[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Association football/soccer]]
* In [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball Football]], any time a team is relegated or nearly falls (double if it occurs [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totonero_1980 due]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Italian_football_scandal to cheating]] instead of team incompetence). Among the English teams:
** Liverpool is currently experiencing one: Having been a Top 4 team in England (considered by many to have the best league in the world; that is saying something) for a long while, they finished 7th in the 2009 - 10 season and needed a late surge under new manager (and club legend) Kenny Dalglish to finish sixth the following year. That and awful cup performances just made the club's 2005 Champions League victory seem like a distant memory for a lot of supporters; however, the club's second place finish in 2014, just two points behind champion Manchester City, may be a sign that the Dork Age is at an end. Most Liverpool fans will likely blame the decline on owner Tom Hicks, who admitted he bought into the club just to help finance his two American sports clubs, the NHL's Dallas Stars and MLB Texas Rangers. He promised a new stadium at Stanley Park and never delivered; his son had to resign from the board of directors after sending a fan an email with the words "Blow me f*** face." Hicks and his partners were brought before the House of Commons, who claimed the club was being "drained by their greed". Ultimately, Hicks declared bankruptcy and had to sell off all three clubs, dealing the soccer club in 2010 to the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox.
** While Manchester United fans may worry about their fortunes following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, it's doubtful that things will get ''quite'' as bad as they did after their other legendary manager, Sir Matt Busby retired in 1969. His immediate successor, Wilf [=McGuinness=] proved severely out of his depth, and after BuTasby briefly held the fort again for six months, the club appointed the more experienced Frank O'Farrell. However, O'Farrell failed to address the club's ageing squad and instead busied himself quarrelling with George Best, eventually getting sacked after 18 months with the club bottom of the table. The next manager, Tommy Docherty temporarily papered over the problems by filling the squad with experienced journeymen, avoiding relegation that season, but everything finally came crashing down the season after that, resulting in United being relegated just six years after winning the European Cup. Fortunately, Docherty managed to end the Dork Age immediately after that by jettisoning most of the older players and building a new, youthful squad who took the club straight back up and resulted in a mostly successful rest of the decade.
* On the South American side, historical team River Plate from Argentina got relegated for the first time in their 100+ year history (and 33 titles) after massive debt trouble and a sporting crisis which has plagued the club for the then-latest 3 years (starting in the second half of 2008 which saw them have an abysmal performance in the national league, culimnating with the relegation in the last week of June 2011). The fact that the club has housed many famous Argentine players and that rioting was the result of the whole thing speaks volumes. The club returned to the top division the following year, and since then they have enjoyed a slow, but constant recovery that was eventually rewarded with numerous trophies in the competitions, including a UsefulNotes/CopaLibertadores.
* The 1990 [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup FIFA World Cup]], filled with ties, underperforming teams (both [[UsefulNotes/EuroFooty European champions]] Netherlands and perpetual favorites Brazil fell in the first round of the playoffs) and low goalscoring. Rule changes were imposed afterwards to improve the game (forbidding the keeper from handling the ball, preventing time-wasting and defensiveness; 3 points for a win instead of 2 to discourage draws).
* The Domenech era (2006–10) is considered like this for the French national soccer team. France fell during the pool phase both in 2008 and 2010; the 2010 World Cup was marked by many scandals (players' strike, insults, match against Ireland...) which greatly affected the team's reputation.
* While the England national team has had wildly fluctuating fortunes over the years -- in particular, a habit of doing well in qualifying tournaments, and then totally bombing in the actual tournaments -- four eras stand out as indisputable Dork Ages:
** 1972–78, comprising the latter two years of World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey's tenure as manager, and the entirety of Don Revie's term. The team failed to qualify for ''any'' tournament during this period, resulting in Ramsey being sacked, and Revie's tenure ending in disgrace when he agreed to take over as manager of the United Arab Emirates' national team while still contracted to England, earning him a lifetime ban from football in his home country. On top of that, hooliganism started to become a major problem at England internationals.
** The latter part of Graham Taylor's tenure as manager. The team qualified for Euro 92 well enough, but were simply shambolic at the tournament itself. The qualifying tournament for the 1994 World Cup somehow managed to be even worse, with an accompanying TV documentary made in the course of the tournaments giving Taylor the image of someone who was completely out of his league in the job. Not surprisingly, the team failed to qualify for the tournament, and Taylor quickly resigned.
** The year 2000 in its entirety is generally regarded as the absolute lowest ebb of postwar English football. After an awful performance at Euro 2000, England opened their 2002 World Cup qualifiers with a thrashing by Germany in the final match at the original Wembley Stadium, resulting in Kevin Keegan (who made Taylor look like a model of a good England manager) resigning. The FA's head of coaching, Howard Wilkinson then stepped in and oversaw an even ''worse'' performance against Finland the following week, only managing a goalless draw. For a subsequent friendly against France, the FA gambled on former youth coach Peter Taylor, who it also became obvious wasn't cut out to manage the national team.[[note]](Though he did make the crucial decision to give the captaincy to David Beckham, who would go on to be widely regarded as second-only to World Cup winner Bobby Moore as the best-ever England captain)[[/note]] After that, the FA made an even bigger gamble and appointed the country's first non-English coach, Sven-Goran Eriksson, which was widely seen by the press as an admission that the English coaching system was so broken that the country could no longer produce good coaches. Regardless of this, Eriksson's appointment finally got things going again, and the team recovered to top their qualifying group, ushering in five years of mostly solid performances.
** Steve [=McClaren's=] tenure as England manager from 2006–07. A few good results in the first few Euro 2008 qualifiers soon gave way to failures to beat sides that they were easily beating under Eriksson, and what was widely regarded as England's worst-ever result when they needed a late goal to defeat ''Andorra'', the second-smallest country in UEFA. A couple of late wins and some freak results elsewhere gave England going into their final game... which instead resulted in the image of [=McClaren=] standing forlorn on the pitchside, holding a comically oversized umbrella and watching haplessly as his team was taken apart by Croatia. England failed to qualify, and [=McClaren=] was sacked the next morning, with a near-universal reputation as the single worst England manager ever...
** And then came Roy Hodgson. Under him, England failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2014 World Cup, managing only one point in three games. And if the Brits thought ''that'' was an embarrassment - then came the 2016 Euros, where they were eliminated in the Round of 16 by ICELAND, a country that 1. has a population roughly the same size as Leicester, England's ELEVENTH largest city, 2. does not have a top-flight pro football league, and 3. their national team's assistant coach still worked full time as a dentist. Hodgson wrote up his resignation in the locker room immediately following that loss and announced it during the post-game press conference. And when it seemed like the next coach (Sam Allardyce) would improve the situation, a corruption scandal forced him to resign 67 days later.
* If the Cleveland Browns were European and played soccer, they might be the 1.FC Nürnberg. One of the finest teams of the 1920s and still pretty damn good up to the 1968 championship (their ninth), they managed to do what no team had done before or done since - they were relegated as reigning champions. The years after that were painful attempts to get back into the first division, which they only managed once they had given up on it - only to get relegated promptly thereafter. They proceeded to buy players that - as 1968 coach Max Merkel observed - would not be worth the price a butcher would ask for them and proceeded to humiliate and embarrass their fans in every way possible, despite a brief respite in the 1980s when a young team made it to the UEFA Cup and the DFB-Cup final (which they lost to Bayern München). However, in 2007 the team seemed to have finally caught a break. Lead by beloved coach Hans Meyer, they made it to the Cup Final and won it this time. With a bright future ahead, a team was assembled that could tackle the European games to come.... Only to manage something which has ''also'' not been done by any other German team before or since: They were relegated as reigning cup champions. Solid work boys, solid work. Basically everything since (and including) 1969 has been a giant dork age and unlike other examples, there seems to be just no end in sight. Fans have taken to the phrase "Der Glubb is a Debb - Aber ich mooch nan" [[note]]dialect for: "The Club (Nuremberg is often referred to as simply "Der Club" which in Franconia is prononuced with a G) is an idiot - but I still love it"[[/note]]
* Among Spanish teams, Real Madrid suffered one due to LaserGuidedKarma after they refused to renew the contract of Vicente Del Bosque (their coach from late 1999 to 2003), who had helped them win two Spanish leagues and two Champions League trophies. During the following three years, the team entered a dark period without winning any major title, forcing their president to resign in early 2006. While the next president seemed to put things back to greatness (the club won the Spanish league twice in a row), a series of institutional scandals put the club at the risk of an legal relegation, which led to ''that'' president to resign in turn during January 2009. This, coupled with a series of curb-stomp defeats against Liverpool (0-1 and 4-0 in the Champions League's Round of 16), longtime rivals Barcelona (3-1 and 2-6 in the Spanish league, helping them win literally ''everything'' during that year while Madrid continued with their slump), and surprisingly Alcorcón (4-0 in the Copa del Rey), put the club in a ''very'' difficult situation that only improved with better coaches (José Mourinho and later Carlo Ancelotti) in the following years.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Australian Rules Football]]
* Several UsefulNotes/AustralianRulesFootball clubs have them:
** The Brisbane Bears' early period, where the team was based on the Gold Coast, had the awful "angry koala" jumpers, and was consistently on or near the bottom of the ladder.
** Carlton in the 2000s, after the discovery of major salary cap violations forced the club into a rebuilding period. As of 2012, the club seems to be emerging from this period.
** Collingwood's "Colliwobbles" between 1958 and 1990, including Grand Final losses in 1964, 1966, 1970, 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1981.
** Essendon in the seventies - some fans use "seventies Essendon" as a derogatory term to refer to a poor performance by the team. This dork age ended when Kevin Sheedy took over as coach.
** Melbourne from 1965 to 1988. When Norm Smith was controversially sacked as coach in 1965, he predicted the club would never win another premiership, which they have yet to do. They did manage to make the Grand Final again in 1988, though (as well as 2000).
** For Richmond, everything after the club last made a grand final in 1982 - since then, they have been seemingly permanently mired in the bottom half of the ladder, through an endless succession of coaches.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Major League Baseball]]
* American UsefulNotes/{{baseball}} in general went through a DorkAge in TheFifties, as the only place where the sport ''wasn't'' in a sorry state was UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity. The minor leagues were collapsing due to the availability of major league games on television, old stadiums were growing increasingly decrepit, the dominance of New York teams (particularly the Yankees)[[note]]Of the ten World Series held in the '50s, eight were won by teams from New York, and only the last one of these, in 1959, did not feature at least one NYC team. The only years when this wasn't the case were 1957, when the UsefulNotes/{{Milwaukee}} Braves beat the Yankees, and 1959, when the UsefulNotes/LosAngeles Dodgers beat the UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} White Sox -- and just two years earlier, they had been the ''Brooklyn'' Dodgers.[[/note]] was causing fans outside New York to tune out, some teams were still refusing to integrate long after UsefulNotes/JackieRobinson had broken down the color barrier, and the sport had no real presence (other than the aforementioned minor leagues) in the fast-growing "Sun Belt" of the South and the West Coast. All of this gave [[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball football]], both professional and [[UsefulNotes/CollegiateAmericanFootball college-level]], enough room to build itself up as a serious rival to baseball's status as "America's pastime." This ended in TheSixties once teams (led by the Giants and the Dodgers) started moving to the South and West and giving the sport a real nationwide presence, along with the Yankees' own DorkAge meaning that other teams (especially in the American League) now stood a chance.\\
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Of course, [[CreatorProvincialism New York sportswriters]] -- [[Creator/KenBurns and PBS documentary filmmakers]] -- are still likely to remember TheFifties as [[NostalgiaFilter baseball's "golden age"]], simply because it was the era in which the Yankees got the World Series rings they were ''entitled'' to, dammit! And if the Yankees didn't win, then the Dodgers or the Giants probably did.
