While one team will win Super Bowl XLIX, 31 cities will have experienced some level of misery throughout the season.
Whether the pain comes from a poor quarterback performance at the wrong time (see Cincinnati Bengals or Denver Broncos), a questionable call (looking at you Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions) or a season that was doomed from the beginning — Tampa Bay, you are on the clock — all but one fan base will endure some level of suffering heading into the offseason.
But which fan base has had it the toughest throughout the years? It’s easy to anecdotally pluck teams as if some sort of curse has inhibited a team’s ability to win. But the Scripps National Desk gathered some data to empirically look at which fan bases have suffered the most.
The Scripps NFL misery index looked at seven categories that relate to the performance of a city’s NFL franchise or its quality of life. The category selections are subjective — some people might prefer cold weather to sunny beaches, for example.
Factors included the unemployment rate for the franchise’s metropolitan area, the city’s average temperature in January (the warmer, the less miserable), number of Super Bowl titles, time since last Super Bowl title, playoff winning percentage, the percent of times the franchise has been in the playoffs and the time since the team’s most recent postseason trip.
Only current franchises are included. Cities do not get bonus points for past teams such as the Baltimore Colts or titles won in another city such as the victory of the Los Angeles Raiders. The pain of losing a franchise arguably overcomes the team’s prior success.
Data goes back to the American Football League-National Football League merger in 1966, the year of the first Super Bowl. Though the Lions won championships in 1952, ‘53 and ‘57 prior to the first Super Bowl, generations of today’s fans were not around then to enjoy the titles.
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