It’s tough to pick the worst sports franchise ever. There are many competing variables that go into making a franchise “bad.” Number of losses, championship drought length, bad ownership, severity of scandals, and so on. For GQ, it appears the only variable considered (and we applaud their commitment to keeping things simple) was this: How bad does this team suck?
Therefore, are you surprised that every Cleveland franchise was tied for first (worst) on their list? Yes: The Indians, the Browns, and the Cavaliers are all the worst team ever. (Though the list says “Every Cleveland Sports Franchise,” we’re not sure if the Cleveland Rockers or Lake Erie Monsters are included in that tally, but, yeah, probably.)
To the great people of Cleveland: Look, you gave us Harvey Pekar, and apparently you’ve got a world-class orchestra. But facts are facts, and since your city is, even now, synonymous with Akron-born LeBron James, let’s look at the curse of Cleveland sports from his perspective. Between the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers, Cleveland last celebrated a title four years before LeBron’s mother was born—that’s a combined 152 seasons of futility. James ditched the Cavs not because he was the Whore of Akron but because he was the Oracle of Ohio. In his formative years, he witnessed Cleveland teams suffer The Drive (John Elway beating the Browns in 1987), The Fumble (Earnest Byner sabotaging the Browns in 1988), The Shot (Michael Jordan murdering the Cavs in 1989), and then The Move, when Art Modell decided Cleveland was such a hole he’d rather field his team in Baltimore. James surely knew that if he stayed in Ohio, some kind of ridiculous fate would befall him—The Hangnail, The Cramp, or maybe The Aneurysm. Hence: The Decision.
Despite this well-chronicled Cleveland-wide failure, choosing every Cleveland team seems like a bit of a cop-out. Are the Indians, who are competitive this year and have been in years past, really worse than the Cubs (number three on the list)? Are the Browns, who employed Jim Brown, really worse than the Detroit Wheels (number 10)?
Plus, should the Jets, who are comical nowadays but haven’t always been, really be on here? Shouldn’t expansion teams like the Raptors and… well, the Bobcats are terrible, but yeah, the Raptors, shouldn’t the Raptors get a pass for now? Take a look at the full list and let us know what you think.