* The Boston Red Sox after their infamous sale of Babe Ruth's contract to the Yankees in 1920. The team was awful throughout the 1920's and 30's, essentially serving as a farm system for New York, making several other one-sided trades to help strengthen the Yankees' dynasty. Even the most die-hard Sox fans would probably have trouble naming any notable players in the 20's. They didn't have another winning season until 1935, and didn't win the American League pennant until 1946. Another Dork Age occurred in the first six years after Ted Williams retired in 1960. One could argue it lasted until they broke the "Curse of the Bambino" (referring to the above-mentioned Babe Ruth sale) in 2004, but the Red Sox were relatively successful overall, but just couldn't get a championship. Also, try telling a modern Sox fan the Red Sox sold out only a few games a year to watch a mediocre team playing in a falling-apart Fenway Park in the early to mid 80s. Then show them Roger Clemens' 20-strikeout game and point out all the empty seats. They will likely deny this ever happened. From a national standpoint, the "Yankees-Red Sox" rivalry was non-existent from the 1978 playoffs until the ALCS in 1999.
* Despite being one of the most storied teams in American sports, the New York Yankees have two periods that many fans would like to forget.
** Starting in 1964, the Yankees' long-running '50s dynasty quickly collapsed. While some have blamed Creator/{{CBS}} [[ScapegoatCreator buying a controlling stake in the team]], there were two major factors in their decline: First, in 1960, Charlie Finley bought the then-UsefulNotes/KansasCity Athletics from the estate of Arnold Johnson, who had moved the team from UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} after the 1954 season. Johnson was widely accused of operating the A's as an effective Yankees farm club, allegedly allowing the Yankees to develop their young talent in a major-league environment before getting the players back in sweetheart deals.[[note]]Historic evidence for this is sketchy, but it is known that under MLB rules of that day, the Yankees held the major-league rights to Kansas City, since their top farm club had been based in that city. The Yankees moved the minor-league team to UsefulNotes/{{Denver}}, and didn't ask for one cent of the large indemnity they could have demanded.[[/note]] Finley immediately ended the "special relationship" between the A's and Yankees. The ''coup de grace'' was delivered in 1965 with the introduction of the MLB draft, making it even harder for the Yankees to replace their aging 1950s superstars by [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney simply buying up every hot young talent]]. They finished 1965 in the second division (i.e. in the bottom half of the standings), and the following year they finished dead last in the American League. Longtime announcer and "Voice of the Yankees" Mel Allen was also fired in 1964 to save money. Things got slightly better in the ensuing years, but it was only when George Steinbrenner took over the team in 1973 that it became a contender again.
** The second DorkAge was TheEighties. Despite having the highest winning percentage in baseball for that decade, they [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut failed to make the postseason]] after 1981 (in a two-division league; they once made the postseason eight times in 10 years out of a single-division AL) and were mostly known for owner George Steinbrenner's antics - mainly giving huge contracts to players who didn't perform and firing managers left and right. They finally hit rock bottom finishing dead last in 1990, with Steinbrenner getting banned from baseball for two years for hiring a con man to try and dig up damaging information on one of his own players. The suspension, however, allowed the front office to finally turn things around, unloading the bad contracts and focusing on player development, making the Yanks a playoff team by 1995 and champions again a year later.
* TheSeventies had a somewhat cosmetic version of this due to:
** The replacement of many of the classic "jewel box" ballparks, such as Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Crosley Field in Cincinnati, etc. - although admittedly many of them had become decrepit and/or obsolete – with multipurpose stadia often described as "concrete ashtrays".
** The prevalence of first-generation artificial turf - easier to maintain than grass (and a requirement in domed stadiums), but harder on players' bodies and not ''[[UncannyValley quite]]'' the right shade of green.
** [[RainbowPimpGear The uniforms.]]
* The whole of TheNineties was this:
** 1990 started off with a lockout that cut into much of Spring Training. Fay Vincent, who became the commissioner after the sudden death of A. Bartlett Giamatti[[note]]father of actors Creator/{{Paul|Giamatti}} and Marcus Giamatti[[/note]] in September 1989 and oversaw the lockout, was forced out of office by the owners (among them, Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig, who would subsequently replace Vincent as commissioner, albeit on an "acting basis" at first) two years later.
** In 1994, the outdated two divisional set-up (the year prior, the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies joined MLB as expansion franchises) was tossed in favor of the current three division and a wild card format (which was problematic within itself at first, because the Divisional Series matchups/seedings were at first, predetermined instead of determined by winning percentages). Unfortunately, for the 1993 San Francisco Giants, they won 103 games yet came one game short of the Atlanta Braves (who were always since 1969, quite mysteriously, in the NL West despite being the Southernmost MLB franchise on the ''East'' Coast). Thus, had the three divisional format been implemented the year prior, then the Giants would've easily won their divisional title.
** The '90s were also, depending on your point of view, an era of [[BoringInvincibleHero little parity or competitive balance]] when compared to TheEighties, with (at various phases during the decade) the Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees dominating the American League and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves shortly thereafter dominating the National League.
** The '90s hit its collective nadir with the 1994 strike, which wound up leading to the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years (and marked the beginning of the end for the Montreal Expos franchise, who had the best record in MLB in 1994 and likely would've been a World Series contender).
** To make matters worst, during the period, MLB entered a revenue sharing joint venture with Creator/{{ABC}} and Creator/{{NBC}} (after their previous four year long television billion dollar television deal with {{CBS}} wound up costing the network approximately $500 million) called '''The Baseball Network'''. The Baseball Network was problematic because it emphasized the regionalization of the first two rounds of the postseason (meaning that they would be played simultaneously, yet the entire nation couldn't watch them or have much of a choice in regards to which game you could watch). More to the point, the first half of the regular season had no nationally televised, network TV coverage (only picking up after the All-Star Game). Plus, since the ''Baseball Night in America'' (the branding for the Baseball Network's regular season, prime time telecasts) held exclusivity over every market, it most severely impacted markets with two franchises. For example, if ''Baseball Night in America'' showed a Yankees game, this meant that nobody in New York could see that night's Mets game and vice versa.
** Finally, there was the "home run derby" era of the late '90s and early '00s, with players such as Mark [=McGwire=], Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds at the forefront. Initially, this was seen as the ''end'' of baseball's DorkAge, with the sport [[HesBack rising to heights of popularity]] perhaps not seen in decades; millions of people were tuning in to watch superstar athletes race to shatter home-run records. However, things [[DeaderThanDisco turned around quickly]] once it was revealed ''where'' this sudden surge in athleticism was coming from: steroid use so rampant that it triggered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Report a Congressional investigation]]. Everyone in baseball, along with many fans, now treats that era as [[OldShame one of the most disgraceful episodes]] in baseball history due to the fact that many of its biggest stars were revealed to have been either doping or engaging in other forms of cheating (like Sammy Sosa's corked bat), with MLB officials turning a blind eye due to the fact that the sport was popular again.
* The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993, and proceeded to not make the playoffs again until 2015; ''every single one'' of the other 29 MLB franchises made the postseason at least once in that timespan. They followed up the two championships with four consecutive losing seasons (55–60 in 1994[[note]]strike-shortened season[[/note]], 56–88 in 1995, 74–88 in 1996 and 76–86 in 1997). Longtime manager Cito Gaston was also fired by the management, and replaced by relative unknown Tim Johnston (who tried to motivate the players by ''lying about his service in the Vietnam War''). Coupled with a severe attendance drop during those years (from which the franchise has only been starting to recover from), it wasn't a good time to be a Jays fan in the late 90's (or in the first fifteen years of the 21st century, for that matter).
* When the Walt Disney Company took ownership of the then-California Angels in 1997 (on the heels of owning/creating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks), they changed the team name to the Anaheim Angels (in order to carve a niche for Anaheim being the home of Disneyland and Disney's sports) and ditched the signature halo logo for a periwinkle blue color scheme with an angel wing tip for its symbol. This lasted for only a few seasons before reverting back to an updated form of the old red-and-white/halo template as Disney phased itself out of its sports experiment in the early 2000s. (And as for the Mighty Ducks, they won the Stanley Cup the first year Disney relinquished ownership and the organization had rebranded itself as the Ducks, removing all logos and references to the Disney property.)
** For what it's worth, though, it was under Disney's ownership that the Angels built the team that won the World Series in 2002. While many fans cheered the Mouse-Ears selling to Arte Moreno that year, Moreno has since wrecked the team by trying to make them the Yankees of the West Coast, giving the front office the edict to always sign the best player in free agency each year (in addition to the debacle over the city of Anaheim suing the team to keep their name with the team, forcing them to now be called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). This has led to them dumping proven veterans like Vlad Guererro and Torii Hunter in order to eventually sign expensive contracts with declining superstars like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. After two injury-plagued years that saw the latter fail to produce close to the numbers he had in Texas and admitting to a drug relapse, Moreno basically shunned Hamilton completely in the 2015 pre-season, and the Angels eventually handed him back to the Rangers, getting ''nothing'' in return ''and'' agreeing to still pay more than 80% of his remaining contract, which still had ''three years left''. With the financial strain of that and the six more years on Pujols' deal and a depleted farm system, the Angels could very well be in for another longer Dork Age, despite them also having baseball's current best player, Mike Trout.[[note]]Though as of 2016, Washington Nationals fans may beg to differ, with the rise of Bryce Harper to become Trout's main [[TheRival rival]] for that crown.[[/note]]
* Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Dodgers also had a late-'90s Dork Age. They had been a crown jewel of baseball along with the Yankees and Cubs, having been a family-owned operation under the O'Malley family for fifty years dating back to their days in Brooklyn. They were also the ultimate sign of stability in baseball, having only going through ''one managerial change in 46 years''. In 1998, the team was sold to {{FOX}}, who operated the team for six years. Among the moves made during that tenure:
** Having more managers in the fold (Bill Russell, Davey Johnson, and Jim Tracy) than the previous 46 years combined
** Trading away face-of-the-franchise Mike Piazza, who continued his career as the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history with the New York Mets and was elected to the Hall of Fame as a Met.
