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Who is the Worst Champion?


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Just a random question I was thinking of. Out of the 4 major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) what is the worst team to win the entire league? There has to be one, right?

An NHL team that just got hot at the right time perhaps? An NBA squad with no real star players but a nice group of solid players that played well together? An MLB team that perhaps snuck into the playoffs with the Wild Card and went on to win it all?

Some potential canidates I thought of

2006 St. Louis Cardinals: 83-78 regular season record, pretty unwhelming players at some positions (Ronnie Belliard, Chris Duncan)... but they did have Albert Pujols, so its hard to call them the worst champion.

2000 Baltimore Ravens: Only because of how terrible the offense was. Tony Banks/Trent Dilfer at QB. Something ridiculous like 5 straight games without an offensive TD... But of course, the defense was arguably the best of all time.

2001 New England Patriots: Pre-Tom Brady being a God. Gigantic upset in the Super Bowl. No real super stars on this team (Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy maybe?), just a well coached team that meshed well together.

Interested to hear some of your thoughts.

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If the Ravens' defense was the best of all time (and I can't imagine one being better than the '85 Bears), then they can't be the worst champion of all time. They weren't even the worst champion of their decade.

The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes have to be in the conversation. Just a bunch of second/third-liners in their twilight who got lucky behind a rookie goalie. Missed the playoffs the season before and after. One of the most uninspiring, meaningless, forgettable championships I've ever seen. Utter waste of the league's comeback season.

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Good call, Yeah I figured there were some good NHL options I wasn't thinking of. And Carolina beat Edmonton, an 8 seed, in the Finals that season. Definitely a good canidate.

2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

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2011 NY Giants. Finished regular season at 9-7 and then beat the Falcons, 24-2 in the Wild Card game, beat the Packers 37-20 in the Divisional Round, and 49ers 20-17 in OT in the NFC Championship game in order to get to Super Bowl XLVI against New England. Then they went on to beat the Patriots 21-17 for their fourth Super Bowl championship and second championship in four years.

Actually, that was one hell of a ride last season.

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Has to be last year's Giants. Just look at the stats:

- Worst regular-season winning percentage of any NFL champion (.563), and only the second 9-win champion in NFL history

- Worst defensive passer rating of any NFL champion (86.1)

- Most points allowed (400) and PPG allowed (25) in a season by any NFL champion

- Worst scoring differential of any NFL champion (-6... to put it in perspective, the next worst is the 1957 Lions, who were +20)

- Most passing yards allowed by any NFL champion (4,082)

By any metric, that team had no business being anywhere near the Super Bowl. Absolutely incredible that they pulled it off.

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2001 New England Patriots: Pre-Tom Brady being a God. Gigantic upset in the Super Bowl. No real super stars on this team (Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy maybe?), just a well coached team that meshed well together.

Not to mention Belicheat & Co. got away with videotaping the St. Louis Rams practice.... <_<

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If the Ravens' defense was the best of all time (and I can't imagine one being better than the '85 Bears),

That's because there hasn't been one. The Ravens defense was not better than the '85 Bears defense. That '85 Bears defense was the most dominant...well...anything that I've ever seen in sports.

On topic: My vote has to go to the 1988 Dodgers. Orel Hershiser and a bunch of guys named Mickey Hatcher beat an A's team they had no business beating.

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If the Ravens' defense was the best of all time (and I can't imagine one being better than the '85 Bears),

That's because there hasn't been one. The Ravens defense was not better than the '85 Bears defense. That '85 Bears defense was the most dominant...well...anything that I've ever seen in sports.

The 2000 Ravens are in the conversation. I wasn't alive in 1985 so I won't pretend that I got to see how dominant the Bears were that season. But the 2000 Ravens had 4 shut outs, allowed 165 points (10.5 per game to the '85 Bears 198 points and 12.4 a game). And the Ravens were a kickoff returned TD away from posting the only shut out in Super Bowl history (if's and but's).

EDIT: I now see the '85 Bears had 64 sacks(!) to the Ravens 35 sacks. DAYYUM. Yup, 85 Bears >>>

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2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

Actually, the 2002 Angels were a pretty good team. Along with Anderson, they had Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy had a pretty good 2002 season, hell, David Eckstein drove in 63 runs in '02. The starting pitching staff was pretty good and Troy Percival anchored a very solid bullpen. Anyway, the 2002 Angels may not have been the '98 Yankees, but they're hardly candidates for this thread.

