Sports

Which Is The Saddest NFL Fanbase Of Them All? Let’s Rank All 32 And Find Out!

Most fans like to argue about the best. Who’s the best team? Who’s the best player? What’s the best fanbase? The best dominates sports discussion on a daily basis from barstools to television shows. But there are other ways that sports fans argue about who is the best. These discussions happen in dimly light rooms, our of earshot from strangers. Discussions about who is the best at having it the worst. Hey, if you can’t win the optimism battle, might as well win the pessimism battle, right?

So, let’s figure out what NFL fanbase does indeed have it the worst. In an attempt to rank them appropriately, I judged each team on two factors: Historical success, and current level of success. Basically, how happy can the fanbase currently be, and how happy the fanbase has been over the course of their history. Both factors will be ranked on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most sad.

We’ll start at the happiest and drop down into depression the further we go to find out which fanbase truly has it the worst.

32. The Pittsburgh Steelers
Historical Sadness: 1
Current Sadness: 1

I was genuinely torn on whether to put the Steelers or Patriots first. But ultimately, I decided to place the Steelers in first place, because while they may not reach quite the level of success the Patriots have had in the past 16 years, they’ve been close (two Super Bowl wins and one appearance) and they have had a much, much stronger historical level of success than the Patriots. The Steelers have great ownership, the best wideout in the NFL, a great QB, the coolest coach in the league, and a city full of diehards who would vote Franco Harris for president if they could. If a Steelers fan ever tries to argue with you about having it worse, punch them.

31. The New England Patriots
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 2

No fanbase in the NFL is as absolutely spoiled rotten as these Patriots fans have been for 16 years under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. But lost amidst the sea of smug is the simple fact that before Drew Bledsoe showed up in the mid-’90s, the Patriots were a joke. Their greatest accomplishment was being sacrificed to the ’85 Bears in the Super Bowl. More recently, they had the 18-1 season, which is a weird sort of pain no other team can claim to have felt. On top of that, Brady’s retirement is looming, Still, the Pats have no reason to be truly sad yet.

30. The Green Bay Packers
Historical Sadness: 2
Current Sadness: 2

No sympathy for the Packers, a franchise so integral to the league that the ultimate championship trophy is named after their historic coach. They had a Hall of Fame QB for 20 years, and then immediately segued into another probable Hall of Fame QB. Spoiled cheeseheads.

29. The Denver Broncos
Historical Sadness: 3
Current Sadness: 1

The current Super Bowl champs have given their fans a mostly blessed life. Despite boring beginnings, the Broncos found John Elway and have been successful ever since. It took them a while to finally get that ring, but now they have three and are the reigning champions. No sadness here, unless you really like Mark Sanchez for some reason.

28. The Baltimore Ravens
Historical Sadness: 2
Current Sadness: 4

The Ravens (counting them from their mid-’90s inception) have been a mostly successful franchise. A few years of Kyle Boller doesn’t offset one of the greatest defenses of all time in 2000 and the recent success under John Harbaugh. Sure, they are currently a bit of a question, but overall the Ravens have made it very easy for Baltimore to get over the Colts leaving.

27. The New York Giants
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 3

The Giants are a long standing franchise that won a lot of championships in the early eras of football. They went silent for a while in the ’60s and ’70s, but then found themselves success in the ’80s and have been on the winning end ever since. They are the only team to win a Super Bowl in four consecutive decades and they hold the honor of one of the greatest upsets of all time by taking out the 17-0 Patriots in XLII. The team is currently kind of a mess, but it’s hard to argue that Giants fans haven’t had it pretty good.

26. The Dallas Cowboys
Historical Sadness: 2
Current Sadness: 4

The Cowboys have been the definition of mediocre over the past decade, but they had a dynasty in the mid-’90s and in the ’70s. On top of that, they get all the hype and all the glamour even when they don’t deserve it and we all know that jerk who is a Cowboys fan despite never living in Texas. Screw that guy. This fanbase deserves the suffering.