** Adding another color (silver) to their color scheme and alternate uniforms, something that the other "classic" franchises (New York, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago) had not done.
** Giving away huge free-agent contracts that became incredible busts; they made ace starter Kevin Brown the first $100 million man in baseball despite being 33 and having a history of injuries (which would derail his Dodger career) and gave large deals to an aging, injured, and ineffective Andy Ashby and unproductive Darren Dreifort, who would suffer a career-derailing shoulder injury shortly after his new deal.
** 2011 almost brought another. After the team made the playoffs four times from 2004–09, the divorce and antics of owner Frank [=McCourt=] appeared to derail the franchise. Attendance dropped below 3 million for the first time in almost twenty years, and most of the 2011 season was spent in the basement, filing for bankruptcy. However, a late-season MiracleRally saw the Dodgers go from last-place to a winning record; then 2012 saw the team finish second and sold to a group including LA sports legend Magic Johnson; with a new TV deal pumping serious cash into the franchise (though fans generally hate the deal itself for preventing most of the LA area from actually seeing Dodgers games on TV), the Dodgers have proceeded to dominate their division ever since.
* Following their heart-breaking loss to the Atlanta Braves in [[DownToTheLastPlay Game 7]] of the 1992 National League Championship Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw superstar Barry Bonds and ace pitcher Doug Drabek leave in free agency (after Bobby Bonilla walked the previous year), and the team that had won the National League East three straight years would not have another winning season or playoff appearance until 2013.
* Almost the entire history of the Philadelphia Phillies is a Dork Age. They have finished in the second division 75 times in 130 seasons, including 27 last-place finishes. They have lost more games than any other franchise in professional sports (The Washington Generals don't count). In their history they have won only two World Series, seven National League pennants, and appeared in the playoffs only 14 times. Their later flicker of hope -- winning the 2008 Series, and returning to the playoffs the following three years (including having the best record in all of baseball in 2011) -- ended when they finished in third in their division in 2012, fourth in 2013, and last in 2014, with the cherry on the cake coming in 2015 when they finished the season with the worst record in all of baseball.
* The Houston Astros went through one in the late [=2000s=] and early [=2010s=], starting shortly after their sole World Series appearance to date in 2005. Years of signing aging players to large deals, overvaluing a few mediocre free agents, not spending on the draft, and trading away prospects left the team with an aging core incapable of competing and no help in the minor leagues. After a prolonged decline, the team was finally sold in 2010 (with the league forcing the new owner to move the team to the American League after over five decades in the National League, a move which [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks angered many long-time fans]]). Things only got worse, as the new front office decided the only way to rebuild was to trade off anyone worth mentioning, which further disappointed fans, who had grown attached to the leaders on the rather weak rosters. After that, the team went on a record streak of [[EpicFail three straight seasons with the worst record in baseball]], losing 324 games from 2011-2013 (and picking up the three #1 draft picks that went with it). There were other minor issues along the way, like trouble negotiating a television contract that left most of the surrounding area unable to see games; unknowingly drafting an injured player first overall (due to teams not having access to medical records before the draft) and not signing him as a result; and having their central database hacked and some of the results leaked. Thankfully, the Dork Age seems to have come to an end in 2015, with the team making the playoffs as a Wild Card team (after having ''just'' come short of the AL West division championship), their top prospects (acquired thanks to fire sale trades and good draft positions from their tanking) making a splash in the majors, the television contract finally working out for more fans to view the games, and a still-strong minor league system. Even the hacking was resolved, with it being tied to members of the front office of their former NL rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
* The Minnesota Twins have had a succession of dark ages interspersed with periods of true brilliance. Their pre-move incarnation, the Washington Senators, were so legendarily bad through much of their existence (with the exception of TheRoaringTwenties, in which the franchise won its first - and for six decades ''only'' - World Series championship), that San Francisco sports writer Charley Dryden once quipped, "Washington: First in war, First in peace, and Last in the American League." The novel ''The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant'' was written riffing on the team's legendary badness, and made into the musical ''Theatre/DamnYankees''. After their move to Minnesota at the end of the 1960 season, the team rapidly rose to prominence, winning the American League Pennant in 1965 before losing the WorldSeries in seven games to the LosAngelesDodgers. They won the newly-formed AL West twice before this period of prominence came to an end, but end it did, and the team's longest dork age in Minnesota (and the worst uniform in its history) lasted from 1971 until 1984, a period in which arose the team's lasting nickname, the ''Twinkies''. This era marked some of the most shamefully bad play in the franchise's history and ended when the notoriously stingy Griffith family sold the team to local banking magnate Carl Pohlad. 1993 marked the beginning of its second dork age, which lasted until 2000, which was denoted by a number of fading stars with origins in the Twin Cities (which wasn't all bad - Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor each had reasonably productive years in Minnesota and bagged their 3000th hits wearing Twins pinstripes, but it also brought several infamous loads to the Metrodome), forcing it to rely for the majority of its pitching and run production on players who really should have spent a lot more time developing in the minors, and the third one has been ongoing since 2011 with the exception of a competitive 2015. It appears to be reaching a pinnacle after finishing with the worst record in the Majors in 2016.
* After winning the 1985 World Series, the Kansas City Royals didn't make the playoffs again until ''2014'', with their nadir coming in the [=mid-2000s=]. However, all the pain eventually paid off when the Royals won the World Series again in 2015 (the 30th anniversary of their previous championship, at that). And many hoped they make the Playoffs again however they fell off the track midseason when the Indians got ''hot'' taking 1st place in the AL Central, and as of 9/30 2016 officially eliminated from playoff contention.
* The Chicago Cubs were in a ''108 year'' Dork Age, having not won the World Series since ''1908'' until ''finally'' winning it all in 2016 and, up until 2016, hadn't won a National League pennant since ''1945''. Such highlights include:
** Blowing a nine-game lead in the newly christened NL East to the New York Mets in 1969, a team that had a combined total 700+ loses at that point.
** After ''crushing'' the San Diego Padres in Game 1 and having the bullpen clamp down on San Diego in Game 2 of the 1984 NLCS, the Padres managed to fight back, and defeated the Cubs in Game 5. The highlight of this is a ground ball that went through Cubs star Leon Durham's legs, opening up the door to four Padres crossing the plate.
** In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, then-manager Dusty Baker left the starting pitcher Mark Prior on the mound in the top of the 8th. After [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bartman_incident Steve Bartman]] infamously deflected a Luis Castillo foul ball from Moises Alou's glove, the Marlins rallied and scored due to (among other things) a fatigued Mark Prior and an Alex Gonzalez error, taking the lead from the Cubs and winning the game (and, ultimately, the series).
** However, 13 years later, the Cubs' 71-year pennant drought ''finally'' ended on October 22, 2016, when they won the NLCS against the Dodgers in 6 games.
** On November 2nd, 2016, the Cubs in extra innings beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 after coming back from a ''3-1'' deficient not to mention an array of late-game boners on the part of manager Joe Madden that allowed the Indians to tie 6-6 and force the extra innings in the first place. Coincidentally, this means they went through a situation similar to the previous champs, the Royals, in that they had endured a long drought before making the playoffs one year and winning the [[FanNickname Losers' Series]][[note]]so named because the Cubs and Indians were the biggest {{Memetic Loser}}s of their respective leagues[[/note]] the next.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mixed Martial Arts]]
* When Tim Sylvia held the [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts UFC]] Heavyweight Championship, it was considered to be the lowest point for UFC's heavyweight division. Not helping matters was the fact that most of the premier heavyweights (Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, Josh Barnett, Mirko Cro Cop, Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, and Heath Herring) were all in PRIDE during the majority of his reign, while Randy Couture had dropped down to light heavyweight and then retired. On top of that, Frank Mir had not fully recovered from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. With those factors in mind, Sylvia's reign was most known for lack of top flight competition and less than exciting fights that often went the distance. Two things ended this dork age: one, the UFC debut of Mirko Cro Cop in February 2007. Two, Randy Couture's victory over Sylvia a month later.
* The entire Japanese MMA scene is a shadow of what it was before PRIDE disbanded. Rumors of Yakuza involvement and match fixing kept UFC from its original plan of running PRIDE as a separate organisation, most of the international fighters moved to the American organisations (UFC and Strikeforce) and none of the smaller Japanese promotions (DREAM, DEEP, Shooto, Pancrase) reached similar level of popularity and prestige as PRIDE.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Motorsports]]
* UsefulNotes/{{NASCAR}}:
** While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seemed to hit its peak in popularity around the start of the 21st century, many seemed to think it's been in a Dork Age since shortly thereafter, due to a number of events:
*** Anti-climactic finishes for the championship: From 1998-2003, only one season (2002) ''didn't'' end with the champion clinching before the last race, and four of six titles ended with a 200+ point blowout, causing people to lose interest toward the end of the season due to the string of {{Foregone Conclusion}}s. This reached a peak in 2003 when Matt Kenseth at one point accumulated a 436-point lead (which eventually dwindled to 90 points over Jimmie Johnson by the end of the year, but was still 228 the week before the end, in a system that gave 180-185 points to the race winner) - while winning only one race the whole year (Las Vegas). This led to a major format change that caused a BrokenBase in the form of…
*** The Chase for the Cup beginning in 2004, which includes a points reset to bunch the top ten drivers in points (then the top twelve starting in 2007, then the top ten plus the two winningest from 11th-20th from 2011 to 2013, and since 2014 the 16 drivers with the most race wins in the 26-race "regular season"[[note]]or, if fewer than 16 drivers win races in that stretch, all race winners plus enough points leaders without a race win to fill out the 16-spot field[[/note]]) together in order to try to encourage tighter battles for the title. While the actual points margins have certainly been smaller, fans in general (especially older ones) feel that the whole setup is artificial and goes against the nature of racing, and it has only heated the argument as to whether or not NASCAR should increase the number of points for a win to give wins much more prominence over consistent top ten finishes. This was ultimately addressed by NASCAR before the 2014 season, with its announcement that Chase spots would now be determined mostly by race wins. It obviously remains to be seen how much, or whether, this change will help matters.
*** The dominance of Jimmie Johnson. Jeff Gordon has been a polarizing figure for his career for being a California transplant coming in and winning, but at least he would occasionally crack a smile, show charisma and make it look like he might actually have some good ol’ boy in him. Johnson (whose car is owned by Gordon) has been a politically correct milquetoast personality that Madison Avenue loves but has never been popular with racing fans that prefer characters. Add that to him taking advantage of the aforementioned Chase format to win five consecutive championships (breaking Cale Yarborough’s record of three straight) and holding six as of 2015 to put him just one behind legends Richard Petty and Creator/DaleEarnhardt, and he made racing boring for quite a few old guard fans. Although, [[VindicatedByHistory Jimmie is slowly getting respect by the fans after he started to not winning constantly, as fans slowly started to realize that no matter what, Jimmie will be remembered as one of NASCAR greats]].
