The last time a British man won at Wimbledon before Sunday afternoon, Neville Chamberlain hadn’t even appeased anyone yet. Andy Murray played excellent tennis between bouts of whining over the last two weeks to finally bring that streak to an end in a championship win over Novak Djokovic, becoming the first British player in 77 years to hoist the trophy over his head.
It was one of the most notable droughts in sports, but it has plenty of company. Here’s a look at some of the others, which may or may not be at risk of being snapped any time soon.
Cleveland (1964) — The sporting woes of Cleveland are well-documented at this point. The trouble for residents is there is no immediate end in sight.
The Indians are 2.5 games out of first place as well as a wild card spot, but fans remain so cynical about the possibility of this meaning anything that the Tribe ranks 27th in the majors in attendance at 18,975 fans per game. Even Seattle is doing better!
The Cavaliers are building a solid young base around new star Kyrie Irving, but are still a few pieces and years away from returning to contender status following the defection of LeBron James.
The Browns? In a word, woof. Their new owner is still under investigation by the Feds for fraud, and very little has worked out since their return to the NFL in 1999. Things are so bad that their stretch of losing three AFC Championship Games to the Broncos in four years from 1986-89 seems un-depressing. (The best kicker about that stretch? The one AFC title game the Browns didn’t play in was won by in-state rival Cincinnati).
Detroit Lions (1957) — The Lions remain the only franchise other than the Browns that has not reached a Super Bowl despite being around when the first one was played.
While the Cardinals have gone longer without winning a championship, they at least deserve a little credit for playing for one since the advent of civil rights. Plus, they’ve spread their misery over three different cities — Chicago, St. Louis and Phoenix(ish). Lions fans have been through this thing for the long haul.
Detroit’s current core of players is certainly strong enough to go all the way, but it will probably require a coach more capable of running a tight ship than Jim Schwartz to make that leap.
Sacramento Kings (1951) — The most well-traveled franchise in NBA history is also the thirstiest. The Kings have not worn the crown since winning the 1951 title as the Rochester Royals. To give you an idea of how long ago this was, Rochester, N.Y. was in the NBA’s Western Division at the time.
This drought has no immediate end in sight, but right now fans in Sacramento are just pleased to still have a team at all.
Ottawa Senators (1927) – OK, so there is a slight gap between 1935 and 1992 where Ottawa didn’t field an NHL team. But since Ottawa chooses to hang the banners from the 11 Cups won by the original Sens from 1903-1927, they also get full credit for the ensuing drought. (Hey, Maple Leafs fans need something).
The original Senators beat some impressively named competition to win those Cups, including the Rat Portage Thistles, Winnipeg Rowing Club, Toronto Marlboros, Brandon Wheat Cities and Dawson City Nuggets.
The current version made its only Finals appearance in 2007, falling to Anaheim in 5 games.
No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since Montreal in 1993, which has become a drought worth monitoring in and of itself.
Chicago Cubs (1908/1945) — The Cubs are the longest to go without winning a World Series and without playing in a World Series.
That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament (Never) — The NCAA’s have been played every year since 1939, and Northwestern has yet to participate in the event despite fielding a team every one of those years.
Bill Carmody at least built the program up to the point where NIT appearances can be expected in Evanston, and now new coach Chris Collins figures to bring the Wildcats over the hump after learning at the side of Coach K at Duke. Expect this drought to be history in three years, tops.
New Mexico State bowl appearance (1960) — Andy Murray isn’t the only one to snap a long drought this year. Northwestern football, which hadn’t won a bowl game since 1947, brought that streak to an end with a win over Mississippi State in this year’s Gator Bowl.
That leaves college football’s title of “most futile feat” to the Aggies of New Mexico State, who have not reached a bowl game in any form since 1960.
Las Cruces will continue to be the place where dreams go to die this season as the Aggies will play without conference affiliation due to the dissolution of the WAC. New Mexico State moves to the Sun Belt in 2014, where the journey to relevance might not continue in vain.
An amateur major champion (1933) — It’s one of the few streaks to surpass the gap between Fred Perry and Andy Murray. Johnny Goodman, an insurance salesman in the offseason, is the last amateur player to capture a major championship, winning the 1933 U.S. Open.
With players going pro at younger ages in the modern era — with the money now available, who wouldn’t make that choice? — it seems increasingly unlikely that another golfer will be joining Goodman in a truly elite club.