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Sports Then and Now

Step Aside, Cleveland, These Teams are the Biggest Losers in History

Posted on December 09, 2017 by Rik Snuiverink
Steve Spurrier was the original starting quarterback when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began their stretch of 26 consecutive defeats.

Steve Spurrier was the original starting quarterback when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began their stretch of 26 consecutive defeats.

For the 0-12 Browns, it is all something of a case of deja-vu. This time last year, they were in exactly the same position, and it was only a Christmas Eve win that saved them from a 0-16 season. That makes 28 losses in the last 29 regular season games for the Browns. It’s bad, but that single win against the Chargers last year means Cleveland can’t even make a success of losing, and just miss out on the top losing streaks shortlist.

Streaking to failure – or gambling on spectacular success

There is something almost magical about the streak. Sportsbook fans and casino goers know that it can make gamblers overnight millionaires or bring them to ruin, whether they are putting it all on black 22 at or trying to hold their nerve in a complex sports betting accumulator.

For sports fans, however, when all else is lost, there is what becomes an almost morbid interest in just how bad your team can become. It is a feeling that Cleveland fans know only too well. Here are some of the biggest losing streaks in sporting history.

NFL: 26 games

Not to rub it in, but had Cleveland lost to San Diego last year, they would have shot straight to the top of the list. As it is, the biggest losing streak stands at 26, and is a record held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Worse, it came in 1976, when the regular season was only 14 games long and the Bucs were the new kids in town. It took the franchise almost two entire seasons to manage its first victory, a 33-14 win over The Saints in the penultimate game of the1977 season at Tampa Stadium.

MLB: 26 games

Sports historians will be familiar with the Louisville Colonels, but everyone else might be scratching their heads. They were actually one of the pioneers of Major League Baseball, but the team folded in 1899, amalgamating with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gone and largely forgotten, they do still hold one MLB record, and that is their 26-game losing streak in the 1889 season.

NBA: 28 games

Last year, the Philadelphia 76ers managed to beat their own record of 26 consecutive losses by extending the 10-game losing streak that concluded the 2014/15 season with an additional 18 losses to start the 2015/16 season. They finally brought the streak to an end with a 103-91 win over the Lakers at the Wells Fargo Center in December 2015.

Premier League: 15 games

It is not just American fans who can get obsessive over statistics. In the home of soccer, the Premier League is the top flight, and home to legendary teams like Manchester United and Chelsea. But alongside the big guys, are the lower ranked teams that fight to simply hang on in there at the highest level. In the 2002/03 season, Sunderland failed to achieve that in dramatic style. Their 15-game losing streak set a league record and led to their relegation from the Premier League to the second tier EFL.

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