San Diego tops com­pet­i­tive list of worst sports cities

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - PAUL NEWBERRY ——— Paul Newberry writes for the As­so­ci­ated Press.

It was a ques­tion that came up again this week when At­lanta hosted Georgia’s over­time loss to Alabama in the na­tional championship game , com­plete with the squan­der­ing of a dou­ble-digit lead.

Is this the worst sports city in Amer­ica ?

Turns out, the A-T-L has some stiff com­pe­ti­tion.

To start with, here are the five big­gest losers, pre­sented in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der with their rare ac­com­plish­ments and plethora of fail­ures.

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul, you just missed the cut.

AT­LANTA

Ma­jor Pro Championships: One. The Braves won the 1995 World Se­ries.

Flops: The Braves fell short of a championship ev­ery other time dur­ing their run of 14 straight divi­sion ti­tles. The Fal­cons lost twice in the Su­per Bowl. The Hawks have never reached the NBA Fi­nals. Two NHL teams — the Flames and the Thrash­ers — moved to Canada.

Back To School: At­lanta (along with nearby Athens) does get some credit for its col­lege sports. Georgia Tech claimed a share of the foot­ball na­tional championship in 1990. The Univer­sity of Georgia, about 75 miles away, cap­tured the 1980 ti­tle and is one of the na­tion’s most prom­i­nent pro­grams.

Big­gest Dis­ap­point­ment: The Fal­cons blow­ing a 25-point lead in last year’s Su­per Bowl .

BUF­FALO

Ma­jor Pro Championships: None (sorry, two ti­tles won by the Bills be­fore the Amer­i­can Foot­ball League merged with the NFL fail to qual­ify).

Flops: The Bills lost four straight Su­per Bowls in the early 1990s and had the long­est ac­tive post­sea­son drought of any North Amer­i­can fran­chise (2000-16) be­fore mak­ing the play­offs this sea­son. The Sabres came up short in their two trips to the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal and are now on course to miss the NHL play­offs for the sev­enth year in a row. The Braves lasted just eight NBA sea­sons in the 1970s be­fore mov­ing to San Diego.

Back To School: The Univer­sity of Buf­falo foot­ball team has only two win­ning sea­sons since mov­ing up to the NCAA FBS ranks in 1999. The Bulls men’s basketball team was one-and-done in its two NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances.

CLEVE­LAND

Ma­jor Pro Championships: Eight. A rather high num­ber for this list, but the In­di­ans won the last of their two World Se­ries ti­tles in 1948 and the Browns have never been to the Su­per Bowl, though they do have four NFL championships from the 1950s and ’60s. LeBron James and the Cava­liers re­ally messed things up by win­ning their first NBA crown in 2016.

Flops: The In­di­ans were swept in the 1954 World Se­ries af­ter win­ning 111 games, and they squan­dered a lead in the ninth in­ning of Game 7 in the ’97 Se­ries. The Browns went 0-16 this sea­son. The Cavs have lost three times in the NBA Fi­nals. The Barons ex­pired in the 1970s af­ter last­ing just two NHL sea­sons. Back To School: Best we can come up with is nearby Youngstown State win­ning four FCS na­tional foot­ball ti­tles.

PHOENIX

Ma­jor Pro Championships: One. The Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs won the 2001 World Se­ries in their fourth year of ex­is­tence.

Flops: The Ari­zona Car­di­nals have made just five NFL play­off ap­pear­ances since mov­ing to the desert in 1988. The Phoenix Suns lost twice in the NBA Fi­nals. The NHL Coy­otes are an at­ten­dance-chal­lenged fran­chise that seems con­stantly on the verge of mov­ing .

Back To School: In 1996, Ari­zona State’s bid for a per­fect sea­son and its first na­tional foot­ball ti­tle ended with a 20-17 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The pro­gram hasn’t come close to match­ing that level of suc­cess.

SAN DIEGO

Ma­jor Pro Championships: None (as with Buf­falo, we’re not count­ing the Charg­ers’ 1963 AFL ti­tle, nor the 10 in­door soc­cer ti­tles won by the Sock­ers).

Flops: The Padres were blown out in their two World Se­ries ap­pear­ances. The Charg­ers’ only Su­per Bowl run ended with a 49-26 rout by the 49ers. A pair of NBA teams, the Rock­ets and the Clip­pers, aban­doned the city.

Back To School: San Diego State twice reached the men’s basketball Sweet 16 un­der Steve Fisher. That’s about it for the col­lege game.

OK, now you know the con­tenders.

Which brings us to, do we dare say, the win­ner?

Drum roll, please.

The worst sports city in Amer­ica is …

SAN DIEGO!

Of course, that city’s long-suf­fer­ing fans do get to live in San Diego.

So they’ve got that go­ing for ’em.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS / 1995

San Diego quar­ter­back Stan Humphries was in­jured dur­ing the fran­chise’s only Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance.

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