.
Perhaps the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2010 Winter Games to Vancouver out of pity.
The Canucks have only reached the Stanley Cup finals twice. They lost both times to teams from New York (Islanders and Rangers), a city that could spare a title or two.
All told, New York teams have won 55 major championships.
Vancouver’s dearth is nine years older than the Jazz’s fruitless stay in Salt Lake City and 10 years longer than the drought inflicted on Sacramento by the Kings.
The middle of the list is populated by former expansion teams, such as Orlando, Jacksonville and San Jose, who are quickly aging before our eyes.
Each passing year brings more despair. Every extinguished season shortens the fuse of a fan base’s patience.
IN NEED OF SOME (CHAMPIONSHIP) RAIN
There are 11 cities with franchises in the four major sport leagues — MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL — that have never won a championship.
YEARS WITHOUT A TITLE CITY TEAM(S)
39 VANCOUVER* Canucks & Grizzlies
30 SALT LAKE CITY Jazz
29 SACRAMENTO Kings
20 CHARLOTTE Bobcats & Hornets
20 ORLANDO Magic
18 SAN JOSE Sharks
14 JACKSONVILLE Jaguars
12 NASHVILLE^ Titans & Predators
10 COLUMBUS Blue Jackets
9 MEMPHIS Grizzlies
2 OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder