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Old 04-27-2019, 02:59 AM
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Fan support most disproportionate to team futility


NFL - Cleveland Browns. The NFL abandoned Cleveland in 1997, then the fans came back hungrier than ever for the replacement team in 1999, and despite a recent 0-16 season they love them more than ever!

Baseball- Now with the Red Sox and Cubs off the list, can we go back to Cleveland? I don't have attendance stats but is there a city in baseball more hungry for a World Series title than Indians fans?

NHL- This one is easy. Toronto Maple Leafs fans. The last team to win a Stanley Cup in the Original Six era, they haven't even made a Cup final since then. Yet every year their fans pack the streets for viewing parties during the playoffs only to have their dreams crushed year after year. As a matter of fact, they go to #1 on my list with a bullet!

NBA- Tough one because of how many times teams go back and forth to new arenas. Initial thought are Utah Jazz fans. Only game in town, made a couple NBA Finals rounds, just not an attractive superstar magnet. But the fans seem to show up year after year.

What about other sports? Futile college teams that have rabid followings? World soccer? Disagree with any of my examples? Winnepeg Blue Bomber fans I want to hear from you! Call now at 1-800........


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Old 04-27-2019, 03:36 AM
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The Leafs are basically the patron saints of this concept. The fans are loyal, vocal, and sometimes kind of scary (I'm sure our own LeafsFan is only the first two).
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:19 AM
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According to this, Utah is the least followed team on social media. Their attendance numbers are middle of the pack.

I would go with the Toronto Raptors or New York Knicks. The Raptors are Canada's team through thick and thin. The Knicks have generally been inept since 2000 and still draw more interest than most, one could probably say from being in a huge market with some celebrity support moreso than loyalty.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:52 PM
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Perhaps Liverpool for football? An epic collapse in the Champions League final last year with their goaltender completely having a mental breakdown and isn’t even with the team this year. They do have an excellent chance of winning the Premier League this year, however.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:39 PM
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If I'm looking at the stats right, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made the playoffs only six times since 1979, and have lost in the first round each time. For the last 22 years or so, there's been a loyal cadre of 20,000-30,000 fans per game no matter what. There may not be many, but they surely are loyal.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 04-27-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:55 PM
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I was in college (in another state) in 1998. At the time, the Indians were rather good, so you saw a lot of Indians gear around. But you could always recognize the real Clevelanders, because they were wearing Browns gear. While the team didn't even exist. It's tough to get greater team futility than not even existing at all.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
Baseball- Now with the Red Sox and Cubs off the list, can we go back to Cleveland? I don't have attendance stats but is there a city in baseball more hungry for a World Series title than Indians fans?
They've won their division the last four years and have lackluster attendance. I'd say that disqualifies them.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:22 PM
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In international football, I would have said England - their level of fan intensity is quite high despite having gone 52 years without appearing in a World Cup final (which will be 56 years by the next one.) They have never won the Euro title either. But England isn't exactly a bad team either.

In NFL, I agree, it's the Browns - and possibly the Lions a close second.
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:50 PM
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The Leafs are basically the patron saints of this concept. The fans are loyal, vocal, and sometimes kind of scary (I'm sure our own LeafsFan is only the first two).
Until the past decade, the Blackhawks were in a similar boat (though I suspect that Maple Leafs fans have had to put up with more, and there are likely more of them).

The Blackhawks spent decades mired in mediocrity: from 1973 to 2009, they'd gone to only one Stanley Cup final, and lost. The then-owner, Bill Wirtz, was famously frugal, and refused to allow home games to be shown on TV (for fear of hurting his ticket sales), and so, the team got little exposure in Chicago, even when they were pretty good. Even so, they managed to maintain a loyal (if somewhat small) fan base in that era.

Then, Wirtz died, his son Rocky took over the team, he hired a good front office and coach, and they won 3 Stanley Cups.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:29 AM
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NFL - Cleveland Browns. The NFL abandoned Cleveland in 1997, then the fans came back hungrier than ever for the replacement team in 1999, and despite a recent 0-16 season they love them more than ever!

Baseball- Now with the Red Sox and Cubs off the list, can we go back to Cleveland? I don't have attendance stats but is there a city in baseball more hungry for a World Series title than Indians fans?
The Indians don't have very good attendance, for some reason. The team has been really good lately but the attendance has been worryingly bad, not responding to a winning team the way it usually does.

