A Historic Streak in Pro Sports is on the Line Sunday

By: Andrew Gardner

As sports fans, we celebrate the legendary players, moments, and records that define how we consume what we are watching. Statistics and records allow us to compare players and teams across eras, create debates on who was the best, and discuss moments we believe to be unforgettably iconic.

The accomplishments of our favorite teams and athletes are a passion for any true sports fan. It immortalizes those teams and the athletes. Most sports fans are knowledgeable about the 111 consecutive wins by UCONN Women's Basketball from 2014 - 2017, the fact that Michael Jordan is 6-0 in his NBA Finals appearances, or that the New York Yankees have won the most World Series Championships (27).

There's also something intriguing about the opposite of an accomplishment in sports. There's no reason to bring up the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, a Major League Baseball (MLB) team who went 20-134, finishing with the worst MLB record of all-time. Unless of course there is a current Major League Baseball team, the 2023 Oakland Athletics, who are currently sitting at 14-50, which would put them on pace to win a total of 34 total games, the lowest in the modern era of baseball. You can't help but compare, even though it's been 124 years since the Spiders took the field. 

Who could forget the infamous 'Butt Fumble' - a play so bad - it resulted in Mark Sanchez, QB for the New York Jets, losing possession of the football after ramming his face into the buttocks of his right guard, Brandon Moore. The play generated so much hype, it even has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the play

Despite the initial match-up on paper for the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds clash against the Detroit Mechanix looking like another standard game, there's something much more sinister bubbling on the surface for the Mechanix.

To date, the Mechanix have lost a staggering number of games in a row. 'The Streak', which has garnered so much attention that it's received its own name, currently sits at 64 consecutive losses. To put that into context by zooming out to all Professional sports, Google seems to indicate that the longest losing streak of all-time by any team in any sport is held by the Prairie View A&M Panthers, who lost 80 consecutive games from 1989 - 1998. If the Mechanix lose the remaining 9 games in the 2023 AUDL (American Ultimate Disc League) Season, they could potentially pass the 80-loss threshold by mid-2024. 

Mark Fedorenko of the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds throws a backhand vs the Detroit Mechanix, 2018.

The last time the Mechanix tasted victory was on April 29th, 2017 when they defeated the then Chicago Wildfire by a score of 23-14. During their ensuing losing streak, the Mechanix lost by four or less goals only 13 times. The nail-biting highlight in all of this is that 8 of those 13 contests within 4 goals were all contests between the Thunderbirds and the Mechanix. 

In fact, the closest the Mechanix have had to breaking the streak came on July 6th, 2019 where the Mechanix lost to the Thunderbirds 24-23 in a sudden death, double overtime.


The Mechanix have even embodied this pursuit on their channels. Pulled directly from their website: "The focus and dialogue of the Mechanix has pivoted to one goal: Break the Streak. With over 1,500 days since we have seen a victory on the field, we must target this singular objective and be tenacious in its pursuit....be in attendance for the game where the streak is broken and submit your email address and information upon exiting the venue. The first 500 to do so will receive an “I was there when they broke the streak” T-shirt listing the date, opponent and score."

Cam Bellando of the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds makes a flying block against the Detroit Mechanix in 2022. Photo: Jeff Gamza

Now, every time these two teams meet, the pressurization rises. No team wants to be cemented within the history books of 'The Streak'. It's much more intriguing and calming to review it from afar, much like the 'Butt Fumble'. 

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds take on the Detroit Mechanix on Sunday, June 11th at Highmark Stadium. First pull is at 2:00PM EDT.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.

Single game tickets are $10 online or at the gate, $5 for groups of 10 or more, and all youth 8 and under will receive free admission.