Special Report

Greatest Teams to Never Win a Championship

Source: Bowman / Amazon

5. 1954 Cleveland Indians
> League: MLB
> Record: 111-43
> Star players: Larry Doby, Bob Feller
> Playoff performance: Lost in World Series to the New York Giants

The Cleveland Indians’ 1954 roster was loaded with all-time great talent. Five players from the squad would eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and many team members already had World Series experience from when the Indians took home the title in 1948. The Indians won 111 games during the 1954, but couldn’t win any in the postseason. The New York Giants swept Cleveland 4-0 to win the World Series.

Source: George Lawrence Company / Wikimedia Commons

4. 1906 Chicago Cubs
> League: MLB
> Record: 116-36
> Star players: Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance
> Playoff performance: Lost in World Series to the Chicago White Sox

No Major League Baseball team has ever dominated in the regular season like the 1906 Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won 116 games, which is still tied for the most in baseball history — but the Cubs needed just 152 games to reach that mark, whereas the 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games out of 162. Cubs pitcher Mordecai Brown was a dominant force on the mound, going 26-6 with a 1.04 ERA. The Cubs could not keep their winning ways alive in the postseason, losing the World Series to their crosstown rival Chicago White Sox in six games. Those postseason struggles didn’t last long though. The Cubs won championships in 1907 and 1908.

Source: Glenn Cratty / ALLSPORT / Getty Images

3. 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings
> League: NHL
> Record: 62-13-7
> Star players: Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov
> Playoff performance: Lost in Western Conference Finals to the Colorado Avalanche

With a record of 62-13-7, the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings got 131 out of a possible 164 points in the season, the second highest total in NHL history after the 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens. That Canadiens team went on to win the Stanley Cup, but the Red Wings didn’t even make the Finals. The Colorado Avalanche upset the Red Wings in six games in the Western Conference finals, before sweeping the Florida Panthers in four games to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings would eventually break through and snap their Stanley Cup drought of more than 40 years, winning the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cups.

Source: Bob Donnan / Pool / Getty Images

2. 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors
> League: NBA
> Record: 73-9
> Star players: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson
> Playoff performance: Lost in NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers

After winning the 2015 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors seemed like a dynasty in the making. The young, homegrown talent of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green led the Warriors to an NBA record of 73 wins during the next regular season, surpassing the record set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. But that Warriors team couldn’t secure a second consecutive championship. Golden State took a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the series before LeBron James led his team back from the brink. The Cavs reeled off three straight wins, including a dramatic game seven, to bring the city of Cleveland its first title in 52 years and spoil the Warriors claim of being the greatest team ever. The Warriors would get their revenge — the team signed one-time MVP Kevin Durant and won the next two championships.

Source: Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

1. 2007 New England Patriots
> League: NFL
> Record: 16-0
> Star players: Tom Brady, Randy Moss
> Playoff performance: Lost in Super Bowl to the New York Giants

The 2007 New England Patriots seemed to be one of the most dominating football teams of all time. Tom Brady threw for 4,806 yards and set a since-broken NFL record of 50 touchdowns during the season, leading New England to a perfect 16-0 record. The Pats didn’t just win all of their games, they crushed their opponents. New England’s average margin of victory was nearly 20 points. But the Patriots’ high-caliber offense was stifled in the Super Bowl, giving up five sacks to the New York Giants pass rush. The Patriots were 12.5 point favorites going into the game but could only manage to score 14 as the Giants but together a last-minute touchdown drive and beat them 17-14. The Giants spoiled the Patriots’ perfect season and ensured that the 1972 Miami Dolphins would remain the only NFL team to post a perfect regular season record and win the Super Bowl.