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Seattle is hungry for a Championship

How does Seattle compare to other cities in Championship frustration? It's been a long time coming.

Harry How

Seattle sports fans are hungry for a championship. It's been 34 years since They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named won the NBA title, and neither the Seahawks nor the Mariners (established in 1976 & 1977) have ever claimed their respective Championship Trophy. So how do we compare to other cities?

We'll get to that. But first, let's talk about San Francisco.

The 49ers first played in 1946 in a league that included just 10 teams. How hard is it to win a Championship with ten teams in your league? Well, an average team will win one every 10 years. Trust my math.

Extrapolating that for future seasons, the 49ers-- if average-- should have won 1/12th of a Championship each year from 1951-1959, 1/13th of a Championship in 1960, 1/14th for each season from 1961-1965, etc. They played for 35 season before winning the Lombardi Trophy, compiling a Championship Failure Index (the number of times an average team should have won) of 2.229.

By comparison, the Seattle Seahawks were established in 1976 and have never been in a league with fewer than 28 teams. Seattle's Championship Failure Index (the average number of times an average team should win, given the league size) over that span is just 1.252. If the league stays fixed at 32 teams, then an average team should win 1/32nd of a Championship (.03125) each year-- which means the Seahawks would need another 32 season of failing to win the Super Bowl to match the 49ers pre-Championship franchise futility.

Suck on that, San Francisco.

Non-Championship Years

Since 1979 when You-Know-Who won the NBA title, Seattle has played 34 seasons of NFL football, 34 seasons of Major League Baseball, and 29 seasons of NBA Basketball, for a total 97 "Sports Futility Years."

The Cleveland Browns last won an NFL title (before the Super Bowl era) in 1964, giving them 49 years of football futility, 49 years of baseball, and 43 of basketball (the Cavs were founded in 1971)-- a total of 141 Sports Futility Years.

Given that we're primarily addressing football fans, I measured the Frustration Index as the geometric mean of years of without an NFL title (regardless of how many years since the last non-football title) and the aggregate "Sports Futility Years" (seasons since the last title in any sport times the number of Pro franchises). Detroit, for example, has a painful 56 years since their last football Championship, but the 2004 NBA title gives them a smaller count of general futility years.

Hockey wasn't included, not because I have anything against Canada, but because they let too many teams into their playoffs (let that be a warning, Goodell!). Also because I was lazy.

City Yrs Not NFL Champs Sports Futility Yrs Frustration Index
Cleveland 49 141 83.1
San Diego 50 95 68.9
Seattle 38 97 60.7
Minneapolis 53 66 59.1
Atlanta 48 54 50.9
Kansas City 44 56 49.6
Buffalo 48 48 48.0
Philadelphia 53 40 46.0
Cincinatti 46 46 46.0
Detroit 56 27 38.9
Houston 27 54 38.2
Oakland 30 48 37.9
Washington 22 53 34.1
Phoenix 26 36 30.6
Denver 15 45 26.0
Chicago 28 24 25.9
Nashville + Memphis 17 35 24.4
Charlotte 19 28 23.1
Jacksonville 19 19 19.0
Tampa Bay 11 22 15.6

So, next time someone asks you why the 12th man is so loud, you can point to this.

And when they ask you again next season, tell them it's because we love our (Defending Champ (I hope)) Seahawks.