*** Several rules changes, with the biggest perhaps being the “freeze the field” rule that immediately halts racing the instant a caution flag comes out rather than allowing drivers to race back to the line first. This led to NASCAR having to make even more changes to try and avoid a race ending under yellow, finally agreeing to add the “green-white-checker” rule (the race is extended past the scheduled # of laps to allow two last laps of racing if needed). While this has been the best possible option to ensure fans got to see an actual race finish, it still irked some fans who felt such conditions “cheapened a race win coming longer than the actual # of miles ran.
*** The "Car of Tomorrow," which was introduced in 2007 with its splitter replacing the front bumper and rear wing replacing the spoiler; the new car was among several new safety mandates NASCAR introduced after Creator/DaleEarnhardt's fatal crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 (which sadly may have been the incident that spiked NASCAR's popularity in the early 2000s). Despite doing its job as far as safety - no one has died in a crash after four died from 2000-01 - drivers complained about its handling and fans complained about boring racing as a result. The car was announced to be discontinued as of 2013, replaced by the more-similarity-to-a-road-car-looking Generation 6 cars.
*** Taking races away from the older, classic tracks in the South in favor of trying to expand the sport’s exposure across the country. Since 1996, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham have been completely removed from the schedule, while Darlington and Atlanta have been cut down to one race weekend each. Quite a few of these moves only led to lower attendance numbers at the newer tracks once they got extra dates (giving a second date to California, including the Labor Day race held in Darlington for years, may have been the biggest disaster; though when California is reduced to one race only (the spring one), it's been mostly a success; Darlington eventually returned to its traditonal Labor Day date in 2015) and alienated fans who loved racing at the shorter, unique tracks over the cookie-cutter 1.5-to-2 mile tri-ovals that have gradually taking over the schedule.
*** Too much emphasis on downforce. The continually-rising number of downforce in the car led to procession races; i.e. races when one car takes the lead and stay there until the next pit stop stint, a restart caused by a caution period, or said car finished the race. This get to extreme level when NASCAR tests two new downforce packages (one low, one high) in 2015 after it is apparent that the normal 2015 package (which tend to go to high) is a mess. The races with low-downforce package was met with extremely positive reviews. Those with high-downforce package? Extremely '''negative''' review. Despite NASCAR originally insisted to go to the high-downforce, they relented and went to low-downforce package in 2016, which we can say it's been a ''huge'' success so far. Given NASCAR is now willing to reduce ''even more'' downforce, this might be a starting step for NASCAR to remove themselves from its DorkAge.
** NASCAR teams who drift into Dork Ages tend not to recover - see Morgan-[=McClure=] Motorsports, for example, rising stars of the early nineties who lost Sterling Marlin after a mediocre 1997 season - and only posted one more top ten points finish before shutting down 10 years later.
** Roush Fenway Racing. Problems include slowly slipping performance through the late 2000's that's become a landslide in the last couple years, major drivers abandoning the team,[[note]]and just to make matters worse, both of the biggest examples, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, fled to the same team, Joe Gibbs Racing[[/note]] major sponsors following suit,[[note]]Just in 2015, they had to absorb the loss of Subway to Gibbs with Edwards and the loss of [=3M=] to Hendrick Motorsports[[/note]] and highly touted Young Gun drivers who prove to be epic busts at the Cup level,[[note]]Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. won back-to-back championships driving for Roush's Xfinity Series team but is now beginning to get outperformed by his girlfriend Danica Patrick, herself considered a major letdown in Sprint Cup competition; Trevor Bayne gained mountains of hype after taking the part-time Wood Brothers team to Victory Lane in the 2011 Daytona 500 and is now struggling just to maintain a top 30 points position in his first full year of Cup in 2015[[/note]] An owner who seems more concerned with micromanaging every other owner in his manufacturer (Ford) camp than actually overseeing his in-house teams, and is known for embarrassing, even borderline-racist, statements about rival teams and manufacturers, along with unconfirmed reports of cheating? Check. Rebellion against said micromanagement by the out-of-house teams? Check.[[note]]the biggest of these, Roger Penske's team, basically just switched (from Dodge) to save a few million dollars on engine development, and is now busy convincing lower-level Ford teams to defect from Roush's aero and chassis packages to his own, with Wood Brothers (in 2015) and Leavine Family (in 2014) defected from Roush to Penske; though they lost Leavine Family to Chevrolet in 2016 as a result of a merger between them and Chevy-user Circle Sport. The next biggest, Richard Petty, absorbed the Yates team that had co-developed the Roush engine package, but got fed up with lack of results and began doing chassis and aero work independent of either Roush or Penske in 2015. Both still buy engines from Roush, though, and it certainly wouldn't be surprising if the increase in engine failures from both Petty and Penske satellites like the Wood Brothers (who had been a full Roush satellite in 2014) was more than a coincidence.[[/note]] It seems like far longer than the 11 years it's been since Roush was able to post back-to-back championships (with Kenseth in 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004) and seemed on the verge of knocking off Rick Hendrick and Chevrolet to re-establish Ford as NASCAR's top manufacturer.
* [=MotoGP=]: Valentino Rossi's time in Ducati. It is hyped so much by the public, but turned out to be a massive failure. Zero victories, just 3 podium in 2 seasons, pretty high crash rate (unusual for Valentino), and sometimes battling against ''Aprilia CRT's''[[note]] CRT/Open class bike tend to be slower than even the slowest Factory bikes (right now is the Marc VDS Honda), except if you are Aleix Espargaro[[/note]] is pretty embarrassing for the legend. Fortunately, once he returned to Yamaha, after one year of adapting back, we can say that [[HesBack he's back to the top]].
* FormulaOne: Since late 2012, constant debates on "man versus machine" began deeming the motorsport a dork age with DRS (Drag Reduction System) technology providing "fake overtakes" as well as the domination of Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, who won four world champions in the controversial "best cars" by 2013. [[InternetBackdraft The backdrafts]], however, started went out of control in 2014 with the hybrid V6 turbo engine, which failed the huge expectation from the sport: The engines are too quiet, the cars are significantly slower, and the domination reign simply changed to another team. YouTube comments cannot shut up on how bad the sport is compared to [[GoldenAge the 80s]], which doesn't help when drivers and the elites themselves are not happy with the technology over-assisted cars providing "boring" races.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:National Basketball Association]]
* UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan, the famed basketball player, playing professional baseball. Even he admits he wasn't that good and that it was mostly a chance to clear his head after his father's death, a process not fully completed until [[Film/SpaceJam he helped classic Looney Tunes characters triumph over the diabolical Mon-Stars]]. Tin-foil heads have a great conspiracy theory that states he was secretly suspended for a year for a gambling problem. There's no proof, but few people would be surprised. Also, Washington Wizards MJ, tragically immortalized in the otherwise outstanding ''NBA Street 2''. What's worse, they even included Jordan 'Classic', from his Bulls days, who's a much better player than the Wizards Jordan.
* There was the seismic collapse of the Chicago Bulls after their second threepeat. Michael Jordan retired for the second time. Phil Jackson sat out the next season and resurfaced as the new head coach of the Lakers. Luc Longley, Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, and Dennis Rodman all left as well. Chicago wouldn't see the playoffs again until 2005.
* The New York Knicks have been in a Dork Age since 1973, the last year they won the championship, especially since they have only made the NBA Finals twice in the more than 40 years since then. But the years following that last Finals trip in 1999 have been especially lean. The Knicks have only made it past the first round of the playoffs once since 2001, missing the playoffs entirely 10 times in that span. They have brought in the likes of Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas and even Phil Jackson to turn things around, and yet things just seem to get worse and worse. Jackson’s first year as team president saw them hit rock bottom, as their 17 wins in 2014–15 were the fewest in franchise history - for a team that dates back to the NBA’s founding, including the early years where they played at least 20 games fewer in a season than they do now. Not helping is Jackson's BornInTheWrongCentury attitude, who repeatedly made statements on how teams could not win titles if their offense revolves around three-point shooting, even tweeting "how's it goink?" [sic] when big-man-led Memphis was up 2–1 on 3-point shooting Golden State (who promptly won the next three games by double digit margins). Knicks fans facepalmed as four of the top five 3-point shooting teams made the conference finals (with the fifth team, the Clippers, knocked out the previous round) with the title going to Golden State, led by MVP Stephen Curry, who broke his own record for most 3s made in a season, as well as setting a new playoff record.
* TheNineties in general were this for any team who weren't the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets but ''no one'' had it worse than the Dallas Mavericks - as in, no one had a worse winning percentage in that decade among all the major pro sports franchises. They missed the playoffs for 10 straight years, in a league where eighth place gets you in. They were most known for trying to build around the trio of Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn and it failed due to them bickering over who got to date Toni Braxton. The owner who traded them off, Ross Perot Jr., cared more about building real estate around their upcoming new arena than winning. Finally, one Mavericks fan decided he could run the team better - and realized he had the money to back it up. The Dork Age ended when Mark Cuban bought the team from Perot in January 2000; the Mavs returned to the playoffs the next year and would not miss out again until 2013, finally winning it all in 2011.
* TheNineties were also unkind to several NBA teams fashion-wise, with the popularity of screenprinting; the sublimated dye process allowing teams to create graphic-laden jerseys without excessive amounts of embroidery, or less durable heat-transferred vinyl appliques. However, [[WTHCostumingDepartment some of the designs were not well-received in the long run]].
** The Philadelphia 76ers adopted [[http://img.spokeo.com/public/900-600/charles_barkley_1992_01_01.jpg this star-laden look]] that was more fitting for an All-Star team. (The actual [[http://cdn.solecollector.com/media/u/images/92_East_All_Stars.jpg All-Star jerseys]] from that time weren't that far off, either.) Another team that experimented in the early 90s: [[http://content.sportslogos.net/news/2012/04/adedb4f447d7e19eab9667be4a4021b21.jpeg the New Jersey Nets]], whose tie-dye road jerseys only lasted one season.
** Even though the Sixers dropped those jerseys after just a few years, several other teams throughout the league got [[IncrediblyLamePun Screen Fever]]. Even the two-time champion [[http://www.sportsjerseypedia.com/pictures/Houston-Rockets-1996-2003-Home-Jersey-uniform.jpg Rockets]] weren't immune. Among some of the other questionable looks of the 90s: [[http://www.sportsjerseypedia.com/pictures/Houston-Rockets-1996-2003-Home-Jersey-uniform.jpg Atlanta]], [[http://www.sportsworldcards.com/ekmps/shops/sportsworld/images/cleveland-cavaliers-chris-mills-281-topps-stadium-club-1996-nba-trading-card-2525-p.jpg Cleveland]], [[http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Basketball/2581/2581-692921Fr.jpg Milwaukee]] (just a third jersey, thankfully); [[http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ec/90/e6/ec90e6d03e44418c38a406dc04de9567.jpg Toronto]], [[http://www.cc.utah.edu/~bt29960/malone_s.jpg Utah]], and [[http://www.goldinauctions.com/ItemImages/000006/6139h_lg.jpeg Detroit]].
