Color Boston titletown
The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup this week, which leads to a great pop quiz. Which of Boston’s major-league franchises has gone the longest without winning the championship? Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
Can you believe it? The NFL’s flagship franchise for sustained success actually has its city’s longest drought. The Patriots beat the Eagles 24-21 in February 2005. Since then, the Red Sox have won the 2007 World Series (to go with their 2004 title), the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title and now the Bruins. If the Patriots can win the Super Bowl next February, that’s a championship in all four sports in a period of less than 52 months.
Of course, Boston’s current reign is impressive. Titles in all four major team sports in a span of 76 months, which is six years and change. And yes, that’s the best grand slam in major-league history.
Six cities have won championships in all four major sports. I know; you’d think it would be more. But San Francisco-Oakland never has won the Stanley Cup. Denver never has won the NBA or World Series. Minneapolis never has won the Stanley Cup or Super Bowl (or the NFL title in the pre-Super era). Miami never has won the Stanley Cup. Atlanta never has won the NBA or the Stanley Cup and might never achieve the latter, having lost a second hockey team. Dallas never has won the World Series. Phoenix hasn’t won the Super Bowl, the NBA or the Stanley Cup. St. Louis hasn’t won the Stanley Cup.
Anyway, here are the six cities that have won all four titles at least once: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles (I count Anaheim), New York (I count New Jersey, but New York qualifies even if you didn’t) and Philadelphia.
Boston’s current domination is impressive; easily the best condensed stretch of championships in all four sports. Here are the best stretches of each, in order of shortest time elapsed:
1. Boston, February 2005-June 2011.
2. New York, January 1969-May 1980:This was a great time to be a New York sports fan. The Jets won Super Bowl 3 in January ’69. Then the Mets won the ’69 World Series. Two stunning upsets. The Yankees got good again in the ’70s and won back-to-back World Series, in 1975-76. Which left it up to hockey. The Rangers never did squat, but the upstart Islanders produced a dynasty, winning four straight Stanley Cups, starting in 1980.
3. Philadelphia, December 1960-October 1980:Philly hasn’t won a lot of championships. But in the 20 years of these two decades, its teams produced. The Eagles won the 1960 NFL title. The Philadelphia Warriors won the 1967 NBA championship. The Flyers — the Broad Street Bullies — won back-to-back Stanley Cups, 1974-75. And the Phillies ended almost a century of frustration with the 1980 World Series.
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