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The Secret of Professional Losers

Evan Spinney, Reporter

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These pro sports teams just can’t catch a break.

Of the 123 Big Four sports teams—football, baseball, basketball, and hockey—some of them appear to not be able to finish the season with a win. No matter how well they do in the regular season, the post-season games do not end how they’re expected to for many players and for the fans. Whether it’s the World Series, Super Bowl, Finals, or Stanley Cup, these teams cannot call themselves “champions.”

Baseball

Since 1972, when the Texas Rangers officially became the Rangers in the Major League Baseball (MLB) association, they have never won a world series title, and it is likely they will not win one for a while. The Rangers have been to the playoffs eight times earning two pennants and two appearances in the World Series. Both times the Rangers made it that far in the season, the most recent being 2011 when they lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals, they finished without a trophy.

The Rangers were not doing too badly this season with a current record of just three more losses than wins. Records were set this year by multiple athletes from this team – third baseman Adrian Beltre reached 3,000 hits, infielder Joey Gallo had a 490 foot homerun to center field, the third longest in the MLB this season – but they are currently in fourth in their division. They probably will not be making the playoffs this year, and yet again, wait for next season to get their shot at a title.

Football

There are two teams who are pretty equally matched in terms of ability who have never won a Super Bowl, the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills. The teams have faced each other 13 times and currently Minnesota has won eight of the matchups. Both teams have been to the Super Bowl four times, and every time, the Bills and Vikings have lost. Even though both teams had a time when they were able to make it to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons, they couldn’t pull out a win.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stephen Burton (11), left, gets stripped of the ball by Buffalo Bills defensive back Leodis McKelvin (21), right, in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

It is still early into the National Football League (NFL) season, so it’s hard to determine how well both teams will perform this year. Currently both teams have two wins and one loss. Last season, the Vikings finished fourth in their division – the National Football Conference (NFC) North – with a record of 8-8, and the Bills also finished fourth in the American Football Conference (AFC) East but with a record of 7-9. Both teams however did have star quarterbacks (until Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his knee) and have some other offensive threats, but both teams still have a shaky defense.

Most likely, the Bills will not make it to the playoffs considering they haven’t made it that far in 18 years, and for the Vikings it’s still up in the air. The most recent time they had made it into the playoffs was in 2015, when they lost by a field goal to the Seattle Seahawks. However the Vikings have since worsened from their 2015 11-5 record season but are trying to make a comeback; they are currently tied for first in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

Basketball

The National Basketball Association (NBA) finals are considerably hard to get to for the majority of teams due to the 82 game season and the number “super teams” that have been created with all the recent trades. It is especially for those teams who do not have some of the best players in the league, such as the Phoenix Suns. Though there are some big name players for the Suns such as Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Brandon Knight, the probability of the Suns winning the NBA finals are 500-1. And even though it is not the lowest chance a team has (the lowest being 1000-1 by three teams), it is still to unlikely of odds for the Arizona basketball team to bring home a title.

The basketball season has not started yet – the season will pick up this weekend on Saturday, September 30th – but there was a summer league competition where draft prospects could show off what they have to offer in hopes that some team will select them to play in the 2017-2018 season. In that competition, the Phoenix Suns finished in 18th out of 24 teams and had a record of two wins and four losses.


Hockey

Multiple teams have had the same amount of appearances in the Stanley Cup Final without winning, the most recent team being the Vancouver Canucks. Before 2011, the Canucks made it to the cup finals twice, once in the ‘80s and once in the ‘90s where they first lost to the New York Islanders, then the New York Rangers, and then the Boston Bruins.

Multiple websites such as a fan page for the Vancouver team and FanSided have claimed that the Canucks will win the cup this season, or come farther than they have in the last few seasons to it, but the team’s 2016-17 season record of 30 wins and 43 losses with 9 overtime losses (OTL) says otherwise. The amount of goals scored in a season has decreased since their Stanley Cup Finals appearance from 117 goals in 2011, all the way down to 69 goals in 2017.

SportsNet writer Jonathan Willis said, “it might be five years before we can mention the Canucks seriously in a piece like this.”

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The Secret of Professional Losers