* Prior to this, the NBA had a Dork Age for most of TheSeventies. Unlike the '50s and '60s which were dominated by the Boston Celtics, the '80s, which saw the epic Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry and the rise of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan, and the '90s, which was the decade of the Chicago Bulls, the '70s did not have a single dominating team standing out from the rest. Many times, you never knew whether a team would be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs or go all the way to the Finals, and overall, there was too much parity for comfort. Then there was the lack of exciting, highlight reel-quality players outside of Julius Erving and David Thompson. And speaking of Thompson, he, Spencer Haywood, and Marvin Barnes were among many NBA players with known drug problems in a decade when cocaine use among athletes was in vogue; the NBA being a league of cokeheads didn't sit well with a lot of fans.
* Los Angeles Lakers. After winning 2 championships with the Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol-Phil Jackson core, the Lakers underwent several misfortunes (Early playoff exits, A blocked trade for Chris Paul, aging players, Phil Jackson retiring) that brought them from a contender to a playoff disappointment. To solve these problems and compete in the rough Western Conference, the Lakers brought in superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash through trades in 2012. While the Lakers were expected to dominate and win the Championship with that roster, they ended up doing the opposite: they struggled throughout the season (due to injuries, underperforming players, incompetent coaching, and lack of team chemistry) and ended up barely (with a 42–40 record) making the playoffs, where they were SWEPT by the San Antonio Spurs ([[KickTheDog To make it worse]], longtime owner Jerry Buss died that season). The next season was a lot harsher, as Dwight Howard left for Houston, [[WorfHadTheFlu Kobe and Steve Nash were out for almost the entire season thanks to injuries]], and the Lakers ended up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005. The [[HumiliationConga pain train]] just kept chugging on for the Lakers during a later season, as several players (Steve Nash, Pau Gasol etc.) left thru free agency or retirement, Kobe continued playing despite being injured and WAY past his prime, and LA had to put on the floor mediocre players such as Ed Davis, Wesley Johnson, and Ronnie Price. The result? A 21–61 record; the Lakers' worst season since they moved to Los Angeles. Not helping the Lakers right now is their less-than-stellar front office and ownership (current VP of Basketball Operations, Jim Buss (Jerry's son), is commonly seen as the scapegoat of these problems), and their inability to attract top tier free agents. However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as the Lakers have young and promising players (and possible all-stars) such as Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell, and Kobe's retirement will free up a large portion of the team's budget. However, the 2015-16 Lakers ended posting their [[FromBadToWorse worst record in franchise history,]] 17–65, though Kobe went out in style with a season-leading 60-point game. And, even though Kobe's retirement did give the Lakers a huge amount of cap room, his salary comes off the books at the exact time that the league's huge new TV deal kicks in, giving about ''half the league'' cap room at least as large as that of the Lakers.\\
To make matters worse for Lakers fans, the Lakers' decline has coincided with 2 [[TheChewToy perennially]] [[ButtMonkey tortured]] Californian teams, the Los Angeles Clippers (commonly mocked by many as the "other team" in LA) and the Golden State Warriors, [[TookALevelInBadass becoming perennial powerhouses]]. The Clippers, who already had young stars Blake Griffin and [=DeAndre=] Jordan, rose to prominence once they obtained Chris Paul (who was going to be a Laker, had a proposed Lakers-Hornets trade not been blocked by David Stern) and took the league by storm with their high-flying "Lob City" offense. The Warriors quietly built their team thru the draft and free agency, and later became known for their high-scoring perimeter offense (which featured "Splash Brothers" Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) and an underrated yet suffocating defense. They would end up [[DarkHorseVictory upstaging the 2 LA teams]] by utterly DOMINATING the league ([[LightningBruiser they were among the best teams with regards to Offensive Efficiency, Defensive Efficiency, and Pace]]) and winning the NBA Championship (their first in 40 years) in 2015!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:NCAA Football]]
* After receiving the NCAA's first-ever "death penalty" (banned from playing games for two years) in 1987,[[note]]Technically, SMU was banned only for the 1987 season, but would have been limited to only road games in 1988; the school decided to sit out 1988 as well since they saw no chance of being competitive.[[/note]] Southern Methodist University would have only one winning season and no bowl games in the 20 years after that, until June Jones took over as coach for the 2008 season and ended the drought the next year.
* The Southwest Conference's breakup in 1995 (which many blame as a result of the SMU Death Penalty) led to Dork Ages for most of the schools that didn't immediately go to the Big 12 Conference. TCU, SMU, Houston and Rice have combined to change conferences 11 times since the SWC's end.[[note]]TCU: Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mountain West Conference, Big 12 (the latter after reneging on an announced move to the Big East); SMU: WAC, C-USA, American Athletic Conference; Houston: C-USA, The American; Rice: WAC, C-USA[[/note]] Only TCU has produced a consistently winning program among those four. Meanwhile, Baylor getting picked for the Big 12 led to that program's Dork Age, as the Bears did not produce a winning season for the first 14 years of the conference's history, including four seasons of going winless in conference (they didn't win more than one conference game in a season until ''2005'') until Art Briles took over in 2008 - Baylor has made a bowl game every year since 2010, winning the conference championship in 2013.
* After David Cutcliffe's first and only losing season at Ole Miss (the year after Eli Manning went to the NFL), he was pressured to fire his assistant coaches. Cutcliffe refused, so AD Pete Boone fired him and made Ed Orgeron the new head coach. Orgeron's overall record in three years was 10–25, including a putrid 3–21 in SEC play. In Coach O's final season, the Rebels did something no other team had done in over two decades: go winless in conference play.
* Once upon a time, Will Muschamp was considered to be the "coach in waiting" to long-time coach Mack Brown at the University of Texas. Then came his run as head coach at the University of Florida. Muschamp was heralded as the perfect replacement for Urban Meyer, and it looked like it would be such when the Gators went 11-2 and made the Sugar Bowl in 2012. Then came the 2013 and 2014 seasons which saw the Gators achieve new lows in football and contributed to Muschamp resigning. This era contained "highlights" such as:
** A complete regression in the offense as the Gators hadn't ranked higher than 103rd nationally even in the year they made the Sugar Bowl.
** A regression in starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. Once considered to be the best recruit of the 2010 class, he performed worse and worse to the point where NFL and College Football Hall of Famer and former Florida running back Emmitt Smith publicly called for Driskel to be benched on Twitter.
** A 4–8 record in 2013, their first losing season since 1979.
** A 34–10 blowout loss at home against perennial loser Vanderbilt...who hadn't won beaten Florida in Gainesville since ''UsefulNotes/WorldWarII''.
** A 26–20 loss to Georgia Southern -- the first time in school history that Florida had ever lost to a FCS school. It's not exactly unheard of for a FCS school to beat a FBS school, but the way that Georgia Southern did it is important -- Georgia Southern defeated the Gators '''''without completing a pass'''''.
** Members of the Gators offensive line blocking each other...''twice''.
* The Tennessee Volunteers have been hit with this ever since Philip Fulmer left in 2008, and these are just the coaches responsible:
** Lane Kiffin went one and done before leaving for USC, causing local outrage... and that was ''before'' it was discovered he had engaged in improper recruiting schemes while at UT.
** Derek Dooley brought the Vols three losing seasons, one bowl appearance, and the "Dumbass Miracle" that was the most embarrassing fail UT would suffer in 2010.
** For a while, things looked up with Butch Jones... and then, in 2016, came allegations of a "rape culture" developing under his watch.
* The Pittsburgh Panthers were once a major force in college football. Under coach Johnny Majors, they won their ninth national title in 1976 and consistently reached major bowls throughout the '70s and early '80s with coaches Jackie Sherrill, Foge Fazio, and quarterback Dan Marino. After a Fiesta Bowl loss in 1983, the team went 3-8 the following year, beginning a drastic downslide. The team made only two minor bowls between 1984 and 1997; even Majors' return in the mid-90s did little more than tarnish his reputation. Pitt rebuilt drastically under Walt Harris, reaching several bowls including the 2004 Fiesta Bowl (where [[CurbStompBattle they were crushed by Utah, 35–7]]). As of this writing, they've managed eight consecutive bowl appearances, though still haven't matched their peak in the '70s and '80s.[[/folder]]

[[folder:National Football League]]
* Following a disappointing 1992 season, the Chicago Bears decided to fire longtime head coach Mike Ditka and replace him with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Word to the wise: never bring up the [[BerserkButton Wannstedt era]] in a conversation with a Bears fan (or that of Wannstedt's successor, Dick Jauron). It didn't help Wannstedt when Jim Harbaugh walked after the 1993 season. Also, a series of poor draft picks (John Thierry, Curtis Enis, Cade [=McNown=], David Terrell) ensured that the Bears would stay in that DorkAge for some time. Nor did it help when Ricky Williams walked, ten years later when Wannstedt was the coach of the Miami Dolphins. Still, his popularity among Miami Dolphins fans is likewise rather low.
* The entire Jimmy Johnson era and legacy is in turn a dork age for the Dolphins. Johnson's insistence that it would be his team, built his way, meant clashes with Marino (particularly over Johnson's attempts to trade him), the team's best player; and Johnson used high picks on running backs such as John Avery and James Johnson (no relation), who ended up as role players at best. And he brought in Cecil "the Diesel" Collins, who went to prison for probation violations before even playing a season (he was only a fifth-round pick, but the embarrassment was still strong). Johnson resigned in 1999, and hand-selected Wannstedt as his successor, and the Dolphins have been ordinary (at best) ever since.
* The San Diego Chargers were in a Dork Age from 1996 through 2003, where they failed to make the playoffs and never won more than half of their games. The Ryan Leaf era (1998 and 2000) deserves a special mention, as he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and became one of the worst draft picks of all time. Leaf's 2000 campaign saw the Chargers go 1-15, they replaced him with Drew Brees at quarterback, and the rest is history.
* The first five years of Jerry Jones owning the Dallas Cowboys netted two Super Bowl championships. Then Jones fired coach Jimmy Johnson for daring to demand credit for the championships, thus establishing Jones as the only man in charge - and the Cowboys have suffered ever since. They had enough talent for one more championship in 1995, but have won two playoff games since, with the wins 13 years apart. Why? As one of the few sole general manager-owners in the league, Jones cannot draft fundamentals (like an offensive line) to save his life, frequently takes chances on players who had injury problems in college like [=DeMarco=] Murray (that have carried over into injury-plagued NFL seasons) and has on at least two occasions traded away multiple draft picks for underachievers like Joey Galloway and Roy Williams. While they eventually found some good skill players like linebacker/defensive end DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Dez Bryant, management's inability to draft the basics for a team has cost the Cowboys multiple chances at returning to prominence, especially since the advent of Tony Romo becoming the starting quarterback.