I am not sure why this is, so I am not sure it's reflective of the fanbase enthusiasm or if it's an economic issue.

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NHL- This one is easy. Toronto Maple Leafs fans. The last team to win a Stanley Cup in the Original Six era, they haven't even made a Cup final since then. Yet every year their fans pack the streets for viewing parties during the playoffs only to have their dreams crushed year after year. As a matter of fact, they go to #1 on my list with a bullet!
In my honest opinion this is absolutely the #1 answer in any North American professional sport and it's not a close call. The combination of hapless futility, blown opportunities, and absolute, unwavering obsession is unmatched anywhere else. Not even Browns fans can touch it. Of course, part of this is the fact that hockey is singularly important to Canadians in a way no sport is to Americans.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:51 AM
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Huh. I don't follow hockey, but I'd always just sort of assumed that the Leafs were pretty good, given how much fandom one encounters for them. I guess that just illustrates the point.
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:40 PM
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Liverpool FC is the most disproportionate to reality I've encountered, albeit not quite futility, as they do well in the cups. But in terms of sports fandom as religious cult they are a special group. Gifted, even.

The Welsh rugby union team is a related cultish phenomenon but I guess it's different when you're talking nationalism.

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In my honest opinion this is absolutely the #1 answer in any North American professional sport and it's not a close call. The combination of hapless futility, blown opportunities, and absolute, unwavering obsession is unmatched anywhere else. Not even Browns fans can touch it. Of course, part of this is the fact that hockey is singularly important to Canadians in a way no sport is to Americans.
To an outsider, ice hockey seems to be a sport where a superstar would have disproportionate influence, given five outfield players and the speed and skill level of the game. This would make the Leafs' ineptitude truly staggering, given they haven't cracked it in decades [I know there's four lines, so the gameday rosters are actually bigger than most sports]. Is it the salary cap that makes this so challenging, that it's just not possible to load up on the best of the best at more than 1 or 2 positions?

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Old 04-28-2019, 07:07 PM
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Liverpool won the CL in 2005. Made the CL final last year and have an ok shot at a double this year. Their support is more than say, the Browns, but I think their taste of success in living memory puts a ding in their claim.

Might Tottenham be a better soccer pick?
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:26 PM
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Seattle baseball fans are long-suffering, if not always terribly numerous. It's been 50 years since the Pilots' single season, and 40+ years of the Mariners without even making it to the World Series.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:49 PM
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Huh. I don't follow hockey, but I'd always just sort of assumed that the Leafs were pretty good, given how much fandom one encounters for them. I guess that just illustrates the point.
They are good now, and getting better, but these things eb and flow. Typically there's a window of opportunity to draft well and sign big contracts, and then the team languishes as they rebuild, and the cycle repeats.

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...
To an outsider, ice hockey seems to be a sport where a superstar would have disproportionate influence, given five outfield players and the speed and skill level of the game. This would make the Leafs' ineptitude truly staggering, given they haven't cracked it in decades [I know there's four lines, so the gameday rosters are actually bigger than most sports]. Is it the salary cap that makes this so challenging, that it's just not possible to load up on the best of the best at more than 1 or 2 positions?
Typically teams have 4 or 5 players who take half the salary cap, and the other half is apportioned to the other 17ish players. There are some 6 million people in the Greater Toronto Area. Why would they not sell out every night? Hockey is like a religion here.

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Old 04-28-2019, 10:52 PM
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The Leafs are probably the best answer, but deserving a mention are the St. Louis Blues, who went to the Stanley Cup finals the first three years of their existence (benefiting from being lumped in a conference with all the other expansion teams), got skunked all three times, and haven't been back since. They don't enjoy the widespread following of some of the premier teams, but locally they have a rabid fan base, and since 1999 they've averaged over 17,000 fans per game all but two seasons. They've put some exciting teams on the ice, but they haven't rewarded their fans with much playoff success.
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:59 PM
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All bow and give homage to the futility of being a Minnesota Vikings fan.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:41 AM
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Until 2015, I would have said the Golden State Warriors. When they won the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs against the Mavs, you would have listened to the deafening roar in the Oracle Arena and thought they had just won the NBA Finals. In fact it was, at that time, a rare playoff appearance and an even rarer playoff win.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:47 AM
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In my honest opinion this is absolutely the #1 answer in any North American professional sport and it's not a close call. The combination of hapless futility, blown opportunities, and absolute, unwavering obsession is unmatched anywhere else. Not even Browns fans can touch it. Of course, part of this is the fact that hockey is singularly important to Canadians in a way no sport is to Americans.
I agree, pretty hard to find any team that compares with the fervor of Leaf fans who flock to games and buy merchandise no matter what their record or roster.


