Whose Drought Will End First?

Chicago has its share of perennial sports losers

Being a fan of Chicago sports can sometimes be as character building as walking outside for long distances in January.

With Northwestern's tournament bubble officially bursting last weekend, baseball getting ready to kick off, and the NHL playoffs commencing the week after, it's a fine time to revisit the long-suffering dry spells that are Chicago's very own.

Before reading on, please do remember this George Michael lyric from his Wham! days: "There's no comfort in the truth, pain is all you'll find."

Northwestern Basketball: When NU begins the National Invitational Tournament (NIT critics pejoratively refer to it as the Not Important Tournament) at Tulsa this week, it will be their first postseason appearance since 1999. However, the school that hosted the first ever Final Four in 1939 has ironically never qualified for any NCAA Tournament. EVER. Of all the original Division 1 programs never to have been invited to the Big Dance, Northwestern is the only one from a big 6 conference. (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big Twelve, Pac Ten, SEC).

Northwestern Football: With spring practice kicking off in a couple of weeks, another reminder of a dreadful drought will come up. The Wildcat football program has zero bowl wins since 1949.

Cubs: I don't need to bring up 1908 again. The mainstream national media has beaten this fact into the ground so much, you would think the story was once married to Ike Turner. It's the most shopworn of all clichés, but I have a feeling we should get used to saying "wait till next year."

Blackhawks: The Hawks' last won the Cup in 1961. This is the longest current drought in the NHL. It's also the second-longest Stanley Cup drought in NHL history, behind the New York Rangers, another "Original Six" franchise, which ended in 1994 after 54 years. Currently, the Hawks are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, which gives them home ice advantage in the first round series over the fifth seeded team. Barring a major upset, their path to the Stanley Cup Finals would include a match-up with the top-seeded team (likely their arch-rival the Detroit Red Wings) in the second round.

Read more of Paul Bank's work on The Sports Bank, the NBC Chicago Street Team Blog and Washingtontimes.com.

Contact Us