25. The San Francisco 49ers
Historical Sadness: 1
Current Sadness: 5

The San Francisco 49ers are to the ’80s what the Patriots are to the ’00s — insufferably successful. The Niners suffered some rough patches around the mid-’00s and recently turned into a probable garbage fire with a terrible man-baby owner running the show, but they still almost won a Super Bowl several years ago and have attracted all the Bay-Area tech smugs.

24. The Seattle Seahawks
Historical Sadness: 6
Current Sadness: 1

The Seahawks are a recent annoyance, but that’s it. Before 2012, Seattle was mostly a laughably unfortunate team. But thanks to Russell Wilson and the recent success, it’s hard to feel bad for any ‘Hawks fans, even with the embarrassing Super Bowl loss two seasons ago to New England.

23. The Carolina Panthers
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 2

The Panthers are licking their wounds from their recent Super Bowl embarrassment, but they are still easily a major championship contender and have now been to multiple Super Bowls in their short tenure as a franchise. If they actually won either of those two Super Bowls, they’d be a lot higher.

22. The Oakland Raiders
Historical Sadness: 2
Current Sadness: 6

If you are a young’in, you might be excused for thinking the Raiders are kind of a joke, because since the Super Bowl loss to the Bucs they have been (despite a very, very recent upturn). But the Raiders a long-time great franchise in this league with a lot of positive history to be proud of, like two Super Bowl titles in the ’80s.

21. The Indianapolis Colts
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 4

The Colts, if you count them from their Baltimore days, are a franchise with the first great passing QB in Johnny Unitas, and the winners of the “greatest game ever played.” If you only consider them from their days in Indianapolis, they still had Peyton Manning for years and got a Super Bowl out of it. I can’t give the Colts any sadness for moving in the ’80s, because now those Baltimore fans are spoiled with the Ravens, and the move was a positive for Indy fans. However, the Colts are currently in danger of wasting the best QB prospect in years (but that doesn’t change the fact that they still got to land the best QB prospect in years after a single season of Curtis Painter).

20. The Miami Dolphins
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 6

The Dolphins have been crap since Dan Marino left, but historically the Dolphins have had it pretty well overall, and they can still pop that undefeated champagne every year.

19. The New Orleans Saints
Historical Sadness: 8
Current Sadness: 4

The Saints were a joke for a long, long time. They will soon be sad because they have not prepared for life after Drew Brees. But for a little while the Saints were really good. They won the Super Bowl in 2009. They changed their city for the better.

18. The Chicago Bears
Historical Sadness: 6
Current Sadness: 6

The Bears are one of the founding franchises of professional football and have a ton of history. But outside of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning team, they haven’t had a ton of success over the last 30 years, and the last two have been particularly painful.

17. The Washington Redskins
Historical Sadness: 4
Current Sadness: 8

The Skins have a rich history with three Super Bowl championship, but in the ’00s they are best known for having a racist team name and one of the worst owners in sports. They have subsequently become the butt of many football fans’ jokes. They did win the NFC East last season, yet did so without a victory against a single winning team, so nobody has any reason to start taking them too seriously again.

16. The Kansas City Chiefs
Historical Sadness: 6
Current Sadness: 5

The Chiefs have one great moment in history: Super Bowl 4. The team has flirted with success several times since, but they have never reached that height again.

15. The Los Angeles Rams
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 6

This is a tough team to grade. If you go by the St. Louis history, then they are currently very sad, but at least have a Super Bowl to their name. If you go by L.A., they are currently very happy to have a team again but do not have a Super Bowl. So it’s just easier to split the difference.

14. The New York Jets
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 6

The Jets have one of the greatest upsets in football history to their name thanks to Joe Namath’s 1968 Super Bowl win. Outside of that, they are just the other New York team that hasn’t made it back to the Big Game since.

13. The Cincinnati Bengals
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 7

The Bengals’ best years ran into the ’80s 49ers juggernaut, and the current Bengals are best known for very good regular seasons followed by instant playoff failure.

