Most Dysfunctional Franchises in Sports

Where there is a success there is often stability.

This holds true whether it is in business, sports, relationships and really everything in between. On the contrary that would also establish the idea that instability, rash decision making and a lack of accountability could and would lead to dysfunction and less than ideal results.

It is that dysfunction that leads to organizations leaving their fans in agony, crying for new ownership, pleading for improvements and forcing them to question their fandom. To the despair of those fans, the following teams are leading the pack in dysfunction:

Los Angeles Lakers

Is there any team in all of the professional sports right now getting it more wrong than the Los Angeles Lakers. Arguably the most prolific franchise in NBA history, the Lakers have turned themselves from the league’s crown jewel into a laughing stock and it starts at the top.

To say that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has lost her handle on the organization would be an understatement. The team has not made the postseason since 2013 and while it appeared a youth movement would push the Lakers in the right direction, a flurry of moves have propelled them one step forward and 10 steps back.

Magic, LeBron, and Pelinka, oh my! Since LeBron James’ arrival in L.A., things have taken a turn for the worse, and not necessarily to his fault though he did play a role. LeBron’s longtime friend and agent Rich Paul have reportedly impacted roster decisions with the team and rumors quickly swirled about his distaste for former Head Coach Luke Walton. Paul’s role is only the tip of the iceberg when you throw in the Anthony Davis trade rumors, Magic Johnson’s questionable resignation and Rob Pelinka’s alleged lies as a member of the organization.

Safe to say there is nothing stable about this organization that’s one step away from falling off the deep end.

Washington Nationals

Since there move from Montreal to Washington in 2002 the Nationals have been adept at one thing, a lack of stability. When a team has had seven different managers in only 12 years the answer becomes obvious that the issue isn’t who is in charge on-the-field but rather the decision making off of it.

Despite winning four division titles in the span, all of which in the past seven seasons, the team has never won a playoff series and maybe seeing their window close. The team hasn’t been shy about spending money, from locking up Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to bringing in Patrick Corbin there is talent at Nationals Park.

New York Jets

The last time the New York Jets made the playoffs was during the Rex Ryan era, a period full of some winning, highs, lows and certainly dysfunction. Even when the Jets organization is at its best it is still seemingly at its worst.

Just ask any New York sports fan, comb through Twitter or open your ears and you’ll hear the calls for new team ownership. This is the same ownership that fired General Manager Mike Maccagan following the NFL Draft and free-agency, leaving new Head Coach Adam Gase to run the show.

As far as free agency goes, Maccagnan spent over $191 million on Bell, Mosley, Jamison Crowder, and Henry Anderson. In that time since his departure, there have already been rumors of Gase listening to trades for his newly signed running back Le’Veon Bell. In the case of the Jets, the one thing they have going for them is that they aren’t even the most dysfunctional team in their own city…

New York Knicks

You can’t spell dysfunctional franchise without the Knicks (well technically you can but that’s beside the point). The conversation for the Knicks begins and ends with James Dolan. Even when he has the best intentions it seems as if the results just come up short.

Case and point is the hiring of Phil Jackson. The “Zen Master” by all accounts was a great hire and should have changed the direction of the franchise. The hire came about 10 years too late and to the regret of Knicks fans, it did change the direction of the franchise from bad to worse.

Jackson came in and immediately called out the team’s best player, built a roster past its prime and eventually led to a rift between the organization and Kristaps Porzingis. Oh yeah, this is only within the last 5 years…for the sake of Knicks fans, we won’t discuss the other heartbreaks since 1946.

The dysfunction off the court has led to even more problems on it, and not even any of the problems that show up in the boxscore. Dolan has been known for his short fuse and that was on full display in the decision to ban former Knick great Charles Oakley from MSG and ban a fan after he received boos.

Oakland Raiders


Signing a head coach who had spent the last nine years in the broadcast booth to a 10-year, $100 million contract usually doesn’t spark keen decision making in the front office. The Raiders are an organization known for their flashy and unorthodox ways and they surely do stay true to their roots. Former Owner Al Davis was known for his outgoing personality but underperforming when it came to success on the field.

To the displeasure of Raiders fans, those traits have passed on to his son Mark Davis. The idea of dysfunction belonging to a grown man with a bowl-cut may not seem far-fetched but the Raiders in the past two years have seen their team lose their GM, trade away two of their franchise players, relocate, nearly be homeless, acquire an outspoken elite receiver, make questionable moves in the draft and most recently sign a lineman who upon retiring from the league experienced a mental break that was concerning to say the least.

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