A curse or simply not good enough? Whatever your point of view, there’s no denying Mayo’s place in the pantheon of greatest bridesmaids. John Fogarty selects a disappointing dozen of the worst performing final teams in the history of sport...
At least Mayo’s streak doesn’t extend as much as the Melbourne AFL club, who lost eight Grand Finals and drew one in a 32-year drought between 1958 and 1990. The Pies’ list of failures saw them famously christened the “Colliwobbles”.
8 The Minneapolis/LA Lakers.
The Lakers lost eight finals series (Minnesota in 1959, LA from 1962 to ’70) before they ended their barren spell in ’73.
The less-than-magnificent seven from the 1989 final to the ’96 replay brawl to Kerry routs in ’04 and ’06 to improved displays against Donegal and Dublin in ’12 and ’13, no other team other than the Chicago Cubs has as many “live” consecutive next best finishes.
The Rebels claimed the 1890 All-Ireland senior football final before going on a run of seven decider defeats between 1891 and 1908. They brought an end to that pitiful pattern in January 1912 when they won the 1911 title, beating Antrim.
7 Chicago Cubs.
Much affinity with Mayo here, although their losing run goes back further to 1908 when they last won a World Series. Nicknamed “The Lovable Losers”, a few divisional titles have come their way since but they have lost on the ultimate stage on seven straight occasions.
Since that famous win in 1973, they’ve been down to the last two for the Liam MacCarthy Cup on five occasions — ’74, ’80, ’94, ’96 and 2007 — only to be humbled on each trip.
Between 1951 and ’70, they were beaten in the first five New South Wales Rugby Football League Grand finals they were involved in. They arrested that slide with a triumph in 1972.
4 Buffalo Bills.
Documented in ESPN’s Four Falls of Buffalo, the NFL franchise’s four consecutive Super Bowl defeats between 1991 and ’94 remain a remarkable stretch of falling just short. It began with Scott Norwood’s field goal miss, which handed the New York Giants victory in ’91, followed by Thurman Thomas’s misplaced helmet in ’92. Then there was Don Beebe’s strip of Leon Lett’s attempted fumble return in ’93 and the Dallas Cowboys’ 24 unanswered second-half points in the ’94 game.
4 Leicester City.
Between 1949 and ’69, Leicester lost four finals losing to Wolves, Tottenham, Man United and Man City. They have not reached a final since.
4 Minnesota Vikings.
The Bills were the first NFL team to lose four Superbowls in as many years but the Vikings had reached that unenviable number by 1977 when they lost to Oakland, their fourth reverse in seven years.
Regarded as one of the great teams in soccer but the late Johan Cruyff could not lead them to World Cup glory in the 1974 and ’78 finals before Spain outclassed them in the 2010 decider.
3 St Louis Blues.
From 1980 to 2004, the appropriately-named Blues reached the NHL play-offs in 25 straight seasons, reaching three finals, but never claiming the Stanley Cup.
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