The Top 10 Teams Nobody Would Miss if They Went Away

October 19, 2010

Sometimes it's important to remember that the reason nobody showed up to your birthday party isn't because they don't like you, it's because they don't care. The same adage can be said for these 10 professional sports franchises who routinely throw parties with relatively low fanfare.

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10. Atlanta Thrashers

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When Gary Bettman began his 20-year quest to destroy the NHL, one of the key components of his plan was to expand the league into places that could not support a franchise or consistently sustain ice.

With the second lowest attendance in the NHL and a fan base that routinely car pools to Fredrik Modin Appreciation Day events in a Toyota Camry, Bettman’s devious plot seems to be working perfectly in the Sun Belt. Once the Panthers, Predators, and Lightning (numbers 25, 22 and 26 in NHL attendance) follow suit, the diminutive commissioner can get back to his day job as a featured extra on Little People, Big World.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

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The moving trucks have been circling the Jaguar’s parking lot like vultures for seven months. This team already has their left foot in Los Angeles and right one kicking themselves for signing David Garrard to a long term deal. Their departure is basically a done deal at this point. The only question left is who gets to keep their “AFC Championship Participation” banner from 14 years ago.

(Note: The Buffalo Bills could have easily taken this spot, but what else do people in upstate New York have? At least Jacksonville residents have warm weather and three attractive women.)


8. Florida Marlins

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We’re still waiting for the MLB office to confirm that this team hasn’t already disappeared, so until we get the call, they remain on the endangered – not extinct – list.

7. Toronto Raptors

Photo: Doug Benc/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Quick… name one player on the Toronto Raptors.

In all fairness, the Raptors actually have a relatively large fan base – myself included - that supports the team through bad times and slightly worse ones. It just so happens that the NBA Players Association hasn’t jumped on board.

Since forming their franchise in 1995, Toronto has done a tremendous job bringing in talented players like Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and Chris Bosh. They’ve also done a spectacular job thanking them for their brief services after their abrupt departures. Nearly every player we (yes, the collective “we”) bring in eventually takes off and leaves a shattered mess of Serbian power forwards (and no playoff hope) behind. The fans may miss this team if it went away, but very few players would even notice.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

This team already moved cities once and nobody really noticed. What are the chances things would change if it happened again?

Since switching countries in 2001, the Grizzlies have become one of the least successful franchises in the NBA in both attendance and winning percentage. Their only real contribution to the league was trading Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 for a bag of used sneakers and Ron Artest’s second cousin.


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5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Photo: Jared Wickerson/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Hypothetically speaking, if the Pirates management held a small press conference (that didn’t interfere with a Steelers game) and announced that the team had decided to call it quits, would anybody take it too hard?

I imagine it would be like when your girlfriend’s older brother goes away to college. Sure, you liked the guy and occasionally asked him to hang out when your other friends were busy. But you’re not going to shed a tear, because Ben Roethlisberger and Sidney Crosby are still in the neighborhood and way more fun at parties. (Well, Big Ben anyways.)

4. San Jose Eathquakes (Major League Soccer)

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Be honest. You just sat there for three seconds before asking yourself “wait, is this a real team, or is it just something Breitman made up for the article?”

I could have put virtually any MLS team here and wouldn’t have made a difference. Nobody would miss this league if it went away, let alone the teams that play in it.

3. Charlotte Bobcats

Photo: Mark Zarrilli/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Michael Jordan's poorly conceived ownership is the only reason this team is allowed to put their website on The Bobcats are the fourth most popular basketball team in their own state and have the majority of their home games broadcasted exclusively on AM radio.

They also rank dead last in “road attendance,” meaning that whenever they travel to a new city, fans would rather see (literally) any other team play.


2. Los Angeles Clippers

Photo: JExara Shaw/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

If the California government decided to get out of debt by nationalizing (or whatever the state version is) Los Angeles basketball, would anybody object if they turned the Clippers into the Los Angeles Lakers Part II?”

Think about it for a second.

The Clippers currently rank 20th in league attendance and are near the bottom of nationally televised game appearances. However, if Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, and Eric Gordon played for the “Lakers Part II,” they’d instantly become one of the most popular teams in the NBA.


1. Phoenix Coyotes

Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

The Phoenix Coyotes have become a lot like that freshman cheerleader who used to have a pretty good life until her ex-boyfriend posted naked photos of her on Facebook. Sure, she might seem like an appealing person who made one bad decision, but at the end of the day, nobody wants to associate themselves with the “naked chick who had sex with the shop teacher,” and she’ll eventually have to transfer schools because of it.

Now, if you replace “naked photos” with “building an arena in the middle of nowhere” and “transfer schools” with “relocate back to Winnipeg,” you’ve essentially got the Phoenix Coyotes' current situation. By all accounts, they’re a talented franchise with a lot of positive things going for it. If only they hadn’t made that one critical mistake, they would have been in the running for prom queen.



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