With ten days until July 4th I will start a countdown of top ten topics, surrounding American Sports as we approach Americas Birthday. Starting today with the ten most irrelevant franchises in sports.
Honorable Mentions: New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Stars, Cincinnati Bengals & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#10: Minnesota Timberwolves: With the exception of two, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, nobody prominent has ever played for this NBA Franchise. Over their 30 year existence, they have made the playoffs nine times advancing past the first round exactly once. They wasted the prime of Garnett one of the greatest defensive players of the 2000s. Then did it again with Love and both times when the time came to trade their stars away, they got very little in return. They 100% belong on this list.
#9: Arizona Diamondbacks: I know this is controversial given the fact this team won the World Series in 2001. However, with the exception of a brief run in the early 2000s with Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson at the top of their rotation, this is a team that has never really been close. They’ve made the playoffs three times since 2002 winning one series. If they fold tomorrow nobody in MLB or the sports world would blink an eye.
#8: Cincinnati Bengals: With the exception of two Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s, this is a team that has never been relevant in the NFL. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, they have the cheapest and most care-free ownership in the NFL their coaches, players, scouts, and front office are routinely near the bottom of the league in salary. When you turn on the TV and see the Bengals logo, unless they are playing your team, you change the channel.
#7: New Jersey Devils: Perhaps the most surprising entry on the list given the fact the team won three Stanley Cups in the late 90’s, early 2000s. However, folks lets be honest the New York/New Jersey area is not a great hockey market they can barely keep two teams up and running let alone three. Of the five Stanley Cup Finals, this team has played in since 1995, four of them rate in the bottom five of the Cup Finals in ratings. As an NBC executive once said “If New Jersey is in the Cup Finals, it might as well be Winnipeg”.
#6: Tampa Bay Rays: An easy one, a market that doesn’t care about baseball, that has won two playoff series in their history, and play in the worst stadium in Major League Baseball for both players and fans. For most of this season, they were in first place, and they still couldn’t draw people to their ballpark, which is well out of the way of Downtown Tampa. To the point where MLB is now considering splitting half their season between Tampa and Montreal.
#5: Sacramento Kings: Another easy one, have you ever met a Kings fan? A team that plays in the same State as the modern NBA Dynasty the Golden State Warriors, and the most important team to the NBA the Los Angeles Lakers. They play in a city that has extremely low tourism and just opened a brand new arena that they can’t fill 3/4 of. However, with D’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, the team does have a bright future.
#4: Miami Marlins: Again I know they won two World Series titles, but over the past fifteen years there have been no teams with the exception of the New York Knicks that is more poorly run in Pro Sports. They were owned by the deplorable Jeffery Loria, who ripped off the city of Miami for years demanding tax dollars for a new stadium that he knew he couldn’t sell out. Then, he promptly saddled the team with a massive contract to Giancarlo Stanton, then he dumped on the new Ownership group headlined by New York Yankee legend Derek Jeter. The new ownership group dumped Stanton for nothing, then purged the entire team from the mascot to the broadcasters, to a scout who had kidney cancer and relied on his insurance via the team for treatment. Miami is a joke.
#3: Memphis Grizzlies: Since their move from Vancouver, they have been the most irrelevant team in the NBA. They routinely are the lowest rated games on local and national networks and lowest attended games when they are the visitors. They have made one Conference Final in their existence and couldn’t put anything around either Pau or Marc Gasol or Mike Conley for years. Hopefully, for their sake, JA Morant will breathe life into the team that many people don’t know exist.
#2: Arizona Coyotes: Since arriving from Winnipeg in the 90s, this team has played in a horrible arena that has been half full. Even naming Wayne Gretzky Head Coach in the early 2010s did nothing to draw interest to the team that the league once owned. The only thing preventing this team from being #1 was the fact their existence inspired MVP Candidate Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs to take up the game in his youth in Scottsdale.
#1: Florida Panthers: Miami can’t support its MLB team, can barely fill its NFL Stadium, and unless Shaq or LeBron were on the Heat, its NBA Team. Why the NHL thought it could put a successful team in the Miami area is beyond me. Whenever I watch a game in that arena, it’s half empty and most of the fans there support the road team. It must be a massive slap in the face to the folks of Quebec City, Milwaukee, and Hartford to see the NHL continue to try and force this market into success. Maybe their expected off-season signing of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky will boost their sales and ratings, but don’t hold your breath.