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2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

Actually, the 2002 Angels were a pretty good team. Along with Anderson, they had Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy had a pretty good 2002 season, hell, David Eckstein drove in 63 runs in '02. The starting pitching staff was pretty good and Troy Percival anchored a very solid bullpen. Anyway, the 2002 Angels may not have been the '98 Yankees, but they're hardly candidates for this thread.

Of course those players were solid that season, any team that wins it all is going to have solid players that season. Someone has to be the worst though, and I just think for the 2002 Angels its easy to continue on with your point that they weren't the 98 Yankees. I think you could go on to say they weren't quite a few teams ('01 Diamondbacks, '04 Red Sox, '08 Phillies, etc) to the point where you could consider them a candidate for this thread.

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When I think of past champions I like to think about what made them remarkable, both in their season and when compared to teams of the past.

MLB

I'd say most of the teams that have won as the wildcard belong in the discussion. That is, unless they were only the wildcard because the team ahead of them in the division was the overall top seed. I still feel like if you can't win your division over 162 games then you shouldn't be allowed to win the World Series over 11. Also, even though they won the division, the 2006 Cardinals continue to be the biggest joke of a champion I've ever seen in baseball. That team was awful that year and had baseball's 11th best record. Toronto had more wins.

NFL

Last year's Giants, 2008 Steelers, 2005 Steelers, 2001 Patriots

NHL

2012 Kings, 2006 Hurricanes, 1995 Devils

NBA

I don't know. A deserving team seems to win pretty much every year. I guess the 04 Pistons just because there was no huge star, they just used the novel concept of playing team basketball with defense.

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If the Ravens' defense was the best of all time (and I can't imagine one being better than the '85 Bears),

That's because there hasn't been one. The Ravens defense was not better than the '85 Bears defense. That '85 Bears defense was the most dominant...well...anything that I've ever seen in sports.

The 2000 Ravens are in the conversation. I wasn't alive in 1985 so I won't pretend that I got to see how dominant the Bears were that season. But the 2000 Ravens had 4 shut outs, allowed 165 points (10.5 per game to the '85 Bears 198 points and 12.4 a game). And the Ravens were a kickoff returned TD away from posting the only shut out in Super Bowl history (if's and but's).

EDIT: I now see the '85 Bears had 64 sacks(!) to the Ravens 35 sacks. DAYYUM. Yup, 85 Bears >>>

The 1991 Eagles had 54 sacks, and set all kinds of other marks. They finished 10-6 despite going through 5 QBs (including one who was literally working on a construction site until a few days before the game he was signed for.) They finished 1st against the run, 1st against pass, and 1st overall.

I was very young when the '85 Bears were dominating (though I did watch their SB victory) but I wouldn't argue against them being the best of all time. I think that it's very reasonable to consider that 1991 Eagles defense the 2nd best single season defense ever.

Statistics site Football Outsiders ranks the 1991 Eagles as the greatest defensive team in their ranking's history.[1] Says Football Outsiders, "The 1991 Eagles completely lap the field in terms of defensive DVOA. Only the 2002 Bucs had a better pass defense, and only the 2000 Ravens had a better run defense, and the Eagles were much more balanced than either of those teams.

"It's crazy to imagine how few points the Eagles might have given up if they were playing with a halfway-decent offense instead of losing Randall Cunningham to a torn ACL in the first game of the season. The Eagles were stuck depending on an over-the-hill Jim McMahon for 11 starts, plus Jeff Kemp for two and Brad Goebel for two. McMahon actually wasn't half bad ... but the other two quarterbacks were awful, especially Goebel who had no touchdowns with six interceptions. And the running game was dreadful, with 3.1 yards per carry as a team.

"Still, the Eagles were fifth in the league in points allowed, and first in yards allowed by nearly 400 yards -- and the team that was second in yards allowed is also on that top-ten defenses list, the 1991 New Orleans Saints. The Eagles allowed 3.9 yards per play, where no other team allowed fewer than 4.5. As bad as their running game was, their run defense was even better, allowing 3.0 yards per carry. Three-fourths of the starting defensive line was All-Pro (Reggie White, Jerome Brown, and Clyde Simmons). Linebacker Seth Joyner and cornerback Eric Allen made the Pro Bowl as well."

