Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why Washington DC has the Most Maligned Fan Base in the USA

Playoff disappointments had become a norm for the Washington Capitals entering the 2013 season. This year, however, we almost experienced something different: NO playoffs. This would have stunned this DC fan base which has become used to their team at least making the playoffs, before being disappointed.

Well, it's good if playoff disappointments are the worst occurrences in this area sports-wise, right? Um, No.

Let me broaden out from just the Caps. Since the first Super Bowl, the Washington Redskins have played 47 seasons (I'm not counting the pre-Super Bowl era). The Washington Wizards moved to Washington from Baltimore in 1973; they have 40 seasons. The Caps inaugural year was 1974. They have played 38 seasons (obviously, 2004-2005 does not count). And the Washington Nationals have been here since 2005; 8 full years. The four major sports teams in this area have played a combined 133 seasons. How many championships does DC have?


Washington DC has just four championships since 1966, when the Super Bowl era began. Three of them are by the Redskins (all of them coming within a 10-year span). The other one is by the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) in 1978. All four championships came within 15 years of each other. None have come in the last 21 years, now.

Four out of 133 is not good. This is barely over a 3% win percentage; in other words, a DC sports team wins a championship once about every 33 seasons, or 8-9 years taking all four teams into account. Of course, this is misleading, because all of these came within a 15 year span or 45 years taking all teams into account (the Nationals were not born yet). This translates to winning once every 11 seasons, or three years now with four teams in this area. The difference between 8-9 years and three years is huge.

Still, however, we should be winning every 10 years at least, right? Yet, DC has not had a winner in over 20 years. An area that used to see a winner every three years or so has been dropped down to cheering for the Baltimore Ravens to win their second Super Bowl in 12 years.

What does this mean, though? DC at least has a winning history. What about places like Kansas City who only have two major championships?

KC has two major sports teams: the Chiefs (football) and Royals (baseball). The Chiefs have 47 seasons and one championship. The Royals have been around for 43 years and also have one championship. They have two championships in 90 seasons. Based on the calculations above, KC should get a championship every 22 years; it has been 28. Meanwhile, DC should get a championship every 8 years; it has been 21. Six years off versus 13 years off? That is a huge difference.

However, why compare ourselves to cities with fewer championships? If DC is a sports city, let's compare ourselves to a big sports city: NYC.

NYC has seven major sports teams. Combined, they have 447 seasons. Also combined, they have 44 championships. This goes to nearly a championship every year and a half. Their last championship, oddly enough, came about a year and a half ago thanks to the New York Giants.

New York City and Washington DC are two different cities. When there are more sports teams, it will be easier to win more championships. And yes, 27 of the 44 championships came thanks to the New York Yankees. But still, DC has four sports teams. Other cities like that? Boston, which like New York has a big frequency of championships. Miami (if you count the Florida Panthers), who have been successful thanks to the Heat and Dolphins. Cities with 5? Los Angeles, which has had great success as well. Chicago, who despite having the Cubs, win frequently. And, for obvious reasons, I'm not even mentioning Pittsburgh and their three teams.

Washington DC will not become a sports city with the next championship win, but it will be a big start. Until then, however, we DC fans will have to cheer for DC United and their four championships (although they're terrible now) or the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis, who despite being founded in 2008, have three championship wins.

But please, Caps, Nats, Skins, or Wizards, win one for us, OK?

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