The Edmonton Elks' record-tying home loss on July 13, 2023. The Edmonton Elks’ record-tying home loss on July 13, 2023. (@CFL on Twitter.)

It has now been 1,371 days since Edmonton’s Canadian Football League team won a home game. In fact, they have never won at home under their current name, the Edmonton Elks (a change made in June 2021). Their last home win came Oct. 12, 2019, against the B.C. Lions. Since then, they’ve lost 20 straight home games, including a 37-29 defeat at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Thursday night. And that 20th consecutive home loss equals the worst mark ever seen in any of North America’s four biggest professional sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL), a mark set 70 years ago by MLB’s St. Louis Browns (who promptly moved to Baltimore the next season and became the Orioles):

And Thursday’s loss had plenty of embarrassing moments in its own right. Perhaps most notable was Elks’ quarterback Taylor Cornelius’ attempt to avoid a sack by throwing the ball away with his left hand…right into the arms of Ticats’ defensive back Stavros Katsantonis, who took it back for a pick-six (as seen at the top).

It’s worth noting that the Elks’ since-2019 futility hasn’t just been at home. After that win over B.C., they lost the final two games of that regular season to finish 8-10. And while they earned a crossover playoff berth and pulled off a road win there against the Montreal Alouettes, they fell to Hamilton in the East Final, and head coach Jason Maas was fired after that. The 2020 season was then canceled due to COVID-19, which produced two further bizarre stats; the team shifted their name to “Edmonton Football Team” that year but never actually played under that moniker, and current Ticats’ QB coach Scott Milanovich was named as head coach of the team in December 2019 but never coached a game, resigning in January 2021 to join the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

Edmonton replaced Milanovich with Jaime Elizondo, who led the Elks to a 3-13 record in the COVID-shortened 2021 season. They then fired him and replaced him with current head coach and general manager Chris Jones (who had previously coached the team from 2014-15, winning a Grey Cup that latter year) in December 2021, but Jones only put up a 4-14 mark last season. And the Elks are now 0-6 on the year, including being shut out for the first time in almost 47 years in June and an absolutely embarrassing loss on a rouge last week. So they’re not just bad at home, they’re bad everywhere. But the home losing streak is truly historic, as TSN’s Dave Naylor explored in a feature before the game Thursday:

Even in losing streaks, though, there’s still room for good individual performances. For the 1953 Browns, the best came from pitcher Don Larsen (who, three years later with the New York Yankees, would throw the only perfect game in World Series history to date), who led the team with 3.7 wins above replacement (by Baseball-Reference’s calculation). But they also had two other strong pitchers (2.6 bWAR each) in Harry Breechen and the legendary Satchel Paige, whose 47th birthday came the day before the Browns finally snapped that streak on July 8.

Meanwhile, the Elks have some promising players of their own. Those include newly-signed QB Jarret Doege, who threw for 201 yards and a touchdown in relief of Cornelius Thursday, and Kyran Moore, who made four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. We’ll see if they and others can help Edmonton snap this steak at their next home game on July 29, or if the currently 4-1 B.C. The Lions will give the Elks another loss and move them past the Browns.

[Bruce McCurdy on Twitter; image from @CFL on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.