A Defense That Rewrote the Record Books

Philadelphia's defensive finished the season ranked first in the NFL in fewest passing yards, rushing yards, and total yards allowed. As such, the Eagles became only the fifth club in NFL history and the first since 1975 to accomplish this rare triple. Five members of that defensive unit represented the Eagles in the Pro Bowl – DEs White, ReggieReggie White and Simmons, ClydeClyde Simmons, DT Brown, JeromeJerome Brown, and LB Joyner, SethSeth Joyner were selected as starters while CB Allen, EricEric Allen also made the NFC squad. The selection of White, Simmons, and Brown marked only the sixth time in NFL history that three defensive linemen from one team were elected to the Pro Bowl.

In addition, the Eagles' defense led the NFL in sacks and fumble recoveries and tied for the league lead in takeaways. The Eagles' 48 defensive takeaways in 1991 is tied for the most in the NFL in the 1990s.[2]

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If the Ravens' defense was the best of all time (and I can't imagine one being better than the '85 Bears),

That's because there hasn't been one. The Ravens defense was not better than the '85 Bears defense. That '85 Bears defense was the most dominant...well...anything that I've ever seen in sports.

The 2000 Ravens are in the conversation. I wasn't alive in 1985 so I won't pretend that I got to see how dominant the Bears were that season. But the 2000 Ravens had 4 shut outs, allowed 165 points (10.5 per game to the '85 Bears 198 points and 12.4 a game). And the Ravens were a kickoff returned TD away from posting the only shut out in Super Bowl history (if's and but's).

As always, there's a lot more to it than just the stats sheet. Points allowed don't tell the whole story. But since we're talking stats, let me throw these into the mix... The Bears went 15-1, pitched two shutouts in the playoffs, and if it weren't for one weird night in Miami, the Bears would have gone 19-0. My feeling is that the Bears faced tougher offenses than the Ravens did. Then there's this from the 2000 Ravens Wikipedia page (granted, it's Wikipedia, but they didn't make this up.)

Incidentally, for all its fanfare, the Ravens defensive statistics were very comparable to their division rivals, the Tennessee Titans in 2000. The Titans gave up fewer total yards (3,813 to Baltimore's 3,967), passing yards (2,423 to Baltimore's 2621), fewer yards per play (4.3 to Baltimore's 4.2) and net yards per passing attempt (4.7 to Baltimore's 5.3).

I'm not knocking the Ravens defense but if you're using stats to back up the claim, it's hard to say they were the best ever when another team in their division put up similar numbers.

I have the good fortune of being old enough to have seen both the 2000 Ravens and the 1985 Bears. You'll have to take my word for it; the '85 Bears were better. When watching the Bears, you knew you were watching something pretty special. In fact, if I had to rank them, I'd put the 2000 Ravens defense behind a couple of those 70's Steelers teams. Statistically speaking, the 2000 Ravens defense was great, but they never seemed as dominant as the '85 Bears did.

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2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

Actually, the 2002 Angels were a pretty good team. Along with Anderson, they had Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy had a pretty good 2002 season, hell, David Eckstein drove in 63 runs in '02. The starting pitching staff was pretty good and Troy Percival anchored a very solid bullpen. Anyway, the 2002 Angels may not have been the '98 Yankees, but they're hardly candidates for this thread.

Of course those players were solid that season, any team that wins it all is going to have solid players that season. Someone has to be the worst though, and I just think for the 2002 Angels its easy to continue on with your point that they weren't the 98 Yankees. I think you could go on to say they weren't quite a few teams ('01 Diamondbacks, '04 Red Sox, '08 Phillies, etc) to the point where you could consider them a candidate for this thread.

By all means let's continue with "they aren't the '98 Yankees."

The 2002 Angels went 99-63.

The '01 Diamondbacks? 92-70.

The '04 Red Sox? 98-64.

The '08 Phillies? 92-70.

Using your own logic, you can't, in any way, consider the 2002 Angels a candidate for this thread. So tell me again how we arrived at the 2002 Angels? Because the 2002 Angels aren't as good as the '88 Dodgers or '06 Cardinals? Or are the Angels the worst just because you can't "remember anything too spectacular about them?" :rolleyes:

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2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

Actually, the 2002 Angels were a pretty good team. Along with Anderson, they had Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy had a pretty good 2002 season, hell, David Eckstein drove in 63 runs in '02. The starting pitching staff was pretty good and Troy Percival anchored a very solid bullpen. Anyway, the 2002 Angels may not have been the '98 Yankees, but they're hardly candidates for this thread.

Of course those players were solid that season, any team that wins it all is going to have solid players that season. Someone has to be the worst though, and I just think for the 2002 Angels its easy to continue on with your point that they weren't the 98 Yankees. I think you could go on to say they weren't quite a few teams ('01 Diamondbacks, '04 Red Sox, '08 Phillies, etc) to the point where you could consider them a candidate for this thread.

