Seattle Seahawks Fans, be proud we are No. 1

Sorry, Buffalo. Bills fans can forever lament the string of AFC Championships that turned into four consecutive Super Bowl defeats, but when it comes to sports misery, you don’t own the podium.

You’re No. 4. That’s not even on the podium.

And sorry, Cleveland. LeBron James’ decision last summer to take his talents elsewhere laid the groundwork for a 26-game Cavaliers losing streak, longest in NBA history. Hope you enjoyed your moment – OK, your seven weeks – as a punch line during late-night television monologues.

But on the sports misery index, Cleveland, you’re ninth. Do you realize how irrelevant ninth place is in this competition? It’s well behind San Diego and even farther behind Phoenix, that’s how.

Then there’s Atlanta, home of the Braves. Those 14 division titles between 1991 and 2005 were converted into only one world championship, and yet Atlanta remains stymied in the misery-index rankings, waiting for the breakthrough that won’t be realized as long as the Mariners and Seahawks is in the mix.

Yep, Seattle is No. 1: Most Miserable Sports City in the U.S.

The distinction is courtesy of Forbes Magazine, which also ranked Seattle as America’s most miserable sports city in 2009, and again in 2010.

This kind of consistency should be admired. I mean, can you think of anything that’s remained top-of-the-chart miserable for three years and counting?

Besides Bill Belichick?

Some fans might take the Most Miserable tag on Seattle as insult, except there’s nothing to be insulted about.

The Forbes rankings don’t take the fan experience into account, or the opinion Qwest Field is regarded around the NFL the same way Safeco Field is regarded around baseball: As a critically acclaimed architectural gem.

The Forbes misery index doesn’t compute those perfect summer evenings for baseball, when the sun doesn’t set during a night game until the seventh-inning stretch, or the electricity in the crisp autumn air that accompanies a kickoff at Husky Stadium – an electricity so treasured by Jake Locker that the UW quarterback renounced millions of dollars in the 2010 NFL draft to return to school as a fifth-year senior.

Collegiate teams aren’t considered by Forbes, which limits its misery-index parameters to the four major sports: the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. So much for those who celebrated the Storm’s second WNBA championship in 2010, and so much for those fans of the Sounders FC, who’ve turned Qwest Field into the nerve center of American soccer.

Without the Storm and the Sounders in the equation – without the Huskies’ basketball team, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, and the football team, which gained revenge on Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl – it’s no wonder Seattle’s status as Most Miserable has stayed intact.

The Forbes misery index essentially measures major-sport championships. Seattle’s major-sport franchises have combined for one – by the 1979 Sonics, an achievement substantially offset in the misery-index formula by the fact the franchise no longer is associated with Seattle.

So until the Seahawks return from the Super Bowl with a victory, or the Mariners win the World Series, there’s an excellent chance that Seattle’s three-year reign as the Most Miserable Sports City in the United States could be extended to five years, seven years, 10 years – likely even longer.

And while Forbes Magazine explains the misery index in a tone-deaf-to-whimsy voice of a frumpy lecturer – it is, after all, Forbes Magazine – Forbes has given Seattle sports a label worthy of a badge.

Wear it with the assurance that there are many degrees of miserable.

A football franchise, born in 1976, without a Super Bowl trophy? A baseball franchise, born in 1977, without a World Series trophy? An NBA franchise gone?

That’s a miserable predicament for a fan, I suppose, but not as miserable as having to follow the dizzying NBA trade-deadline scenario of Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, who was rumored to be on his way to the New Jersey Nets, then to the New York Knicks, maybe the Lakers, then back to the Nets, back to the Knicks.

This stupidity went on for days. The days became weeks.

And Seattle is leads the nation in sports-misery index?

That’s how Forbes is calling it, and I’m not going to dispute three-year trends established by business publications.

This is the stuff of dominance.

Seattle is No.1. Maybe not always and forever, but for here and now, and probably well into the future.

Atlanta, I hope you remember those 14 division championships the Braves won. Because when it comes to the misery index, you are so in second place.