Most Embarrassing Streaks in Sports History
We nearly did it, guys. We almost made history.
The Philadelphia 76ers came within one game of stringing together the worst losing streak in NBA history Saturday night. They were so close to breaking the record, and the sad part is they did everything right.
They traded players for draft picks, tossed points away like wedding rice and took the business of losing seriously. The 2013-14 76ers tanked harder than most Panzer divisions, and their streak of losses—while not record-breaking—now stands in hallowed company with some of the ugliest skids in sports history.
In honor of Philadelphia's lengthy losing binge, I've put together a list of the most cringe-worthy streaks ever compiled in athletics.
These are the most embarrassing streaks in sports. Just remember: Anyone can have a bad game, but it takes a special something to maintain a high level of awfulness for months at a time.
Most Consecutive Missed Free Throws
Historically speaking, 1-of-3 wasn't bad for Chris Dudley.
The former journeyman center averaged 45.8 percent from the line over the course of his 15-year career in the NBA, with his worst season average dipping as low as 30.5 percent.
There seemed to be some sort of mental block at the charity stripe that Dudley never managed to get over, and it culminated in him missing 13 consecutive free throws during a 1990 game against the Indiana Pacers—an NBA record.
Most Consecutive Losses by an NHL Team
In a tie for worst NHL skid of all time, the 1974-75 Washington Capitals and the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks both managed to rack up 17 straight losses in a single season.
The Sharks gave up a mind-numbing 4.9 goals per game, while the expansion Caps—considered the worst NHL team of all time—finished the season with one road win and 21 goals scored.
Longest Winless Streak by a Pro Boxer
Before we get into this, let it be known: Any man who steps into the boxing ring 300 times over the course of his life is automatically a B.A.
Pugilism is a sport for lionhearted men, and Peter Buckley is a lion—just not one that runs the pride.
Buckley hung up the gloves in 2008 at the age of 39 with a record of 32-256-12 in professional boxing. He didn't just fight scrubs, either. Buckley tangled with 42 future national and world champs over the course of his career—a career that included a five-year winless streak (2003 to 2008) featuring 88 losses and a single draw.
The Englishman says he boxed so often that he occasionally showed up to fights with a black eye from the last bout. The best part? He boxed his 300th and final bout before retiring. He is a hero.
Most Consecutive Losses by a Pro Tennis Player
It sounds impossible, but this is truth: English tennis pro Robert Dee lost 54 matches in a row on the international circuit. He did so without winning a single set. Not one.
Most Consecutive Lost Decisions by an MLB Pitcher
In 1993, a string of injuries forced New York Mets pitcher Anthony Young to alternate between roles as starting pitcher and closer.
He pitched well, chalking up scoreless innings and saves left and right. The problem was closing the deal, however. Young lost 27 straight decisions—an MLB record.
The weight of the losses weighed heavily on Young, who once burst into tears after a particularly tough loss. After breaking the previous record of 23 consecutive losses, he had some angry words for the press.
"Now that I have a record, I hope that all you leave me alone," Young said, as reported by Hogan Chen and James G. Robinson of BaseballLibrary.com.
Most Consecutive Losses by a D-I College Football Team
Imagine a nine-year losing streak. Picture that misery. Try to digest the idea of your team not winning one game for nearly a decade.
That awful feeling sloshing around in your gut is something Prairie View A&M football fans lived with from 1989 to 1998. The Panthers—a program with five national black college titles under its belt—lost 80 straight games. Their lowest point came in 1991, a season in which they gave up an average of 56 points every game.
Most Consecutive Losses in International Play by a Soccer Team
It took the better part of two decades for American Samoa to win an international soccer game.
The team lost every international match it played for 17 years until finally defeating Tonga in a pre-qualifying game for the 2014 World Cup. The team also holds the distinction of most one-sided defeat in an international soccer match.
It lost 31-0 to Australia in 2001.
Most Consecutive Ejections from an NBA Game
Don Boven was a forward for the Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta Hawks) during the early '50s who made a hobby out of getting booted from games.
Boven managed to get himself ejected from six consecutive games during the 1951-52 season—a record that still stands today.
I'm not even sure if this is embarrassing. I'm impressed, considering you probably had to scoop out someone's eye to get ejected from a pro basketball game in the '50s.
Most Consecutive Losses by an NFL Team
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight games from 1976 to 1977.
1976 was the Bucs' first season in the league, and they kicked things off by becoming the first team in NFL history to lose every contest on their 14-game schedule. They didn't score a touchdown until their fourth game.
The next season, the Bucs lost their first 12 games before finally beating the New Orleans Saints on the road. The team returned home to find 8,000 Tampa fans and residents congregated outside the Bucs headquarters to celebrate the victory. I would give any amount of money to have witnessed that scene.
Most Consecutive Losses by an NBA Team
And we have a tie!
After losing to the Rockets 120-98 Thursday night, the 76ers tallied their 26th straight loss of the 2013-14 season, tying the LeBron-less 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers' record for most consecutive losses by an NBA team.
I'd be lying if I wasn't excited to see Philly make history, but Michael Carter-Williams and Co. stopped the skid Saturday night with a home win against the Detroit Pistons.
Congratulations are in order, but I still think we should've made history, Philadelphia.
Most Consecutive Super Bowl Losses
Oh, Bills. You knew you would be on here.
The Buffalo Bills of the early '90s were a dynasty dowsed in potential and disappointment. From 1990 to 1993—four straight seasons—Buffalo ended up in the Super Bowl and lost each time.
The worst part of the streak was the Bills losing back-to-back championships to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. They had a shot at redemption but fell short again.
Most Consecutive NFL Games with a Pick-6
One of the most recent embarrassing records of the bunch, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub set an NFL record over the course of the 2013-14 season for most consecutive weeks with a pick-six.
Schaub got red-hot with the giveaways from Week 2 to Week 5, gifting six points each to the Tennessee Titans, the Baltimore Ravens, the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
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