Panthers, Marlins, and Dolphins Make Top 30 of ESPN's Most Miserable Fan Bases | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Panthers, Marlins, and Dolphins Fans Make Top 30 of ESPN's Most Miserable Fan Bases

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
You were probably busy crying in the corner. Maybe you were watching videos of long-ago Heat championship parades, Marlins World Series victories, or the Dolphins' undefeated season a half-century ago. So you might have missed this bit of unsurprising news: Everything sports in South Florida — from Sawgrass Mills Mall down to Bayside Marketplace — is a big ol' pile of depressing.

A few weeks ago, ESPN put together a list of the most miserable fan bases in the sports world. Ranked from most miserable (Sacramento Kings) to least miserable (New England Patriots), the list used a point system termed the "Sports Misery Index Formula" that took into account five factors: championships, playoff berths, playoff wins, heartbreakers, and rival comparisons. After the scores were tabulated, one thing was abundantly clear regarding our local professional sports teams: They're freakin' killing us, man. Sports in South Florida is miserable.

Highest (on a list you don't want to be high on) were Florida Panthers fans. ESPN found Panthers followers are the fourth-most miserable fans in the sports universe. The findings were based on the Panthers' having little to zero playoff footprint since joining the National Hockey League in the early '90s. The fact the Tampa Bay Lightning is pretty good didn't help the Cats' case either.

Next on the most miserable list comes Dolphins devotees, ranked by ESPN as the 16th most over-this-shit fan base. Unsurprisingly, the Fins' nearly nonexistent playoff participation since Sisqó dropped the iconic track "Thong Song" dragged fans down into the Top 20. The whole Patriots-being-awesome-forever deal didn't help either.

Perhaps the most surprising detail on this list is that ESPN ranked Dolphins fans more miserable than Marlins fans. Lovers of Miami's Major League Baseball team clocked in as the 29th most miserable in sports, just ahead of the New York Knicks. Though ESPN doesn't state why Marlins fans — notorious for being tortured by ownership — are ranked so low, it's likely because, throughout all the bullshit, the team has delivered two titles since 2003. That counts for something. Or maybe it's because there just aren't very many. Attendance has perennially been among the worst in baseball. So the folks who go to games are committed.

As usual, the Heat distanced itself from the other sports franchises in this market. Heat fans are damn near the bottom of the list. They rank the 117th most miserable fan base of 123. According to ESPN, only three NBA teams have less miserable fans than Miami's. 

Somehow, some way, though, ESPN placed Cleveland Cavaliers fans ahead of Heat fans on this list, possibly making the entire report void. That ranking makes no sense. LeBron James has left that city in tears twice in the past decade, and in all of his time with the franchise that drafted him, it garnered only one title.

So there you have it: Analytics mixed with opinions shows nobody hates everything more than South Floridians despise our pro sports teams. Luckily, we have some other things going for us that tend to cheer us up while we're waiting for our teams to get their heads out of their asses. 
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi

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