Here in Boston, we’ve been spoiled this century. We’ve gotten to watch our teams win championships 9 times in 14 years across all 4 of our sports teams, an unprecedented run. And no one believes that the run is over.
Now, if you ask me which of the 4 biggest Boston pro teams is my favorite, I’ll respond with the same answer every time: I can’t choose, because asking me which of these teams I love the most would be like asking a father of 4 which of his children he loves the most. And unless you’re Don Corleone and you clearly love Michael the most, no father should ever choose.
But that doesn’t mean that I have the same amount of desire for each of my teams to win a title presently. The team’s title window, whether or not they’ve won before, and the attachment I have to certain players are all factors that play into how much I want each team to win.
As of the Fall of 2015, here is the order that I most want each of the 4 main Boston sports pro teams to win. Let me know if your list is different, either by commenting on the blog itself or on Twitter.
Yeah, so this goes against one of my main criterion, which was “How long it’s been since the team last won.” But here’s the thing: The Patriots of recent memory are unlike any other team that’s existed, with some rare, rare exceptions like the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich. Given that the NFL is the league of parity, the fact that the Pats have 4 Super Bowls, 6 Super Bowl appearances, 9 (!!!) first round byes, and 12 AFC East titles in the past 14 years is just astounding.
And we don’t want that run to end. When this run is finally over, even if that’s gonna be awhile, we’re gonna miss this unprecedented streak of success. Last year, it felt so important for Brady and Belichick to get the 4th ring. Now, even with the 4th ring that solidified and bookended the best run ever, we want the Pats to make this run the greatest it can possibly be. And that desire shoots the Patriots to the top of this list.
There is a huge dropoff after the Pats, as I want them to win definitively more than the Celtics now. But the C’s come in at number 2 because they haven’t won since 2008, which is somehow the longest it’s been since one of these teams won. That I ranked the Celtics is somewhat surprising, even to me, because it’s clear that they can’t win next year and maybe not the year after — so why are they ranked number 2? I think it’s because we all want Danny Ainge’s masterful on-the-fly rebuild to be worth something in the end, and that’s because it damn well better be. When a team’s rebuilding effort comes up short to the point that they’re only a playoff team and not a contender, it’s crippling to the franchise’s title hopes for years to come, because being in no-man’s land in the NBA is the worst situation there is.
All of this means that we need to root for the Mavericks’ pick next year to fall at number 8 (it’s protected 1-7) and we NEED the Nets to suck the next 3 years, when the Celtics are drafting in their spot. Next summer’s draft could be the big one, because the Nets have lost Deron Williams and Billy King recently admitted that this year was a gap year because of the past moves they’ve made. If Brook Lopez gets injured as per usual and Thaddeus Young comes down from his contract year level of play, the Nets could very easily give the Celtics a top 5 pick next June, which would be a humongous asset to the team. And Marcus Smart’s development is the most important story for Celtics fans to watch going forward.
The Bruins would have been 2nd on the list if you had asked me before the Dougie Hamilton trade when the Bruins could have been contenders this year, but now my hopes for them winning in 2016 are shot. Unless they have a historically good trade deadline, Chara is 2011 Chara, and Tuukka stands on his head, this team’s defensive corp is going to be the death of it.
When your team loses it’s chances of contending the next year, it cuts into your need for them to win it that year, ya know? And with Zdeno Chara turning 39 in March and Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson at 30 years old now, i don’t see the team competing without a major revamp that I’m not sure they can realistically pull off. Don Sweeney may be faced with the decision to sell off his expensive, aging parts and regroup with the David Pastrnak and Malcolm Subban generation, with Dougie Hamilton anchoring the blue line — damn it all. At least they won in 2011, and that will always be a happy thought for us Bruins fans.
4. RED SOX
Again, I love all these teams equally, so please don’t pretend that me ranking them 4th here means that I don’t love the team that historically has owned Boston more than any of the others. This ranking revolves around the fact that a “rebuilding process” isn’t a “process” in Major League Baseball. You can win 69 games in 2012 and then win the World Series in 2013 without having to play a Game 7 in the playoffs. Teams are constantly building their farm systems in the MLB rather than taking years to focus specifically on their young guys and not their veterans like in the NBA or NHL. That difference creates a little bit less urgency in my eyes for Boston’s professional baseball team to win it over our basketball and hockey teams, because there’s no “championship window” that the Red Sox have to hit perfectly to win the World Series. And compared to the Patriots, well, the Red Sox don’t have the best coach and player ever together for only a handful of years after this one.
Again, let me know your thoughts either by commenting on the blog or on Twitter.