The 2002 Angels won, I believe, 93** games in a division with two other 90+ win teams, they beat a 100 win Yankees team in the playoffs (grr...) and beat a very good Giants team in the World Series.

I mean, I have no love for that team, but I really don't think they're anywhere near the worst champion of all-time, as far as MLB goes. The 2000 Yankees and 2006 Cardinals, from the 00's alone, are worse champions, and the '72 Mets were very nearly poor champions as well.

As far as MLB goes, I'll further add that, almost, all "bad champions" have to have come since 1969. It was impossible to be a bad champion from 1903-1968, when you had to finish #1 overall in the league to reach the World Series. Further, it's hard to have been a bad champion when you had to win larger divisions to reach the playoffs between 1969-1993. This is why I kinda toss those 2000 and 2006 champion teams into the fold - both won fewer than 90 games, and were especially awful in the final month of the season, and were extremely lucky to hold on to win their divisions. The 2001 or 2002 Yankees would've been more deserving than 2000, and the 2004 or 2005 Cardinals would've been more deserving than 2006.

I haven't thought about the NFL or NHL nearly enough to tender picks on those, but it's easy to think that the reigning champions of both are among the worst, if not the worst, in their leagues' histories given that LA was a #8 seed, and the Giants were outscored last season. But the NHL is loaded with teams that have won championships, or reached the championship round, with records far worse than LA's 40-42 mark, so I'll take them off the hook.

EDIT:

**99 games? Yikes, far better than I remember. And damn near criminal that there was an ALDS matchup between a 99-63 team, and a 103-58 team. That's not something that should ever be contested in a best-of-5 opening round (although, looking at it now, the top-heavy AL of 2002 made that impossible. Both the A's and Yankees won 103 games - one of them had to face the Angels.).

SECOND EDIT:

Anaheim beat a 103 win Yankees team, 94 win Twins team, and 95 win Giants to win the World Series. They went 11-5 in the process. That's remarkable. What irritates me about that team is how the only thing you hear is "SCOSCIABALL!" and all that dumb rhetoric. That team had legit mashers in the lineup - not the nine David Eckstein's the media would lead you to believe.

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2002 Anahiem Angels maybe? Just going based on memory I can't remember anything too spectacular about that team. Garrett Anderson was their best player I think? Pretty sure they flopped the next season.

Actually, the 2002 Angels were a pretty good team. Along with Anderson, they had Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. Adam Kennedy had a pretty good 2002 season, hell, David Eckstein drove in 63 runs in '02. The starting pitching staff was pretty good and Troy Percival anchored a very solid bullpen. Anyway, the 2002 Angels may not have been the '98 Yankees, but they're hardly candidates for this thread.

Of course those players were solid that season, any team that wins it all is going to have solid players that season. Someone has to be the worst though, and I just think for the 2002 Angels its easy to continue on with your point that they weren't the 98 Yankees. I think you could go on to say they weren't quite a few teams ('01 Diamondbacks, '04 Red Sox, '08 Phillies, etc) to the point where you could consider them a candidate for this thread.

By all means let's continue with "they aren't the '98 Yankees."

The 2002 Angels went 99-63.

The '01 Diamondbacks? 92-70.

The '04 Red Sox? 98-64.

The '08 Phillies? 92-70.

Using your own logic, you can't, in any way, consider the 2002 Angels a candidate for this thread. So tell me again how we arrived at the 2002 Angels? Because the 2002 Angels aren't as good as the '88 Dodgers or '06 Cardinals? Or are the Angels the worst just because you can't "remember anything too spectacular about them?" :rolleyes:

Easy man, I was just throwing them out there as a suggestion. I already mentioned the 06 Cardinals before I brought up the 02 Angels. And yes, the reason I mentioned the 02 Angels was because I couldn't remember anything spectacular about them. That's why I said it. I also couldn't possibly throw in more question marks and maybes into my original post suggesting the Angels, so I by no means was trying to hide the fact that I wasn't too well up on my 2002 Angels info.

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Most lockout shortened seasons have produced less-than-spectacular champions. The '95 Devils and '99 Spurs come to mind. But I think that the '93 Montreal Canadiens are one of the worst teams to win. Patrick Roy carried the team on their back and 10 out of their 16 playoff wins came in OT. The team looks even worse when you compare them to every other Habs Stanley Cup team.

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