When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last May, it did many great things. First of all, it sent the city of Vancouver into a state of emergency. The footage from the riots there looked like a scene from "Cloverfield." It also gave the Bruins its first Stanley Cup since 1972. But more importantly, at least to the people of Boston, it brought them, and only them (seriously no one else), the joy of having a legitimate claim to referring to Boston as Title Town, USA. Allow me to explain.
Few times in the history of professional athletics has one city's teams experienced the success that Boston has seen over the past decade. In the past 10 years, Boston teams have won seven championships: three for the Patriots, two for the Red Sox and one for both the Celtics and the Bruins.
To give you some perspective, New York, one of the other biggest sports cities in the country, has won three. Los Angeles, though they don't have an NFL franchise, still has five, with four coming from the Lakers and one from the Anaheim Angels (I'll give you six for USC). Even then, those five championships are still only represented by two sports.
In the past 10 years, Boston has been able to celebrate a championship in every major American sport. This success is obviously impressive, but it is not without a caveat. While having great sport teams with enormous success is certainly a great thing for the fans of Boston, they also hold a few more dubious titles as well. Boston is also home to two of the biggest failures in modern sport history.
As any of you who may have read my column before know, I am a huge Giants fan and even I can say that the 2007 Patriots, who lost to my G-Men in the Super Bowl despite entering the game 18-0, are probably the greatest football team of all time.
The one glaring hole in the Patriot's resume is the lack of a Lombardi Trophy. Because of this, the Patriots may not only be the best football team to not win a championship, they may be the best team in any sport to not win a championship. That team had everything except the rings.
It's quite a fun anomaly for someone like me who loves seeing Boston fans suffer. The team has a legitimate argument to being known as the "best football team ever," and they didn't even win a championship. That is a failure to me.
Now, before this baseball season started, the Red Sox made a number of moves to improve their already formidable squad. They signed both prized free agents first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Carl Crawford, generally considered two of the top five available free agents.
They also made additions to a pitching staff that was considered by some to be the best in baseball. Articles were published in Boston papers and other news outlets that said this year's Red Sox would be the best team in baseball. One even went so far as to say that the Red Sox had the talent and depth to unseat the 1927 Yankees as the greatest baseball team of all time.
That's all well and good except for one minor detail: they didn't even make the frickin' playoffs. The Red Sox started September with a comfortable lead in the wild card, and only a game or two behind the Yankees for the lead in the American League East. They then promptly went out and played some of the most uninspired baseball I've ever seen.
And yet, even heading into the final series of the year, in which they would have played the lowly ranked Baltimore Orioles, they had a chance to make the playoffs. They then lost two of three games to the worst team in the division and got their off-season started early. So again I say, failure.
The question I pose is this: as I have conceded, Boston's success over the past decade is an incontrovertible fact, but does the fact that they now have not one, but two black eyes on their resume take anything away from their claim to be Title Town, USA?
Can you really argue that you are the best sports town in America if you are also home to two of the biggest face plants in sports history?
I'll let you decide.