are four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl: The Detroit
Lions, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
two teams have never played in the World Series: The Washington
Nationals and Seattle Mariners.
and other thoughts were ringing around in my head as the release
date for Title Town approached. General thoughts and
unique scenarios about the world of sports that occasionally slip
under the radar or aren’t often brought up.
the Cleveland Browns.
funny reality is, you could argue they have been to the Super
Bowl. You could even argue they’ve won it. Ladies and gentlemen,
I give you the Baltimore Ravens.
sure… small comfort to the folks in Cleveland. And yet, it also
generates two pretty funny twists:
The Ravens arrived in Baltimore for the 1996 NFL season. They
brought the entire roster of the Browns along (with a new head
coach, but we don’t need to wander down the Bill Belichick connection
right now). Officially, they left everything related to the
Cleveland Browns behind… team logo and colors, the records and
history, and so on. Officially, the Browns basically took a
break. But yeah… the entire roster, the ownership group, all
of that moved. A continuity without continuity.
Baltimore is one of the few cities that can claim two Super
Bowl championship organizations, with the Colts winning Super
Bowl V more than a decade before leaving the city for Indianapolis.
an organization basically moves its entire recognizable staff
from one place to another, including the owners. In order to do
that they supposedly leave the history behind… for an organization
that doesn’t exist. And then… after more than a decade with no
NFL team, a new city ends up with a title.
one of the notes in the “Title Town” essay found in the book,
Town (and other tangents), I point out
that the Oakland Raiders are the only team to win a title for
their city of… of course… Los Angeles. In fact, leaning for just
a moment into that story, just as the Colts have titles for both
Baltimore and Indianapolis, the Raiders have provided titles for
Los Angeles and Oakland.
some more fun in LA? Ok. The Rams played there… went to a Super
Bowl but lost, then moved to St. Louis. While in St. Louis, they
played in two Super Bowls (winning one). Oakland in to LA, won
a title, and then moved back out. The first team eventually filling
the void in the LA market? The Rams. So, the Rams have spent more
years in LA during the Super Bowl era than any other organization,
won their title elsewhere, and yet LA does indeed have a Super
can indeed by crazy, messy, chaotic and infuriating. And fans
wouldn’t have it any other way.
triumphs are sweet, but more often than not, it’s the misery of
the losses that provide some of the best material.
Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs all overcame
incredible runs of championship frustration in the past fifteen
years. The Cleveland Cavaliers brought a championship to their
city for the first time in more than fifty years.
those frustrations strengthen the hopes during the good times.
The San Diego Chargers were leveled by the San Francisco 49ers
in Super Bowl XXIX. Steve Young tossed six touchdown passes in
a 49-26 romp. And yet… before the game… there were people that
fully believed Junior Seau was leading in a San Diego defense
headed to victory.
people say you don’t remember the losers. They’ll do things like
asking you to name the five teams New England has defeated in
their Super Bowl wins… or to quickly name four of the last five
losers in the World Series. And there’s a lot of truth in such
an accusation. (Because I’m mean, I’m not giving you the answer.
Look it up on your own.)
ask the fans of the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings about
losing. Ask the fans of the Cleveland Indians how the fall season
felt in 1995, 1997 and 2016. You’ll learn some fascinating things
from the answers… and these are things that the fans of those
teams are not the only ones to know.
fine… I’m not mean. New England has defeated St. Louis, Carolina,
Philadelphia, Seattle and Atlanta. As of this writing, the five
World Series also-rans are Cleveland, New York (Mets), Kansas
City, St. Louis and Detroit.)
the wins are memorable. Yes… we celebrate the winners. But it
truly is the sour that creates the strongest of sweets.
ask for that… the sweet and the sour. Or, more precisely, the
winners and losers… heroes and villains. The higher the mountain
to climb, the greater the view from the top. We want to believe
Cinderella and underdogs and more can happen, even when they don’t.
hundred years from now, some of these stories will have changed
and swirled and become something else entirely. But rest assured…
there will be stories. Only one team can win a championship every
year. It would take, at best, thirty-two years for every NFL team
to win one Super Bowl… thirty years for every MLB team win a World
Series… thirty years for every NHL team to win a Stanley Cup…
and thirty years in the NBA.
means even in the most balanced of scenarios, there will be decades
of frustration for some. And since “at best” is nice in theory
but reality doesn’t work out that way, those decades will be amazing.
Honestly, we probably should be fascinated by results such as
out of thirty-two NFL organizations… with moves and expansion
and so on… only four of the current teams have failed to claim
at least one of the one hundred and two participant slots in a
the Lions, Browns, Texans, Jaguars, Nationals, Mariners and more
finally reach the final round and play for titles in professional
sports? I don’t know. I would guess yes… but let’s face it, the
Browns know first-hand that sometimes you might just win a Super
Bowl without winning it… teams move, history continues.