Our list of the 10 worst franchises in the four major North American pro leagues now.
-- 1. Pittsburgh Pirates
No pro team has a longer streak of losing seasons now. The Buccos haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds last was a Pirate, in 1992. They haven't won more than 70 games in a season since 2004, and they show little sign of getting better, losing 99 games in 2009. Despite having perhaps the nicest ballpark in the majors, the Pirates finished third from the bottom in attendance this year, and their payroll continues to be near the bottom. They've gone 17 seasons without a winning record, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them go at least another 17.
-- 2. Oakland Raiders
Just win, baby. That battle cry has turned into: Please win ... please? Owner Al Davis has gone from being one of the shrewdest owners in sports to an embarrassment. Davis has gone through nine coaches in the past 20 years, including Art Shell twice and Lane Kiffin, who ended up in a lawsuit with Davis. Coach Tom Cable has been accused of punching a coach and slapping around an ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend. Once one of the best franchises in sports is now almost the worst. Since making the Super Bowl in January 2003, the Raiders have gone 27-80.
-- 3. Phoenix Coyotes
How bad do you have to be to tarnish the hockey reputation of Wayne Gretzky? Even the Great One couldn't salvage this franchise as its coach. The team went bankrupt and had to be taken over by the league. It's even possible the team will have to move eventually, though it has a swanky arena. The Coyotes aren't horrible this season, yet they are averaging fewer than 15,000 in attendance. Maybe that's because the Coyotes haven't won a playoff series since moving from Winnipeg in 1996. They haven't even qualified for the postseason in the past six seasons.
-- 4. Tampa Bay Bucs
When the best thing about a franchise is its breaking out of Creamsicle-colored uniforms that bring back memories of a 26-game losing streak, it has problems. The Bucs have had more offensive coordinators than wins this season. They've also had more defensive coordinators than wins. Major questions remain about the two men -- general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris -- in charge of putting the pieces back together. How many Bucs could start right now on a decent NFL team? Three? Four? Five at the most?
-- 5. Los Angeles Clippers
Whenever lists like this are put together, the Clippers are always near the top because of skinflint owner Donald Sterling. Yet Sterling has upped the payroll in recent seasons, and that hasn't made them better. Maybe the Clippers are just supposed to be a punch line with one playoff appearance in the past 12 years (two in the past 16). This franchise has bounced from Buffalo to San Diego to Los Angeles and in 39 season has made the postseason only seven times. The Clippers have won two playoff series ever.
-- 6. Washington Nationals
They're not really an expansion team. They just play like one on television. Let's not forget the Nationals used to be the Expos and moved from Montreal in 2005. Their best season was their first in Washington, 81-81. Since then, they have had four consecutive losing seasons, including 59-102 in 2008 and 59-103 this year. Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon recently called the Nats the "worst franchise in all four sports." Maybe help is on the way with last year's top pick pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
-- 7. New York Knicks
The Knicks are still trying to recover from Isiah Thomas (the top franchise-wrecker in sports history). The Knicks won't make the playoffs this season, bringing their non-postseason string to six seasons. They haven't had a winning season since 2000-01. The Knicks' plan all along has been to clear salary cap space to sign LeBron James next offseason. But what if LeBron doesn't come? Even if they get LeBron, the Knicks have a long way to go. Can you name a player who plays for the Knicks. Pretty tough, huh?
-- 8. Kansas City Royals
We almost feel bad putting the Royals on the list because they're small market, have a Cy Young winner in Zack Greinke and were a model franchise in the 1970s and 1980s. They seem like more a victim of circumstance than mismanagement. But you can't ignore that the last playoff appearance was winning crew won the 1985 World Series. Since then, the Royals have finished last or next to last in their division 14 times, including each of the past six seasons. In the past six seasons, they've lost 100 games three times and at least 93 twice.
9. New Jersey Nets
It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, the Nets were one of the better teams in the NBA. They appeared in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, and they won a playoff series two years ago. But when Jason Kidd and Vince Carter didn't produce a championship, the Nets decided to start over, literally back at square one. Already having set the record for worst start in NBA history at 0-18, the franchise record for fewest wins in a full season is 17, and we're betting they don't get there.
10. Cleveland Browns
It came down to putting the Lions or Browns at No. 10. Only five franchises have never appeared in a Super Bowl, and two of them -- the Texans and Jaguars -- are relatively new teams. A third, New Orleans, might get there this season. That leaves the Lions and Browns. The Lions went 0-16 last season and have won only two of their past 27 games. They've won one playoff game since 1958. The Browns have won one playoff game in the past 16 seasons and are 1-10 this season after going 4-12 last season. But right now, we'd rather be the Lions and Matthew Stafford than the Browns and Brady Quinn.