* Jimmy Johnson was replaced in 1994 by Barry Switzer, who was an accomplished college coach and a close friend of Jerry Jones. There were just a few problems with the man: first, he had integrity issues and an arrest record. Second, he coached the Oklahoma Sooners, mortal enemies to Texan football fans everywhere. Third, and most importantly, he was ''just too nice'', a hands-off guy in a league where it was typically a coach's way or the highway, and a talented team where many players reveled in their debauchery like rock stars. As a result, the Cowboys underachieved under Switzer, and it wasn't long before fans were screaming for his head.
* Green Bay was known as "NFL Siberia" from 1968, the year after Vince Lombardi retired as head coach, and 1992 when General Manager Ron Wolf brought in Mike Holmgren to coach, traded for Brett Favre, and signed Reggie White following the season. To give some perspective, they [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome won five championships in Lombardi's final seven years]] and made the playoffs six straight times after signing Reggie White, including two NFC titles and a Super Bowl.
** The Packers' plummet to mediocrity and occasional awfulness post-Lombardi era was partly driven by poor draft selections. For a classic example, collegiate stud Jerry Tagge (from perennial powerhouse Nebraska) was drafted 11th overall in 1972 as future Hall of Famer Bart Starr's heir apparent at quarterback. In three seasons with the Packers, Tagge passed for three touchdowns and ''seventeen'' interceptions, and was ironically cut by Starr himself, who had, by 1974, taken over as Green Bay's head coach.
** There was also the infamous trade for star quarterback John Hadl, who was still clearly past his prime when the Packers sent five mostly high future draft picks (two first-rounders, two second-rounders, a third-rounder) to the Los Angeles Rams to acquire his services. Hadl "rewarded" Green Bay with nine TD pases and a whopping 29 interceptions combined in 1974 and 1975.
** The Mike Sherman years definitely qualify as their latest Dork Age. In addition to being their coach, he was also given the mantle of general manager after Ron Wolf retired. To say this was a colossal mistake was an understatement; Sherman's scouting abilities were virtually nonexistent and resulted in such [[SarcasmMode stellar draft picks]] as Ahmad "Highway 28" Carroll and B.J. Sander. The latter was taken in the third round, and he was a punter. That Sherman ''traded up'' to get. In addition to that, photos surfaced of him asleep at the player combines, which only fueled the fire against him. While they posted decent records under Sherman and won the NFC North three times, they struggled in the playoffs. The Packers suffered their first home playoff loss under his tenure, a 27–7 asskicking at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, and also their second, a 31–17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in 2005. The 2005 season resulted in a 4–12 record, the first losing season for the Packers since 1991, and resulted in Sherman's firing. Some argue that the seeds of Brett Favre's diva attitude were sown here as well; whereas Mike Holmgren wasn't afraid to smack him upside the head when he did something stupid, Sherman's coaching philosophy seemed to be "Brett can do whatever the hell he wants." It's no coincidence that his interceptions trended higher in this period, culminating in a 29-interception season in 2005. When Mike [=McCarthy=] was hired, everyone rejoiced.
** The Packers had a DorkAge between Curly Lambeau's departure and Vince Lombardi's arrival that nearly turned out to be a FranchiseKiller. The Packers went through five different head coaches between 1950 and 1958 and posted their all-time worst record, 1–10–1 in 1958, just narrowly avoiding bankruptcy almost every season. So shaky was their financial situation that the league threatened to fold the franchise or permanently move it to Milwaukee (where they had been playing two "home away from home" games each season).
** Averted after Brett Favre's "retirement." The departure of a long-time face of the franchise is usually one of the largest causes of DorkAge in sports, but thanks to Aaron Rodgers and company, the Packers had their greatest period of success since the Lombardi years. The Packers defeated the New York Giants (the same team that handed the Packers a loss in Brett Favre's final appearance in Green Bay) on December 26, 2010 and did not lose another game until December 18, 2011, racking up 19 straight wins including Super Bowl XLV, just three years following Favre's departure.
* The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be the kings of this trope in sports. Their image was cemented when they were winless for their entire inaugural season and almost all of the second, an NFL-record 26-game losing streak from 1976 to 1977. This was partially due to a horrendous rash of injuries, as they were not provided medical information on players prior to the expansion draft, but also largely due to coach John [=McKay=]'s decision to use younger players with potential, rather than older players who would be ready to retire by the time the team was good.
** While some of the younger inaugural Bucs had potential (brothers Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon, both rookie defensive linemen out of Oklahoma) and some of the veterans (quarterback Steve Spurrier, defensive end Pat Toomay) had decent, if not stellar NFL careers beforehand, the team also had its share of players who'd be out of a job if not for the Bucs, and were often out of the NFL after their run with the Bucs ended. These included giant left tackle Steve Young (no, not THAT [[NamesTheSame Steve Young]] who replaced Joe Montana on the 49ers), 190-pound linebacker James "Psycho" Sims, who originally played defensive back at USC, and several other ex-USC players coached by [=McKay=], including his slow, undersized wide receiver of a son, John [=McKay=] Jr., who, unsurprisingly, [[{{Nepotism}} was a starter]].
** Eventually, [=McKay=]'s youth-first strategy was successful: they made the playoffs in their fourth season, the quickest of any American major professional sports franchise to that point. But the 1982 players' strike divided the team and destroyed [=McKay=]'s enthusiasm for coaching. Then a series of unproductive drafts coincided with the veteran players' aging and the emergence of the USFL, so the team went very quickly from being a championship contender to the worst team in the league. They finished with losing records for each of the 14 seasons from 1983 to 1996, and their constant coaching turnover resulted also in a constant turnover of players, with nobody ever in place for long enough to finish the rebuilding job. This streak included selecting Bo Jackson with the first pick in the 1986 draft, only to see him refuse to sign with the team and instead sign a baseball contract; and trading a 1992 first-round pick (which became the second-overall pick in the draft) for Chris Chandler, who played for less than one full season with the team. It was not until Rich [=McKay=] and Tony Dungy improved the team's personnel selection and coaching in the mid-1990s that their situation improved.
** One bad draft that stands out was the 1982 draft, where the Bucs wanted to select [[http://www.si.com/longform/nfl-draft-82/ Booker Reese]], a super-athletic, yet extremely raw defensive end, with the 17th overall pick. A communications snafu led Tampa Bay to mistakenly use that pick on their second choice Sean Farrell, a talented and polished offensive tackle who ended up having a good NFL career. The Bucs, wanting to have their cake and eat it too, wanted to trade up for Reese in the second round, and were so desperate for a deal that they sent their first-round pick in the 1983 draft to Chicago for the rights to Reese. Reese was a huge, drug-addled bust in the pros, while the Bears used that pick (18th overall) to select Willie Gault, who had a successful pro career at wide receiver. Much worse, ''Dan Freaking Marino'' was still on the board at that time, and the Bucs needed a quarterback in the worst way possible.
* The Washington Redskins are enduring one right now, and have been ever since [[ExecutiveMeddling executive meddler extraordinaire]] Daniel [[TyrantTakesTheHelm Snyder]] took over. Despite being the most profitable team in the league, the team has perenially underperformed due to Snyder's interference: the team has had seven head coaches in 12 years, posted a losing record through 2000–10 (86–106) and has constantly favored flashy style over substance on the field. Moreover, Snyder's moneygrubbing and intolerance of dissent has ''definitely'' rubbed fans the wrong way; Washington fans are the only fans in the nation charged to see their team in preseason, and since 2009 banned all signs from the stadium. Many Redskins fans eagerly await Snyder's departure, to put it lightly. It's gotten much worse eventually with the controversy over the team's name being offensive. Even longtime Redskins fans are now turning against the team and its institution for its refusal to change anything at all with a negative connotation towards American Indians. By 2016, once-unheralded Kirk Cousins has stepped up as an elite quarterback and erased bad memories of two horrible seasons and onetime potential Hall of Famer Robert Griffin III's injury- and attitude-fueled descent to mediocrity. Time will tell if Cousins isn't another flash in the pan, and if Dan Snyder's executive meddling doesn't halt the positive momentum following the team's successful 2015 season.
* The NFL's St. Louis Rams' downward spiral.
** 2005 started the decline with a 6-10 season. After Mike Martz was fired following the 2005 season, the Rams hired [[TheScrappy Scott Linehan]] to be their head coach. They quickly jumped to a 4–1 start, only to finish 8–8. However, things went sour. They finished the next two seasons 3–13 and 2–14; with the defense ranked dead last both seasons. During the 2008 season, the Rams fired Linehan and replaced him with Jim Haslett after an 0–4 start. The architect of part of the Rams' Dork Age, Jay Zygmunt, resigned before the 2008 season was over and Billy Devaney took over and eventually became GM. Steve Spagnuolo, hyped as being the next best head coach ever, was hired. Despite a dreadful 1–15 season, they kept Spags and drafted Sam Bradford to replace Marc Bulger (who was released on April 5, 2010). They struggled early on in the 2010 season, going 0–2, then going 7–7 afterwards. However, they lost a key game against Seattle on the road, finishing 2010 with a 7–9 record and losing the division to the Seahawks ''on a tiebreaker''. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was hired by the Cleveland Browns and then replaced by [[ReplacementScrappy Josh McDaniels]]. Fast forward to the 2011 season, when the Rams lost their first six games despite being favorites to win the NFC West. Fans blamed the team's dead-last offensive ranking on Bradford, [[MisBlamed but failed to note that the weak O-line hardly did anything to protect him.]] They neglected to pick up any wide receivers, except for signing a washed-up Mike Sims-Walker. Seems they built the team ''around'' Steven Jackson instead of Sam Bradford.
** And there's the ownership. At the beginning of the Dork Age, polarizing owner Georgia Frontiere was near death and had her son, film producer Chip Rosenbloom, running the team. Once Rosenbloom inherited the team, he more or less was trying to make the team so bad that he could move them back to Los Angeles and sell to the highest bidder. Minority owner Stan Kroenke put a stop to that by putting the NBA Denver Nuggets and NHL Colorado Avalanche up for sale to buy him and his wife's share of the team. Dealing with the fan apathy, however, has been another issue completely, and in 2016 Kroenke moved the team back to Los Angeles.
** As for Spagnuolo himself, after his firing in 2011, he became the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints (who were without head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the 2012 season for his involvement in the Bountygate scandal). Spags' defense set a dubious record of allowing 7,042 yards of total offense, the most in league history. This led to his firing by Payton following his reinstatement. After a stint as a secondary coach with the Ravens from 2013-2014, he would return to the New York Giants as a DC in the 2015 season; his defense allowed 6,725 yards of total offense, the third worst in league history.