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They are good now, and getting better, but these things eb and flow. Typically there's a window of opportunity to draft well and sign big contracts, and then the team languishes as they rebuild, and the cycle repeats.
.
The problem with the Leafs has almost always been poor management.

IMHO, their problem has always been not sticking to rebuilding through their own system. Whenever they get a sniff of a strong playoff run they would trade away their top prospects and draft picks for UFAs, journeymen, etc.. Of course, they can afford it, but it has been to their detriment.


TIP - If you ever get cornered by rabid Leaf fans, just throw out a Ballard reference and duck out while they're distracted arguing with themselves.

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Old 04-29-2019, 08:02 AM
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In 2016 when the Cubs won, here was the list of futility. Since then, both the Astros and Eagles have ended their droughts.


Franchise League Last Championship
Arizona Cardinals NFL 1947 (69 Years)
Cleveland Indians MLB 1948 (68 Years)
Sacramento Kings NBA 1951 (65 Years)
Detroit Lions NFL 1957 (59 Years)
Atlanta Hawks NBA 1958 (58 Years)
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 1960 (56 Years)
Texas Rangers MLB Never (55 Years)
Tennessee Titans NFL 1961 (55 Years)
Houston Astros MLB Never (54 Years)
San Diego Chargers NFL 1963 (53 Years)
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1967 (49 years)

Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/ml...ubs-snap-skid/


So while the Leafs have waited a long time, the Cardinals, Indians, Kings, Lions, Hawks, Rangers, Titans, and Chargers have waited longer. And some of those teams have pretty rabid fans.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:21 AM
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All bow and give homage to the futility of being a Minnesota Vikings fan.
1969 — yes, a long time. And yet in the 1970s they went to four Super Bowls, only to lose to the Chiefs, Dolphins, Steelers, and Raiders. The Purple People Eaters were strong but just couldn’t get over the hump.

That Super Bowl IV loss to the Chiefs leads to a piece of trivia: Joe Kapp is still the only QB ever to start a Rose Bowl, Grey Cup, and Super Bowl.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:40 AM
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Are we talking about pro teams alone?

There are a LOT of absurdly devoted college fan bases, despite their teams never really accomplishing much. Look at Texas Tech's football fans; they haven't won a conference championship in 25 years (last SW conference championship was 1994, no Big 12 wins), and even their last conference championship was a booby prize, because the best team in the conference was ineligble, and thus the championship was shared with like 5 other teams or something f-ed up like that.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:56 AM
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In 2016 when the Cubs won, here was the list of futility. Since then, both the Astros and Eagles have ended their droughts.


Franchise League Last Championship
Arizona Cardinals NFL 1947 (69 Years)
Cleveland Indians MLB 1948 (68 Years)
Sacramento Kings NBA 1951 (65 Years)
Detroit Lions NFL 1957 (59 Years)
Atlanta Hawks NBA 1958 (58 Years)
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 1960 (56 Years)
Texas Rangers MLB Never (55 Years)
Tennessee Titans NFL 1961 (55 Years)
Houston Astros MLB Never (54 Years)
San Diego Chargers NFL 1963 (53 Years)
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 1967 (49 years)

Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/ml...ubs-snap-skid/


So while the Leafs have waited a long time, the Cardinals, Indians, Kings, Lions, Hawks, Rangers, Titans, and Chargers have waited longer. And some of those teams have pretty rabid fans.
Shouldn't the Buffalo Bills belong on this list? Won the AFC Championship in 1965. A few Super Bills appearance in the 1990's but no Championships.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:03 AM
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To an outsider, ice hockey seems to be a sport where a superstar would have disproportionate influence, given five outfield players and the speed and skill level of the game.
Not really, no. (Non-goalies are usually collectively called "skaters.") In hockey, the ability of a skater to influence the game is limited by the fact that

1. It is impossible for a skater to play more than 22-24 minutes out of 60, because their legs would fall off. Defencemen can play a little more, but not much.