12. The Philadelphia Eagles
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 7

The Eagles got this close to actually winning a Super Bowl back in 2004, but came up short against the Patriots. Despite that, they’ve been the most consistently successful team in their division since the turn of the century. But as other NFC East fanbases are always happy to point out, their last title came before the Super Bowl was even a thing.

11. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 6

The Bucs would be a lot lower if they didn’t have one fleeting moment of beauty in 2002 when they crushed the Raiders to win their one and only Super Bowl. Since then, they’ve had just four winning seasons, although Jameis Winston started to turn things around last year and gave Bucs fans some hope for the future.

10. The Atlanta Falcons
Historical Sadness: 8
Current Sadness: 7

The Falcons have had a spattering of postseason success, including one Super Bowl appearence in which they were killed by the 1998 Broncos, and Conference Championship appearances in ’04 and ’12. But they’ve never broke through to win a Lombardi, and they also had that whole Mike Vick thing to live through.

9. The Jacksonville Jaguars
Historical Sadness: 8
Current Sadness: 8

The Jags have only been around for 22 season, the first half of which saw a decent amount of success in Jacksonville. They made the playoffs six times, including two Conference Championship appearances, but they haven’t had a winning record since 2007.

8. The Tennessee Titans
Historical Sadness: 9
Current Sadness: 8

Historically, the franchise has experienced some all-time greats like Warren Moon and Earl Campbell, and even had a stretch of seven consecutive playoff appearances in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Things went well for awhile after morning to Tennessee, too, but the last 12 years have been rough. They haven’t had a winning season since ’08, and won just five games total in their last two seasons.

7. The San Diego Chargers
Historical Sadness: 7
Current Sadness: 10

The Chargers have been a mostly successful team for more than a decade, but now live in a state of limbo where they might abandon their fanbase to go play second fiddle in Los Angeles because they can’t seem to scam the city of San Diego out of taxpayer dollars for a stadium. Peak sadness.

6. The Houston Texans
Historical Sadness: 9
Current Sadness: 8

They’ve spent most of their 15 seasons of existence being a punching bag for the rest of their division. They’re still a relatively young franchise, but things will probably continue to be sad for some time to come.

5. The Minnesota Vikings
Historical Sadness: 9
Current Sadness: 6

The Vikings have had a lot of historical success compared to the other teams down in the bottom of this list — they’ve made the playoffs in 28 of their 56 seasons, which is an incredible ratio. Yet they still have never managed to win a Super Bowl. At some point, all those postseason disappointments lead to permanent sadness. Plus, there is the whole awful Teddy Bridgewater thing that happened this week.

4. The Buffalo Bills
Historical Sadness: 10
Current Sadness: 9

Four straight Super Bowl losses and the longest current streak in the NFL without a playoff appearance (15 years). Yep, pretty damn sad.

3. The Arizona Cardinals
Historical Sadness: 10
Current Sadness: 8

This might surprise some young fans. The Cardinals are good! They reached the NFC Championship Game last season! The reason the Cardinals are down here is that the last time they won a championship was as the Chicago Cardinals in 1947 (for reference, the Browns last won in 1964, and the Lions was 1957). The Cardinals have spent their entire existence in complete irrelevancy, and until now have never had sustained success in any way. In 28 seasons since moving from St. Louis to the state of Arizona, they’ve had just six winning seasons.

2. The Detroit Lions
Historical Sadness: 10
Current Sadness: 10

The Lions have won one playoff game since the NFL/AFL merger. ONE. Plus, what team could cause two different all-time great talents — Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson — to lose all passion and just quit in their prime? The Lions, that’s who.

1. The Cleveland Browns
Historical Sadness: 10
Current Sadness: 10

Was there any other choice? The Browns may have had more historical success than the Lions or Cardinals, but they’ve also suffered more crippling heartbreak, had their team moved out of the city in the middle of the night, and have been absolute garbage since coming back. The Browns are synonymous with football sadness, and if they deserve to win anything, it’s this list.

Around The Web

×