* The Pittsburgh Steelers' early history. Their first 39 seasons featured only eight winning records, no playoff wins, and no titles. In 1969, they hired Chuck Noll as head coach and he began to build the Steelers into a solid contender. They recorded their first playoff win in 1972 (the famous "Immaculate Reception" Game) and eventually went on to claim four Super Bowl titles before the end of the decade. When the players from the '70s dynasty inevitably retired, the Steelers fell back into another Dork Age in the '80s. After Noll finally stepped down in 1991 and Bill Cowher became head coach, the Steelers returned to their winning ways, but they weren't completely out of the Dork Age due to [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut constantly fizzling out in the playoffs]], the most glaring losses coming in the '94, '97, 2001, and 2004 AFC Championship Games, at home nonetheless, as well as Super Bowl XXX against the Cowboys. Cowher finally won a championship in 2005 before retiring after the 2006 season. With current coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have played in two more Super Bowls with one victory, haven't posted a losing season since 2003, and despite a few speedbumps as key players from the later Super Bowls have retired, continue to remain perennial playoff contenders thanks to fresh talent ably taking their places.[[note]]one example of this would be the trio of receivers who have caught 500+ balls from QB Ben Roethlisberger, making him the only player to pull of that feat - the first two were tight end Heath Miller and wideout Hines Ward, who formed the core of Pittsburgh's passing game throughout the mid-to-late 2000's and early 2010's. The third is current lead wideout Antonio Brown, who was drafted in 2010 and is in the prime of his career as of 2016.[[/note]]
* When it comes to the Dork Age of Sports, Who Dey! Who Dey! Who Dey think gonna beat dem Cincinnati Bengals?! Twenty-five years without a playoff win. Seven playoff games = seven embarrassing losses; the last five, in a franchise-record playoffs streak from 2011–15, resulted in an NFL record for consecutive first round losses, including two squandered division titles (2013, 2015). A Who's Who List of Draft Busts and Questionable-at-Best Free Agent Pickups. A scouting department and coaching staffs full of [[YesMan Yes Men]]. A tortured fanbase ''foaming at the mouth'' for a better team. And the one constant string-puller in the last two decades of debacles? Mike Brown.
* After years of success in Oakland and Los Angeles, the Oakland Raiders entered a Dork Age after their 2003 curb-stomping by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII (Who were led by Jon Gruden, the head coach Al Davis practically gave away with contempt). In the ten seasons since, they haven't returned to the playoffs and only finished better than 5-11 three times, in 2010 and 2011 with 8–8 records, and 2015 at 7–9. All but the most apologetic NFL fans point to Al Davis' waning health and mental capabilities late in life, and his stubborn refusal step down as General Manager. Some fans think it actually started with Davis' falling out and eventual acrimonious split with running back Marcus Allen in 1993 (Allen left as a free agent and signed with the Raiders' bitter rival, Kansas City). Things have started turn around with Davis' son, Mark Davis, in control.
* The Detroit Lions fell into a long, mostly uninterrupted Dork Age since "The Curse of Bobby Layne" set in in 1958. Before this point, they had four NFL championships, including three in six seasons. Since then, the team has accumulated twelve total playoff games, one total playoff win (in 1991), zero Super Bowl appearances and the worst overall winning percentage of any team in the NFL. Barry Sanders, the team's longtime running back, retired before the 1999 season (at the top of his game!) because he was sick of playing for a lackluster team. "Sub-mediocre" is sometimes a generous description of the team's "prowess", never more so than the infamous "imperfect record" (0–16) season in 2008. The curse is supposedly over now (since Layne said "they wouldn't win for 50 years" when departing for Pittsburgh), but even in their following playoff appearances (2011 and 2014) they haven't really played like the Lions of old.
* The "new" Cleveland Browns.
** A once-successful franchise that was the home of legendary running back Jim Brown and a long history that included four NFL championships, and three title when they were part of the All-American Football Conference before that league folded and the Browns jumped to the NFL itself. Though they never won a championship in the "Super Bowl" era (1967 to present) they did have 14 playoff appearances and were, at worst, a respectable team. Then, in 1995, owner Art Modell controversially uprooted the franchise and moved them to Baltimore. The city of Cleveland filed a lawsuit and were allowed to hold on to the Browns name and history, in hopes of one day returning to play under a new franchise, which they were eventually awarded, and after a three-year hiatus, the Browns returned to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999. Since then, they've been a disaster, posting a 84–172 record through the 2014 season. They have had only two winning seasons (2002, 2007), and only made the playoffs once as a wild card team. The reason for the continued ineptitude are multiple, and include a revolving-door at both the head coach and Quarterback positions they can never seem to fix, years of bad draft picks, injuries, and embarrassing legal problems with the ownership. Playing in a tough division opposite Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh hasn't helped, either. To add salt to the wound, the "old" Cleveland Browns (now Baltimore Ravens) have since won two Super Bowls, while the "new" Browns are widely viewed as the league's ButtMonkey franchise.
** The quarterback position has been a particularly sore spot for the new Browns, as they've either had draft busts (Tim Couch, and, unless he sorts his life out, Johnny Manziel), nondescript journeymen (Kelly Holcomb, Josh and Luke [=McCown=]), or past-their-prime former studs (Jeff Garcia, Jake Delhomme) leading the team. As of the 2016 offseason, the team has had 24 starting quarterbacks in 17 seasons. Compare that to the New England Patriots, who have only had ''three'' starting [=QBs=] -- Drew Bledsoe, Creator/TomBrady, and Brady fill-in Matt Cassel -- over the same period of time.
** Brady's Deflategate suspension and the injury to his fill-in Jimmy Garoppolo boosted that number to five when rookie Jacoby Brissett started in Garoppolo's place in Week 3 of the 2016 season, now tying with the Green Bay Packers (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien) and the New York Giants (Kent Graham, Kerry Collins, Jesse Palmer, Kurt Warner, Eli Manning). Still, five is much less than the Browns' current (as of 2016 season) count of 26!
* The New York Jets went through this from the 1994 to the 1996 seasons, which started with the Fake Spike Game between the Jets and the Dolphins, that resulted in them losing their last four games and the firing of Pete Carroll. The following season, the Jets hired Rich Kotite as the new head coach and general manager. Kotite infamously passed up highly-touted defensive tackle Warren Sapp for tight end Kyle Brady in the 1995 draft, despite the Jets already drafting one three years ago. During Kotite's tenure, the Jets finished 3-13 and 1-15, and eventually, Kotite resigned at the end of the season.
* Nine of the ten American Football League teams have points of pride they can point to from the league's ten-year history. Six of the original eight won championships, Boston (now New England) had a Championship appearance in 1963 and sported several future Hall-of-Famers, Miami was the first AFL expansion team and brought pro football to Florida, and Cincinnati brought Paul Brown back to pro football. And then there's the Denver Broncos, who were the league's perennial doormat. The only team of the original eight to never post a winning season, they also had the additional stigma of sporting one of the [[http://blog.heritagesportsart.com/2010/08/denver-broncos-uniform-and-team-history.html all-time ugliest uniforms in all of pro sports]] for their first three years. Broncos fans tend not to EVER bring up their AFL years, though things did get much better post-NFL/AFL merger, with the "Orange Crush" defense driving the Broncos' success in the '70s, and John Elway leading the team to more success in the '80s and '90s.
* The New York Giants have had great success in multiple eras -- the late-'50s and early-'60s with Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, and Sam Huff, the mid-'80s to early-'90s with Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, and, in subsequent years, their two Eli Manning-led Super Bowl teams. But they've also had about just as many Dork Ages.
** The first Dork Age of Giants football came in 1946, when star quarterback Frank Filchock and fullback Merle Hapes were banned from the NFL for their roles in a betting scandal, where a gambler allegedly paid them off to fix the 1946 championship against the Chicago Bears. Post-betting scandal, the Giants dropped from 7-3-1 in 1946 to 2-8-2 in 1947, and didn't recover until QB Charlie Conerly's rise to stardom in the early-'50s.
** There's the '70s Dork Age, which featured past-their-prime [=QBs=] Craig Morton and Norm Snead, and mediocre youngster Joe Pisarcik (he of the infamous fumble that led to the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_at_the_Meadowlands Miracle at the Meadowlands]]) at quarterback. From 1973 to 1980, the Giants finished either fourth or fifth (and last) in their division, though by 1979, they'd made one big move to end this Dork Age, drafting Phil Simms as their quarterback of the future.
** After winning Super Bowl XXV, the rough, gruff, yet brilliant and successful Bill Parcells retired from football, with his head coaching job going to Ray Handley. One of his first moves was to have a gimpy, yet still capable Simms battle it out for starting QB with Super Bowl XXV hero Jeff Hostetler, who was a capable fill-in, but not franchise QB material. And while he seemed at first to be a nicer guy than Parcells, media, and ultimately players, didn't see him that way, as he refused to take accountability for the Giants' descent "from the Super Bowl to the toilet bowl". Handley was gone after going 14-18 in two seasons (1991-92), and while Dan Reeves led the Giants to an 11-5 record in 1993, the team turned over the QB reins to the disappointing Dave Brown in 1994. And Danny Kanell in 1997 when Brown wasn't cutting it. And while their record under those two [=QBs=] (a combined 38-41-1) isn't ''that'' bad, it can be said that the Giants achieved such a record despite of, and not because of their quarterbacks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:National Hockey League]]
* TheSeventies was this for North American hockey in general. Over-expansion and a [[TheRival rival league]] in the World Hockey Association drained the talent pool, and minor leagues that once featured talent to rival the NHL in the Original Six era degenerated into the chaotic world that inspired ''Film/SlapShot''. The leagues that didn't completely collapse limped their way through the decade. Even the NHL saw franchise instability, as teams relocated, merged, and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. The WHA was even more unstable, with only six of sixteen total franchises (never more than 14 in one season) reaching the finish line in 1979, and only four being accepted into the NHL.
* Due to its extremely small market, the Edmonton Oilers have had this problem caused often.
** The rare aversion in their history came, oddly enough, when UsefulNotes/WayneGretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. At first, it began as a textbook DorkAge when the Kings beat the Oilers in the 1989 playoffs, but Edmonton averted it by winning the Stanley Cup the following year with Mark Messier as the face of the franchise. The year following the Oilers' Cup win, Messier was traded to the New York Rangers, beginning one of two Dork Ages.
** Beloved forward Ryan Smyth was the centerpiece of the second DorkAge. Just like Gretzky and Messier, the Oilers could not afford to keep Smyth, who was set to enter free agency at the end of the year. At the 2007 trade deadline, a year after he was the centerpiece of an improbable Cup run, Smyth was sent to the New York Islanders for prospects. The Oilers finished the 2006–07 season on a 2–16–1 slide, knocking them out of playoff contention. As of 2014, they have yet to return to the playoffs, racking up three consecutive number 1 draft picks between 2010 and 2012.
