The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. This win had extra meaning for Bengals fans, as it was the franchise’s first playoff win in over 31 years, which was the longest drought in major American professional sports. Cincinnati’s last playoff win came on Jan. 6, 1991, when they beat the Houston Oilers 41-14.
Now the dubious distinction of the longest postseason win drought belongs to another NFL team, whose fans have been waiting for 30 seasons for a playoff victory, with no end in sight. These downtrodden fans are not alone though. Almost two dozen teams have deprived fans of postseason success for at least a decade.
To determine the teams that have gone the longest without a playoff win, 24/7 Tempo reviewed statistics from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB using the Sports Reference family of sites. NFL teams were ranked by their most recent playoff game win, while teams in the other three leagues were ranked on the last time they won a playoff series. The NHL’s 2020 qualifying round, introduced because of the pandemic, was not considered a playoff series. The MLB’s Wild Card rounds were considered.
Though the 23 teams on this list have gone 10 or more seasons without advancing at least one round in the playoffs, it does not mean they are completely hapless. Many of the franchises on this list have made a number of playoff appearances in that time but lost in the first round.
The teams on this list run the gamut from stalwart franchises that have fallen on hard times to newer expansion franchises that have yet to find a recipe for success. Though it is undoubtedly difficult to root for some of these teams, it could always be worse – there are 35 teams that have never been able to bring home a title. These are the teams that have never won a championship.
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