I figured it wasn’t fair to mention the most consecutive losing seasons without mentioning the longest losing streaks in sports for games. Some of the teams from the previous list are going to pop up here, along with some new ones and one individual. Between college sports, professional, and sports from other countries, it’s an impressive list chalk full of failure.
Northwestern Wildcats – 34 Games (College Football)
Between 1980 and 1982 the Northwestern Wildcats dropped 34 consecutive games in Division I college football. That’s nearly 3 complete years of football, and probably several recruiting classes down the drain. It’s entirely possible that there were players that spent their entire career at Northwestern without winning a single game. Kinda depressing.
Prairie View A&M Panthers – 80 Games (College Football)
A decade of futility. The Prairie View A&M Panthers lost 80 consecutive games between the 1989 and 1998 seasons. That’s two graduating classes (assuming 4 years of college) with a some extra time for grad school. One has to wonder how that effected their applications – nobody likes to attend a school that can’t win a game.
NJIT Highlanders – 51 Games (College Basketball)
The New Jersey Institute of Technology finally ended their losing streak in 2009, after starting it during the 2007-2008 season. It took an entirely new coaching staff and several new recruits to help push this school over the edge versus Bryan University.
Cleveland Cavaliers – 24 Games (NBA)
Told you there would be some familiar names. During the 1982 and 1983 seasons, the Cavaliers managed to drop 24 consecutive games. Now, I can understand, to a certain degree, a college program losing a lot of games – they’re reliant on recruits and there are eligibility requirements that mean you can’t always field the most talented team. However, this was a team of professionals that lost 24 games in a row. Inexcusable.
Philadelphia Phillies – 23 Games (MLB)
Back in the 1961 season, the Phillies, another repeat team from the previous list, lost 23 times in a row. Now sure, in baseball you play around 100 games a season, but losing 23 games in a row pretty much guarantees that you’re not going to be competing for any kind of title. Philadelphia fans are notoriously unforgiving, so the fact that there was a team available for the 1962 season is amazing.
San Jose Sharks – 17 Games (NHL)
During the 1992-1993 season, the Sharks dropped 17 straight games. There are only about 80 games in the regular season. Now I’m willing to give the Sharks a bit of a pass since they were only founded in 1991, but this goes back to my professionals argument above, though if it’s any consolation to Sharks fans, they do share this distinction with the Washington Capitals as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 26 Games (NFL)
You knew this was coming. The first team to ever go winless in the NFL (though the Lions have now taken that mantle), the Bucs flushed the 1976 season and all but 2 games of the 1977 season down the drain. The creamsicle uniforms probably didn’t help. Amazing to think that within 30 years they would be winning a Super Bowl.
University of Toronto Varsity Blues – 51 Games (CIS Football)
Canadian College Football – it sounds weird for me to say too. However, it exists, and apparently the Varsity Blues are pretty bad at it. From 2001 to 2008 they lost 51 games in a row, ensuring that for 7 years, no player on their team tasted sweet victory. At a certain point you just transfer.
Melbourne University Football Club – 51 Games (Australian Rules Football)
Rugy. The Aussies love it, so I find it amazing that a club could lose 51 straight games, between 1911 and 1914, and remain a club. I’m amazed that they weren’t torn limb from limb by their “fans”.
Anthony Young – 27 Decisions (MLB)
Our lone single player on the list. From May of 1992 until July of 1993, Mets pitcher Anthony Young lost 27 consecutive decisions (where a decision was had). What’s sad is that he didn’t really pitch all that bad, having an ERA under 4.00, but it was the Mets, and they didn’t do much to help him. The curse of being a pitcher in the big leagues I guess.
CalTech Beavers – 207 Games (College Basketball)
You read that right. 207 consecutive games. From 1996 until 2007, the CalTech Beavers didn’t win a game. Now let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that athletes go to CalTech with thoughts on the NBA, but if you’re going to suit up and get on the court, you’d like to at least win once and a while. While most of the players on those losing teams probably went on to get Masters degrees and even Doctorates, they’ll have to live with knowing they were part of arguably the worst losing streak in sports history.