Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The City of Buffalo certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to long playoff droughts with their sports teams.
Football fans in Buffalo had to wait 17 seasons between playoff appearances for the Bills, spanning between the 2000 season and 2016 season. That playoff drought broke thanks to a memorable 2017 season that saw head coach Sean McDermott lead the Bills back to the playoffs (with some help from Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals) in his first season in Buffalo.
For the longest while, the Bills held the title of "longest active playoff drought" for teams in the four major North American sports. Once they shed that title back in 2017, that honor (or dishonor) would be bestowed upon baseball's Seattle Mariners.
It would take five more seasons of baseball in Seattle before the Mariners were able to buck that title this past September, thanks to the heroics of catcher Cal Raleigh with a memorable pinch hit, walk-off home run in the ninth inning.
After the Mariners clinched their spot in the AL Wild Card, the title of "longest active playoff drought" then went to the NBA's Sacramento Kings, who had not made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season.
However, Sacramento only needed about six months to strip themselves of their playoff drought. With the Kings' 120-80 win over the Trail Blazers in Portland on Wednesday night, it secured them their first playoff appearance in 16 seasons.
With Sacramento now off the hook, that leaves the New York Jets as the new team in the four major North American sports with the longest active playoff drought at 12 seasons.
The last time New York made the playoffs in the NFL was back in 2010 when Mark Sanchez led the Rex Ryan-coached Jets to the AFC Championship Game, where they'd come short of a trip to the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Since 2011, the Jets have gone 70-124, have had four different head coaches leading the team, and had 13 different quarterbacks make a start under center.
However, they are likely to have some company in that category in the next couple of weeks.
It has been 11 seasons since the Buffalo Sabres last made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the NHL, which is already a league record. As it stands right now, the Sabres only have a 2.8% chance at making the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to MoneyPuck.com .
If the Sabres end up missing out on the playoffs this season, which is more likely than not, they will officially match the Jets' mark of 12-straight seasons without making a playoff appearance.
The last time the Sabres made the Stanley Cup Playoffs came in 2011 when they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round by the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. Buffalo had a chance to win the series on home ice in Game 6 on Easter Sunday, but lost in overtime thanks to a Ville Leino goal.
Game 7 went on to be a beatdown by the Flyers back in Philadelphia, drubbing the Sabres to the tune of a 5-2 final score.
Over the last 12 seasons in Buffalo and counting, the Sabres have gone 342-447-113 and have gone through seven head coaches in that stretch. The closest the team came to making the postseason in those 12 seasons came in the first season of the drought, where they missed the playoffs by three points.
As it stands right now, the Sabres sit with a 35-31-7 record with nine games remaining on the schedule, but are five points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second and final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
While things may be looking up for both the Jets and Sabres in their respective sports, both passionate fanbases have been dealt with plenty of misery over the span of their playoff droughts.
For sports fans in Buffalo, it's a position that is all too familiar.
In case you're wondering, after the Jets and Bills on the list of teams with the longest active playoff droughts, the No. 3 spot is shared between the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, who have not made the MLB Postseason since 2014. Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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