Falling just short of the Super Bowl because of your organization’s inability to find that quarterback is not dysfunction. Neither is not being able to get over the hump in the NBA playoffs and being eliminated before the third round. Having to deal your players because you can’t afford them does not qualify either. Those are common and understandable circumstances. You know what is dysfunction? Having your players show up hungover to practice and not know the plays. As is making it more public than PBS that your best player and ownership do not like each other, in large part because of a skipped exit meeting, that another player also failed to attend and is not being punished for. This beautifully ugly phenomena that some of us have seen a little too much, is dysfunction within a franchise. This type of dysfunction makes you appreciate the little things. Fans of these types of teams are thankful when they can get through a month with the same front office they started with.
The New York Knicks are the team previously mentioned dealing with exit meetings. Their fans have filled the social media world saying how they are the most dysfunctional team in sports, and how hard it is being a fan of that team, but they are not alone. Fan bases all across our great nation often feel the same as you have. I am here to set the record straight, though. I have decided to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, whatever), and rank the most dysfunctional franchises in the NBA, NFL and MLB. I focus on the last decade with an emphasis on their current state. Here we go.
10. Bulls – This team would be much higher on the list had we been doing this a few weeks back. The Bulls look like they finally know what they are doing, after dealing Jimmy Butler. This is a team though that has a front office that looked for a puppet head coach. This is also a team that was ignorant enough to give Dwyane Wade how much money he deserved 10 years ago, and sign Rajon Rondo, a terrible teammate and someone who has not been above average in years. All of this to sneak into the playoffs to miss the lottery and lose in the first round. From Fred Hoiberg walking out of press conferences to Rajon Rondo just not playing, this team has been a mess. Trading Butler was the right move, as was the pick of Lauri Markkanen, so they look to be headed on the right path.
9. Kings- It is tough to be as bad as the Kings have been with the most talented center in the NBA. They have been such a complete and utter mess, with George Karl saying things he should not have, and serious turmoil between Boogie Cousins and the front office. Owners should never get involved really, especially when they hype up a player with just one underwhelming season under his belt, saying they have the potential of a two-time MVP (Kings’ Owner Vivek Ranadive said Buddy Hield had Steph-like potential). There is no trust in their front office after the Demarcus Cousins fiasco. This team has been a complete mess for years, but did have a good draft this year, which is the only reason they are not higher on the list.
8. Angels – This team is more frustrating than dysfunctional, but still needs to be on the list. The rumors of Soscia being fired every year are not a good thing to have. A few years back. the tension between him and the GM, Jerry Dipoto, got so bad, that it caused Dipoto to resign in 2015. Their lack of talent around Mike Trout is astounding. Trout is on his way to be one of the greatest of all time. You have to try to be as bad as they have been with a player of his caliber. It is hard to be dysfunctional in baseball, but the Angels have done it well.
7. Nets – After the next few NBA seasons are completed, I do not think any team will have been as consistently abysmal as the Nets. Mikhail Prokhorov took over in 2010 and wanted to win. He, along with the front office, made some of the worst trades since the Louisiana Purchase. They dealt for overpaid, washed up players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and paid a King’s ransom. Boston has had and will continue to have one of the top few picks in the draft because of how awful the Nets are. Not only are the Nets the worst team I have personally ever watched, but THEY CAN’T GET ANY BETTER. They somehow traded for a late first rounder this year. The Nets also made a great trade in eating the salary of Timofey Mozgov to acquire the promising D’Angelo Russell. They seem to have found some form of sanity, but still are years away from even sniffing .500 thanks to years of pure, unfiltered dysfunction.
6. Jets – Success is tough to replicate in the NFL, just ask the Jets. They were perennial contenders with a young quarterback and stellar defense just a few years back, and now can count their franchise players on one hand. It is not just that they aren’t good, it is how they got to be so bad. Their owner, Woody Johnson is now working for the president. Leonard Williams was seen breaking up a fight that seemed to involve fellow defensive standout Darron Lee. Current Jets are attacking former ones as Sheldon Richardson continues to rip Brandon Marshall. They drafted a quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, in the second round a year ago, but he was not even active for almost every game! I could go on and on with the Jets, but they along with a lot of teams on this list seem to have figured out they need to be bad now to be good later.
5. Bills – Usually firing your General Manager a day after a huge draft for your franchise does not just mean that the upper management really hated what the GM did. Something else is going on. Apparently it was unclear who was making the decisions during the draft. There was an overall lack of communication, and new coach Doug McDermott apparently was given more power than other members of the organization thought he was. If it sounds confusing, it is because it is. Dysfunction does that. When they finally had a quarterback performing as well as any QB they have had since Jim Kelly, Tyrod Taylor was almost driven away because of tension in the organization. He was brought back, but the organization is still in disarray.
4. Washington – It is tough to be functional at all when Dan Snyder is your owner, but this offseason took it to another level. Washington has been very good recently, having a young quarterback with what seemed to be a solid front office and coaching staff. It all fell apart this offseason though. Kirk Cousins reportedly wanted out to go to San Francisco. They lost both of their coordinators and their GM. With that lack of leadership, a ton of their players left in free agency. Because of that dysfunction and tension within the organization, Washington’s future is very murky.
3. Mets – So I knew the Mets were bad, but maybe not as dysfunctional as I originally thought. My cousin Zach Lerner is a die-hard Mets fan who has been with them through thick and thin. I shot him a text asking him for some examples of their dysfunction, and he was more than ready. Here is our conversation:
2. Knicks – This is the hot name in sports when it comes to dysfunction. Everyone wants to talk about how miserable the Knickerbockers are. They are in fact pretty damn miserable. Phil Jackson and James Dolan have a combined front office IQ of -10,000. That is statistically proven by the way. Their best player strongly dislikes their organization. Their biggest name player also does. Phil Jackson publicly criticized Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. He often discusses how disappointed he is that Porzingis missed his exit interview, but did not move a finger when Derrick Rose did the same. Drafting a player in the top ten that has not even worked out is also not the best look. Jackson has made one good move since being in New York, that being drafting Porzingis. But now, because of the turmoil, it looks like he may be dealt. Nobody wants to play at the “Mecca” anymore because of the dumpster fire that is currently ensuing.
1. Browns – “It is hard to think of anything that they have done that you can quote as successful” – Michael Plaisance, a friend of mine, after I told him about this article. He is not wrong. Yes, they seem to be making some decisions that show competence but the Browns would have to win back-to-back Super Bowls to not be No. 1 on the list. Folks, things that go on in this organization just don’t happen anywhere else. I mean anywhere. If you do not immediately think of the Browns when dysfunction is brought up in sports, it is because you have come to expect it. Something happens within the organization and fans just don’t think much of it because it just happens with the Browns. If that same thing happened to the Packers, it would be national news for months. Notice how I am not talking about specifics because it hurts too much to bring up some of the names or moments. If you don’t think the Browns should be any number but one on this list, and think your ‘pitiful’ team who has only made the playoffs three out of the last seven years, do some research. Look up the Browns stats. Some stories, such as week four in 2017 where I nearly broke my hand punching a door will quickly show you that the Browns exemplify dysfunction in the truest sense.