Special Report

25 Hardest Teams to Root For

Grant Suneson

Source: Duane Burleson / Getty Images

25. Detroit Tigers
> World Series titles: 4
> Modern-era playoff appearances: 16 (in 115 seasons)
> Years since last playoff appearance: 3
> Modern-era win-loss percentage: .505

The Detroit Tigers can claim four World Series titles, but modern Tiger fans likely won’t remember most of them as Detroit won in 1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984. Since that 1984 title, the Tigers have lost two World Series and three American League Championship Series. The Tigers now appear to be in rebuilding mode — they’ve missed the playoffs the last three seasons and traded ace pitcher Justin Verlander in 2017.

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24. Buffalo Sabres
> Stanley Cups: 0
> Modern-era playoff appearances: 29 (in 47 seasons)
> Years since last playoff appearance: 7
> Modern-era win-loss percentage: .536

In the 1990s, the Buffalo Sabres made the playoffs in all but one season. Even during their terrific seasons, the Sabres made the Stanley Cup Finals just once and lost, just as they did in 1975. These days, the Sabres are struggling mightily. Buffalo has missed the playoffs the last seven seasons.

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23. Florida Panthers
> Stanley Cups: 0
> Modern-era playoff appearances: 5 (in 24 seasons)
> Years since last playoff appearance: 2
> Modern-era win-loss percentage: .496

The Florida Panthers have made the playoffs just five times in the 24 years of the franchise’s existence. In the Panthers’ third season, the team made the Stanley Cup Finals but lost. Since then, they’ve never made it past the first round of the playoffs.

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22. Memphis Grizzlies
> Modern-era championships: 0
> Modern-era playoff appearances: 10 (in 23 seasons)
> Years since last playoff appearance: 1
> Modern-era win-loss percentage: .413

Before moving to Memphis, the Vancouver Grizzlies were an abysmal an expansion franchise. The team never won more than 23 games in a season and never finished higher than sixth in their division. The Grizzlies have had some winning seasons since moving to Memphis, but they almost always lost in the first round of playoffs.

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21. Carolina Hurricanes
> Stanley Cups: 1
> Modern-era playoff appearances: 13 (in 38 seasons)
> Years since last playoff appearance: 9
> Modern-era win-loss percentage: .479

The Carolina Hurricanes, once known as the Hartford Whalers, won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Since then, things have been rough for the franchise. The Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once and are in the midst of an NHL-long nine year playoff drought. When you consider that most teams in the NHL make the playoffs, it is a staggering amount of futility.