- Between the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, incredible postseason runs in all four major sports, and thrilling NCAA basketball and football championships, 2018 gave sports fans so much to celebrate.
- On the other end of the spectrum, however, many teams fell well short of lofty expectations for the year.
- Check out the 15 most disappointing sports teams of 2018 below.
Between the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, an NBA Finals sweep, a stunning Super Bowl upset spearheaded by an unlikely hero, a historically dominant World Series champion, a Stanley Cup win for the best NHL player in a generation, and thrilling NCAA basketball and football championships, 2018 gave sports fans so much to celebrate.
But on the other end of the spectrum, many teams fell short of lofty expectations for the year.
The worst upset in March Madness history, top programs failing to qualify for the biggest competitions in their respective sports, and the fall from grace of some of last year’s professional and college sports champions are just some of the disastrous outcomes some of the biggest names in sports have endured in 2018.
Without further ado, here are the 15 most disappointing sports teams of 2018.
15. USA Figure Skating
Team USA has a rich history of success on the ice at the Olympic games, especially on the women’s side. This year, however, falls from Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon, Bradie Tennell, and Mirai Nagasu prevented Team USA from medaling in men’s and women’s individual competition. Ultimately, the U.S. came away with just two bronze medals across all skating events in PyeongChang.
14. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders were an absolute disaster in 2017, but Jon Gruden’s descent from the heavens (read: broadcasting booth) was supposed to bring the silver and black back into the limelight. Instead, the Raiders have officially been eliminated from playoff contention and boast a meager 3-10 record heading into Week 15.
13. Michigan State Spartans
The Michigan State Spartans were ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 Poll for all but two weeks of the 2017-18 college basketball season, but their regular-season dominance did not translate to the big dance. Tom Izzo’s squad fell to Jim Boeheim and the 11-seed Syracuse Orange in the second round of this year’s tournament.
12. Cleveland Cavaliers
Making it to the NBA Finals largely on the back of one man is an incredibly impressive feat. But the Cleveland Cavaliers’ winless showing against the Golden State Warriors combined with their abysmal start to the 2018-19 season is enough to land them amongst the most disappointing teams of the year.
11. Chicago Cubs
One of the most explosive lineups in the MLB struggled to get on the board in a thrilling 2-1 extra-innings loss to the Colorado Rockies in the National League wild-card game. Considering the Chicago Cubs were expected to make a splash this season, their early exit from the postseason came as a disappointment to fans in the Windy City.
10. Wisconsin Badgers
The Wisconsin Badgers and their high-octane offence were widely expected to hang amongst the top teams in the country this season. But with early-season losses to the BYU Cougars and the Nebraska Cornhuskers and a 7-5 regular-season record, head coach Paul Chryst’s squad fell far short of preseason expectations.
9. Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators made a deep run in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, but one year later they finished the season with the second-worst record in the NHL for the franchise’s worst showing since 1995-96.
8. Villanova Wildcats
Although they lost some key contributors from their 2018 NCAA tournament-winning team, the Villanova Wildcats started this season ranked 9th in the nation. They have fallen fast and hard ever since, losing a series of games to unranked opponents and subsequently dropping out of the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time since 2013.
7. Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals were expected to emerge from a 2017 season rife with injuries as a serious contender in the National League. Instead, a team boasting Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer on its roster finished the season 82-80 and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.
With a 3-0 loss to Newcastle that cemented their meager 5th-place Premier League finish, Chelsea officially missed out on the 2018 Champions League just one year removed from dominating the Premier League.
5. Houston Rockets
The same team that forced a seven-game series in the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals against the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors has nosedived to the bottom of this year’s western conference standings. The Houston Rockets are now in danger of missing the playoffs despite having superstars James Harden and Chris Paul in their arsenal.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
After upsetting the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LII with their second-string quarterback under center, the Philadelphia Eagles were widely considered the favourites to win it all again heading into the 2018-19 season. Instead, the reigning champions could miss the playoffs thanks to a 6-7 record heading into Week 15.
3. Germany national football team
The defending FIFA World Cup champions and perennial favourite Germany failed to escape the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after falling to Mexico and South Korea.
2. Virginia Cavaliers
The Virginia Cavaliers entered the NCAA tournament with the No. 1 overall seed and five consecutive weeks atop the AP Poll under their belts. So when the virtually unknown UMBC Retrievers routed Tony Bennett’s squad by 20 points to become the first ever 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed, Virginia busted virtually everyone’s brackets and became the butt of every joke imaginable.
1. United States men’s national soccer team
The United States men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time in over 30 years. Although their infamous loss to Trinidad and Tobago came in October of 2017, the USMNT suffered throughout the summer of 2018 as they watched from their couches while the best and brightest competed in Russia.