BY Steve Rudman 11:45AM 03/02/2012

What’s Most Miserable About Seattle Sports?

Seattle had a great chance for a “Most Miserable Sports City” four-peat, but couldn’t counter Atlanta’s loss of its hockey team to Winnipeg. Vote here on why Seattle sports are so wretched.

Atlanta aced out Seattle as the "Most Miserable Sports City" for 2011, snapping Seattle's three-year reign at the nadir of professional sports. / Wiki Commons

Seattle’s most famous sports streak is over — kaput. After reigning at the nadir of professional sports for three consecutive years (2008-10), Atlanta out-feebled Seattle as America’s “Most Miserable Sports City,” for 2011, as defined by Forbes magazine, dropping the Emerald City to an unfulfilling No. 2.

Darn, if not drat.

You can blame Seattle’s tumble to No. 2 primarily on the fact that the National Hockey League Thrashers bolted Atlanta for Winnipeg, where the No. 1 sport had been ice fishing. Seattle simply had nothing in its 2011 boobery arsenal with which to counter such a wanton jilt.

In addition to the Thrashers quitting on Atlanta, the Braves botched a near-lock playoff spot on the final day of the regular season, and the NBA Hawks and NFL Falcons got bounced out of their respective postseasons early.

The Mariners didn’t even reach the postseason in 2011 (and not since 2001), but Forbes awards “misery points” to cities whose teams tantalize, then disappoint. The 2011 Mariners never even titillated, much less tantalized.

As for the Seahawks, despite a nice second half to their season, they were never a serious threat to accomplish anything in the postseason even if they’d made it. So Seattle lost serious “misery points” right there.

If Forbes focused its sports misery methodology on long-term ineptitude, Seattle would have been named America’s “Most Miserable Sports City” for the fourth consecutive year, thus, in our view, retiring the trophy.

A fourth consecutive “Most Miserable Sports City” win would have been a major development since, before Seattle completed its terrible trifecta in 2010, no other city had ever been designated most miserable more than two times in a row.

But the Forbes rankings don’t work that way. They consider only annual agony in their misery calculations, paying never mind to cumulative and historic sporting angst.

Forbes’ misery methodology also does not include collegiate sports, although they are amateur in name only. Thus, the fact that the University of Washington football program, for example, is the only one in major college history to have 12-0 (1991) and 0-12 (2008) records in its resume, isn’t factored into the misery equation.

If Forbes counted college sports, Seattle would have gained valuable misery points on the basis of the Husky football team scoring 56 points in the Alamo Bowl against Baylor – and losing by 11.

More misery points could have been added to Seattle’s total when the UW basketball team got hosed by 19 at home by the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Such an incredible defeat could still keep the Huskies out of the NCAA Tournament, barring a win in the Pac-12 tournament.

Seattle would have received bonus misery points for such a development. But those, too, are misery points Seattle will never know, owing to Forbes’ flawed misery methodology.

Forbes further discounts Major League Soccer (the only sport at which Seattle is any good), so Seattle failed to receive any critical misery points for another early Sounders FC playoff ouster.

It stings to lose the only “title” Seattle sports seems capable winning. The consolation is that Seattle is still a more miserable sports city than Phoenix, Buffalo and San Diego, the Nos. 3-5 cities on the 2011 Forbes list.

But it’s not much consolation.


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Would Canadian cities count?  Toronto has had much luck success-wise.  I can see Kansas City and the Bay Area qualifying as well until the 49ers recent resurgence.  San Diego, Phoenix, Tampa…and what about Cleveland?

    Interesting they say one-team towns like Portland don’t count but they have Buffalo on the list.  I wish Forbes would let go of the Sonics thing.  It’s done.  They don’t penalize San Diego for losing the Rockets or Philadelphia for losing the Warriors.

    • Artthiel

       The rules are deliberately loose because each market and situation is different. But the idea would be to get better, not find markets worse than yours. And don’t forget . . . New York lost two baseball teams in the 50s.

  • jafabian

    Would Canadian cities count?  Toronto has had much luck success-wise.  I can see Kansas City and the Bay Area qualifying as well until the 49ers recent resurgence.  San Diego, Phoenix, Tampa…and what about Cleveland?

    Interesting they say one-team towns like Portland don’t count but they have Buffalo on the list.  I wish Forbes would let go of the Sonics thing.  It’s done.  They don’t penalize San Diego for losing the Rockets or Philadelphia for losing the Warriors.

    • Artthiel

       The rules are deliberately loose because each market and situation is different. But the idea would be to get better, not find markets worse than yours. And don’t forget . . . New York lost two baseball teams in the 50s.

  • http://www.seattletotems.org/ thekellygreenandwhite

    That Forbes fails to recognize MLS, a league which has done a better job marketing soccer in North America than the NASL ever did and continues to grow the game in a positive direction, I fail to recognize Forbes’ list.  As for chilly Winnipeg, 
    they never should have lost the Jets in the first place, and Atlanta never should have been given a second chance in the NHL. 

    • Artthiel

       Thekelly, it takes time. Pro basketball wasn’t a premier sport for 20 years, and the NFL took almost 40 years.

  • http://www.seattletotems.org/ thekellygreenandwhite

    That Forbes fails to recognize MLS, a league which has done a better job marketing soccer in North America than the NASL ever did and continues to grow the game in a positive direction, I fail to recognize Forbes’ list.  As for chilly Winnipeg, 
    they never should have lost the Jets in the first place, and Atlanta never should have been given a second chance in the NHL. 

    • Artthiel

       Thekelly, it takes time. Pro basketball wasn’t a premier sport for 20 years, and the NFL took almost 40 years.