* In 1995, Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy demanded a trade after a major falling out with coach Mario Tremblay after Tremblay refused to pull him after allowing five goals in the first period of what ultimately ended up being an 11–1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings (Roy was finally given the yank in the second period after allowing his ninth goal). Roy would end up winning two more Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, it took 16 years for the Canadiens to find a stable goalie after Carey Price finally took the reins from Jaroslav Halak.
* Many NHL teams hit extreme slumps after success. For example, the Detroit Red Wings were better known as the "Dead Things" after Gordie Howe retired (until Steve Yzerman took over...15 years later), the Chicago Blackhawks took two rebuilds to get back to mediocrity, and the Washington Capitals spent several years as a bottom feeder team before rebounding.
* The Toronto Maple Leafs had the Harold Ballard era. Ballard made a habit of trading off popular players in exchange for magic beans, firing coaches frequently, and generally pissing off everyone within earshot. Ballard went off the deep end by canceling a youth game at the Gardens because his [[MoralEventHorizon grandson was slated to play in it]]. By the 1980s, the Leafs were the laughingstock of the NHL all because of Ballard's actions. On a lesser note, the 9-year playoff drought between 2005 and 2012. Particularly the last, as the team lead its division for some time, and got eliminated after losing 9 of 10 games, only making 24 points to the end of their season, finishing at 13th on the East. Even when they returned, they overcame and tied a series which the Bruins were winning 3–1, but lost Game 7 after losing a game the Leafs were leading 4–1!
* Similar to Ballard, the above mentioned Chicago Blackhawks had their own ZeroPercentApprovalRating owner in William Wirtz, also known as "Dollar Bill" for being a greedy tightwad. Add InvisibleAdvertising, blocking local broadcasts of home games, raising ticket prices, [[http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=johnson/060417_blackhawks and plain mismanagement]], from 1997 to 2008 the Hawks hit RockBottom, with many Chicago fans preferring the minor-league Chicago Wolves. The team has since rebounded after Wirtz died in 2007 and his son Rocky led the Hawks to three Stanley Cups, but to show how bad things were, the fans at the United Center booed the memorial for the universally reviled "Dollar Bill" at the 2007–08 home opener.
* Poor, poor Canada, ever since the Vancouver Canucks got their butt whipped in 1994, Canadian teams have been in a complete DorkAge, unable to win the Cup ever since. Some claimed it was the Riot Curse which was renewed in 2011 when angry fans tore up the town after Vancouver got completely shut out by the Bruins at home. Some think the 2013 Lockout was a nice breather as it gives them something to think about. This got really bad in 2013, the 20th year of the Canadian NHL cup drought was perhaps one of the worst, an early exit at the World Hockey Championship, the Senators being the last to fall while the Vancouver Canucks not only got swept out of the playoffs but had a ''six game skid'' to add salt to the wound. The 2015-16 season then hit a collective nadir for Canada: on March 31, 2016, all 7 Canadian teams missed the playoffs with the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Washington Capitals in a shootout, mathematically eliminating the Ottawa Senators from clinching the final wild card spot. Now Canadians are forced to watch America take the whole spotlight in the hunt for Lord Stanley's Cup.
* Many Hockey fans will tell you that the NHL is currently going through one long Dork Age under the leadership of Commissioner Gary Bettman. Why, you may ask? Let's count the reasons:
** 1. Two seasons shortened and another ''cancelled'' by work stoppages [[note]] 1994–95, 2012–13, and 2004–05, for the record[[/note]].
** 2. Five franchise relocations [[note]] Minnesota North Stars (Dallas Stars), Quebec Nordiques (Colorado Avalanche), the original Winnipeg Jets (Arizona Coyotes), Hartford Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes), and Atlanta Thrashers (the "new" Winnipeg Jets)[[/note]].
** 3. Several expansions into Southern markets that are either uninterested or unsupportive of their new hockey teams. The financial situation of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes has been bad enough at times that the ''league'' itself has stepped in to run them while still insisting that the franchise is viable long-term. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Thrashers drew so poorly, they were uprooted and awarded back to Winnipeg in what could almost be seen as an apology to Canadian fans who'd lost two franchises south to the US.
** 4. Selling ESPN's television broadcast rights to the NHL to what was at the time, the nearly-unheard-of Outdoor Life Network, that later became Versus. Hockey fans [[SarcasmMode took pride]] that their sport was on the same network as PBR Bull Riding and Dirt Track racing. And even then the coverage of Hockey was notoriously bad. Only much later under the new name of NBC Sports Network has it gotten any better.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tennis]]
* Ever since Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi retired in the early 2000s, American men's UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}} has been in a bad slump, with the only true stand-out American male player since 2003 being Andy Roddick who won just one Grand Slam and spent the vast majority of his career being overshadowed by Roger Federer (and Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray...). A couple of other Americans (John Isner, Mardy Fish) have managed to make it into the top 10 at one point or another, but none of them have been able to stay there for a prolonged amount of time or be serious Slam contenders and with Roddick retiring from tennis in 2012, no true candidates to take his place have emerged yet.
* Women's tennis in general has acquired a reputation for inconsistency and underwhelming performances ever since Justine Henin's retirement in 2008, with the World No. 1 spot being frequently occupied by players who hadn't won a single Grand Slam in their careers (Jelena Jankovic in 2008, Dinara Safina in 2009, Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 and 2011) and were just a little more consistent than the actual Slam winners who were either sidelined by injuries or had a bad habit of following up their wins with first-round losses to inferior players. It might have started to stabilize lately, though, with the Williams sisters back in serious contention and Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova back at the top of their games.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Philippine Basketball Association]]
* The PBA had a Dork Age of its own for most of the 1980s. Crispa and Toyota, the league's two most popular and successful teams, disbanded in quick succession. In fact, lots of teams were sold or outright disbanded, and from 1985 to 1988, the once ten-strong league was down to six full-time teams. The stars who made Crispa and Toyota great quickly showed their age, while there was a noticeable dearth in quality talent from the collegiate ranks and amateur leagues. Defense was also nonexistent, as teams mailed it in with scores resembling the '80s Denver Nuggets on uppers. Sure, there was the ascendance of Ginebra as the people's team, thanks to the arrival of "Living Legend" Robert Jaworski in 1984, and Billy Ray Bates was a talented, exciting American "import" for the same team. But by and large, the PBA went through a long slump in attendance, popularity, and talent level until 1989, when young players like Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio, and Jojo Lastimosa proved worthy replacements for the old guard, and the mostly youthful San Miguel Beermen won a Grand Slam, winning all three "conferences" in the season.
* Some will argue that the PBA in the mid-2010s is also going through a new Dork Age. Reasons include a lack of effort on defense, high scores as a result of said lack of defense,[[note]]A complete inverse of American fans' reaction to Uglyball, as described above in the NBA section[[/note]] no parity, what with two expansion teams making it a 12-team league in 2014, and bullshit trades that benefit contenders and make also-rans look like farm teams.
* Ginebra San Miguel went through a Dork Age in the early-mid '90s that was so bad, Filipino singer-songwriter Gary Granada [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQuFFWFAy2Y wrote a song about it]] and made it a big radio hit. (The song is called "Kapag Natatalo Ang Ginebra", or "When Ginebra Loses" when translated in English.) The Dork Age started in 1993, as the team's Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" {{Expy}} lineup disintegrated due to age and injury, and while Ginebra thought the best way to avert a slide was to trade a promising rookie draftee (Vic Pablo) for two proven veterans (Manny Victorino and Ponky Alolor), they were both aging, soft, and a shadow of their old selves. 1994 first-overall pick Noli Locsin reminded many of NBA star Charles Barkley, but it didn't prevent Ginebra (then briefly known as Tondena) from another miserable finish. Their nadir, however, came in 1995, when the team selected 7-footer EJ Feihl second overall (he was an utter bust) and the [[{{Nepotism}} coach's son]], [[TheScrappy Robert "Dudut" Jaworski Jr.]] in the second round (he wasn't pro-caliber by any means). Fortunately, things started to look up in 1996, when the team got a skilled big man, Marlou Aquino, as their first-overall pick, and signed 1995 second-rounder Bal David to play point guard, thus ending that Dork Age. Eventually, Ginebra (now Barangay Ginebra, named after the team's die-hard fanbase) entered in the midst of another Dork Age. While most Ginebra teams haven't been bad, they have nonetheless been painted as underachievers, with gaudy stats tending to hide a failure to come up big when it matters. It doesn't help much that their once-stellar backcourt of Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand is definitely showing their age. Ginebra's inability to win any conference championship since 2008 has led their "Manila Clasico" games with bitter rival/sister team Purefoods/Star (also in a Dork Age circa 2016) to be derisively dubbed the "Boracay Cup", in reference to Boracay being the Philippines' top beach attraction, and the tendency of both teams to go on early "vacations" after getting eliminated.
** With Barangay Ginebra having won their first championship in eight years in the 2015-16 Governor's Cup, there's a strong possibility Ginebra has finally ended its Dork Age.
* And speaking of Star, 2016 has marked the dawn of the team's most notorious Dork Age. After legendary head coach Tim Cone left for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings (see above) for the 2015-16 season, he was replaced by Jason Webb, a former PBA backup point guard and analyst who had not a whit of PBA coaching experience ahead of his hiring. Immediately, he tried to fix things that weren't broken, eschewing Star's tradition of defensive-oriented halfcourt basketball for a more uptempo style, and putting a bigger premium on youth when the team had often done just fine with an older, veteran lineup and short, seven-to-eight-man rotations.[[note]]Putting things in context, it's like transforming a successful Larry Brown-coached team into an unsuccessful Expy of Steve Kerr's Golden State Warriors.[[/note]] In the end, Webb was fired following an underachieving 2015-16 season. It doesn't help, though, that rumors have been swirling about the Star franchise being sold, and that when Star management denies rumors, those rumors eventually become reality. (Cone's transfer from Star to Ginebra being the quintessential example.)
[[/folder]]
[[folder:Handball]]
* The German national team (which is just as much a world power in Handball as it is in soccer) after their win of the 2007 world cup. Before that, they had been to the final of the 2003 World Cup, to the final of the 2002 European Championship and won the 2004 European Championship, after that the flunked to fifth, elevnth, fifth and not even qualified[[note]] They did get a totally bogus "wild card" because the International Handball Federation could not afford to lose out on the German market - Germany ultimately placed seventh[[/note]] in World Cups and fourth, tenth, seventh and ''note even qualified''[[note]] [[RealityEnsues No Wild Card this time]] [[/note]] in European Championships. Until they made a few adjustments, hired Dagur Sigurðsson from Iceland as their manager and managed a DarkHorseVictory in the 2016 European Championship. Whether that is the new normal or only the setup for yet more embarrassing defeat remains to be seen.
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