In professional sports, there are losing teams, and then there are teams that lose and also it’s really funny. The following ten franchises represented the pinnacle of sports-fan schadenfreude in 2008, as ranked by a scientific-as-hell system that combines the team’s Creative Hilarity (negative/ridiculous storylines, WTF moments, general stupidity/absurdity) with their Degree of Failure (overall losing, chronic losing, or particularly rough choking). For simplicity’s sake, the list only covers the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA — otherwise, the entire list would just be jokes about the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Because seriously, eff those guys.
10. Philadelphia Eagles
Creative Hilarity: 6. I received a text from one of my Eagles-fan friends after Philly lost to the Redskins this past Sunday (virtually wiping out their postseason chances this year) that ended with the succinct reminder “oh yeah, Andy Reid has fat inside of his skull instead of a brain.” I feel this phrase and the anger behind it more or less sums up the past decade of Eagles football with more painful accuracy than any ten seasons of team highlight videos possibly could.
Failure Rating: 5. The Eagles are never outright terrible, but they always lose exactly enough to lower expectations before a surprising win, then win exactly enough to raise expectations before a surprising loss. It’s truly one of the most awe-inspiring balances in nature; I think there’s an entire Planet Earth episode dedicated to it.
Overall: 11. At least the Phillies’ title buys everyone in that city at least another five suicide-free sports seasons.
9. New York Knicks
Creative Hilarity: 5.5. They’ve been a can’t-miss, Top-Three hilarious franchise for the past four years, but things are finally looking up — they convinced Mike D’Antoni to sell his soul, they managed to dump Stephon Marbury into the same Mystery Spot-limbo that Ozzie Smith fell into on The Simpsons, and I’m pretty sure they’re only three years away from actually drafting in the first round again! [ED NOTE: The Knicks probably will have traded away their 2011 and 2012 first round picks for Juwon Howard by the time you're reading this]
Failure Rating: 8. They haven’t had a winning year since 2001, but they have consistently finished above the Washington Generals in nearly every season since then.
Overall: 13.5. Plan A) Sign LeBron James in 2010. Plan B) Invent time machine, continue changing past events until Plan A comes true or dinosaurs rule the earth.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Creative Hilarity: 6.5. The Chris Henry saga wasn’t so much a “nail in the coffin” for coach Marvin Lewis as it was a “series of bronze I-beams melded in a crisscross pattern overtop the coffin” for Marvin Lewis. Re-live these awesome headlines and dates –
April 3rd, 2008 – Bengals cut Henry, say they’ll no longer tolerate his conduct
August 20th, 2008 – Bengals re-sign Henry
Failure Rating: 7.5. The Bengals are dead last in the AFC and have been outscored 358-188 by opponents this season. Although, those numbers really don’t seem so bad if you’re dyslexic and thus cannot read or comprehend them.
Overall: 14. Maybe they can still save face by getting that 7th round pick from the Redskins for Chad Johnson?