2. No matter how awesome you are, professional hockey requires a team. Wayne Gretzky Himself with crap teammates would simply be a high scorer on a bad team, and even his effectiveness would be several curtailed. The great majority of goals are scored in offensive systems, not purely individual effort.

3. No matter how good you are, goaltenders can stop anyone.

Wayne Gretzky was ludicrously great, like just absurdly, inhumanly awesome, but in 21 years his teams won the Stanley Cup four times... and didn't win it 17 times.

Hockey players can absolutely dominate the sport more than baseball or American football players, but not as much as basketball players.

Quote:
This would make the Leafs' ineptitude truly staggering, given they haven't cracked it in decades [I know there's four lines, so the gameday rosters are actually bigger than most sports]. Is it the salary cap that makes this so challenging, that it's just not possible to load up on the best of the best at more than 1 or 2 positions?
The salary cap is a recent invention and the Leafs had been long frustrated before that.
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:07 AM
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Iowa State
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:54 AM
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I don't think the Cleveland Indians really compare to the Browns. Sure, it's been a long time since the Tribe has won the World Serious, but they've been there plenty of times, and they're usually better than average. The Browns, though, have never even been to the Superb Owl, and are often one of the worst teams in the league. And even despite that, Browns fandom seems to be more fanatical than Indians.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:20 PM
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In English Football (soccer), Millwall Football Club surely has the highest fanaticism/success ratio. They're a mid-level second tier team that generally make the news more for their fanatical supporters than for the team's performance on the field.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwa...nd_hooliganism
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Old 04-29-2019, 01:28 PM
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As said above, American college football is where you will find your answer.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:03 PM
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They've won their division the last four years and have lackluster attendance. I'd say that disqualifies them.

I agree. I’m a die-hard Indians fan myself but I would consider most of the fan base here “fair weather” if that. Not “I’ll pay attention if they’re over .500” but more like “I’ll pay attention if they get to the ALCS”.

We had a good run in the 90s, selling out 455 consecutive games once our new stadium opened. People loved the Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel. But in the last 20 years Cleveland has sadly lost its passion and patience for baseball.

Oh well tho. Makes for lots of cheap ticket options for me!
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:38 PM
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I can not believe St Louis Blues haven't come up in this thread.

Entered the NHL w/ the 1967 expansion; doubling the league to 12 teams.

The Blues made it to the final dance (Lord Stanley's Cup) the first THREE years of their existence but never won a game in the finals.

51 years....I am still waiting.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:47 PM
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I can not believe St Louis Blues haven't come up in this thread.
In fact, they already have. Check Defensive Indifference's post #16.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:15 PM
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In fact, they already have. Check Defensive Indifference's post #16.
And I even brought stats to my post. Harrumph!
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:41 PM
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Shouldn't the Buffalo Bills belong on this list? Won the AFC Championship in 1965. A few Super Bills appearance in the 1990's but no Championships.
Good point.

And those Super Bowls were 4 straight. Quite an accomplishment, going to 4 straight, even though they never won it. They were a fun team to watch with Kelly at QB.

Heck, I remember watching OJ run for them in the 70s, and he was fun to watch too. Joe Ferguson at QB, but they didn't have much of a winning team then.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:11 PM
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The Leafs are probably the best answer, but deserving a mention are the St. Louis Blues, who went to the Stanley Cup finals the first three years of their existence (benefiting from being lumped in a conference with all the other expansion teams), got skunked all three times, and haven't been back since. They don't enjoy the widespread following of some of the premier teams, but locally they have a rabid fan base, and since 1999 they've averaged over 17,000 fans per game all but two seasons. They've put some exciting teams on the ice, but they haven't rewarded their fans with much playoff success.
aw jeeze...I have moments of being an idiot.
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:13 AM
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I can not believe St Louis Blues haven't come up in this thread.

Entered the NHL w/ the 1967 expansion; doubling the league to 12 teams.

The Blues made it to the final dance (Lord Stanley's Cup) the first THREE years of their existence but never won a game in the finals.

51 years....I am still waiting.
Of course, in the earkly wave of the NHL expansion you also have the Sabres and Canucks, who came along just three years later and have been equally hapless.

I mean no disrespect to Blues fans, who are fine and upstanding people in a great sports city, but the slavish devotion of Leafs and Canucks fans surely surpasses them; this is Canada, after all, and those team have nary a Cup since then to show for it.
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