If you had asked most fans in the country what was the top sports city in the summer of 2011, the answer would have been very easy. It was Boston. The Patriots had won three championships and the Red Sox had won two titles in the past ten years at that time. In addition, the Celtics and Bruins also added a title. All four teams had won a title in the last ten seasons and there was a total of seven titles in the past ten years. No sports city could even come close to that. Boston was hands down the city of champions. Despite the Red Sox winning in 2013 and the Patriots winning the Super Bowl in 2015, the number of titles has quieted down a bit in the past five seasons. Of course, we’ll always take two championships in a five year span, but Boston was no longer head and shoulders above the rest of the competition as it once was. With that said, the Patriots have remained elite. The Red Sox have been up and down. The Celtics and Bruins have been mediocre over the past five years. So, has Boston dropped in the scale of sports cities? We’ll discuss this in today’s post.
What city really gives Boston competition here? Think of the major sports cities. New York? No championships recently and really none that are on the brink. Los Angeles has the Kings who won two Stanley Cups recently and the Dodgers are typically contenders who fall short. Dallas isn’t in the running as the Cowboys are the only team that are a legitimate threat to win. Cleveland wants to consider themselves in this group now that they won ONE championship and the Indians played in the World Series. It takes a lot more than one title in fifty years to get there. Sorry Lebron!
The one city that qualifies here is Chicago. The Blackhawks have won three championships since 2010 and they remain elite this year. The Cubs are the best team in baseball after winning the Word Series last year. The White Sox are weak though. The Bulls are typically a playoff team that is not a threat to contend. The Bears are off of the map. Given the success of the Cubs and Blackhawks though, one could make an argument for Chicago. However, Chicago still falls short of Boston and here’s why.
As it was just noted, Chicago has two elite teams. Boston matches that. The Patriots are still the model franchise in the NFL and they’re the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year. The Pats competition in the AFC is not overwhelming and they have a great shot to get to the big game this year. The Patriots are almost a given to at least be the AFC championship every year. The Red Sox won the AL East last year and they are currently the best team in the American League on paper after the Chris Sale trade. Oh yeah, thanks for that one, Chicago! The Red Sox are right there with the Cubs in terms of young talent that has the potential to win championships over the next 3-5 years.
Here’s what Boston has that Chicago does not. A third team that is likely going to be elite in the next few years. The Boston Celtics are likely not going to be an elite team this year. However, they have a great, young nucleus and they own the New Jersey Nets first round picks over the next two years. The Celtics are on the brink of championship contention. As for the number four team in Boston? Well, the Bruins are not on the brink. Their Stanley Cup runs ended in 2013 and they haven’t been the same team since. However, let’s make one thing clear. The Bruins are not the Chicago Bears or the Chicago White Sox. They are, at the very least, a playoff contender. There is HOPE!
As Boston fans, we tend to expect a lot after a run of nine championships in thirteen years from 2002 – 2015. The reality is those types of runs aren’t the norm. With that said, we still have it really good with two teams that are legitimate championship contenders right now, another team in the cusp, and a fourth team that is a borderline playoff team.
Boston remains the #1 sports city. Enjoy it. As a sports fan, there’s no better place to be right now.