A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece called The Boston Sports Fan Suffers From Sports Hubris – And It’s Awesome to highlight how incredible the last 16 years (and counting) of Boston sports has been. Nothing beats the actual championship years, but an important part of the piece was the notion that even when we fall short, fans would rather have a deep playoff run than a team who doesn’t contend at all. And in Boston, we’ve been blessed with just that. Over the past 16 years, our four major sports teams (the Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins) have won a combined 9 championships, with the Pats and Sox having won 3 and 4 respectively, and the Cs and Bs each tallying one.
But even when our teams have fallen a bit short, we as a fan base have grown accustomed to at minimum being in the hunt. At least one Boston team has advanced to at least the semi-final round of its respective league IN ALL BUT TWO YEARS SINCE 2001. That’s right Boston, 2005 and 2009 notwithstanding, at least one of our hometown teams has been playing for, or for a shot at, the title virtually every year for the past decade and a half. How awesome is that!?!? And that’s exactly why we suffer from Sports Hubris. Some of us remember that 15 year drought between the Celtics’ 1986 NBA Finals victory and the Pats’ 2001 Super Bowl. The younger among us do not. Either way, we don’t really care. We’ve been riding that wave of sports dominance for quite some time now and we’ll be damned if that ends any time soon.
As improbable as it may seem, our teams are actually in great shape for the future. The 2016 Red Sox won the AL East, and though they didn’t fare well in the ALDS and franchise staple David Ortiz retired, with a revamped pitching staff that includes prize free agent Chris Sale joining the likes of 2016 AL Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, and former Cy Young winner, David Price, they’re among the favorites to make the World Series in 2017. Let’s not forget the continued development of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., all who had stellar seasons, along with veteran leadership and steady production from Pedroia. The Sox actually look stacked for 2017.
The Bruins currently sit in third place in their division, not great, but far from a bottom-feeder. We remain hopeful that the Black & Gold will rise to prominence once again. And our 17 time NBA Champion Boston Celtics currently sit in 2nd place in the Easter Conference, a mere 2.5 games behind King James’ bunch in Cleveland, and are winning at a .625 clip. Led by THE LITTLE GUY!!!, Isaiah Thomas, who’s been scoring at a rampant pace and has quickly established himself as one of, if not the best fourth quarter player in the game, the Cs are making moves. Let’s not forget former All-Star Al Horford’s presence in the paint, along with the steady defensive presence of Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and All-League defender Avery Bradley. Oh yeah, and there’s that treasure chest of draft picks Danny Ainge has secured over the years, including the highly coveted 2017 Brooklyn pick the Celtics own. The Nets are currently THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, which bodes well for our lottery chances. Needless to say, the Cs are in great shape going forward. And did I mention THE LITTLE GUY!!! ? I did, but still… The guy’s putting up Kobe numbers, except much more efficiently than the Black Mamba ever scored. It’s fun to be Celtics fan again.
Truth be told, it’s fun to be a Boston sports fan, and has been for quite some time now. No Boston sports piece is complete however, particularly during Super Bowl week, without mention of the dynastic New England Patriots. In just a few days, the Brady & Belichik Patriots that kick-started this Diamond Age of Boston Sports, will play in their 7th Super Bowl of the last 16 years. The Pats have failed to win at least 10 games just once since 2001, finishing 9-7 in 2002. They’ve won at least 14 games five times in that span, including an undefeated regular season in 2007, and have won the AFC East a whopping 14 times. They’ve made it at least as far as the AFC Championship game 11 times. They’ve won 4 Super Bowls thus far.
Only the 1960’s Celtics and New York Yankees of the 1960s have had comparable runs of sustained dominance. Will the Pats close the deal on their Drive for Five? We’ll find out on Sunday. In the meantime, let’s check our Boston Sports Hubris at the door for a moment, and take a minute to fully appreciate just how amazing the last decade and a half has been, as evidenced by the list below. And let’s hope the end of this Diamond Age of Boston Sports is more than a ways away. Let’s go Pats! And let’s go Boston!
2001 – Patriots win Super Bowl
2002 – Celtics lose in Eastern Conference Final
2003 – Patriots win Super Bowl
2003 – Red Sox lose in ALCS
2004 – Patriots win Super Bowl
2004 – Red Sox win World Series
2006 – Patriots lose in AFC Championship
2007 – Patriots lose in Super Bowl
2007 – Red Sox win World Series
2008 – Celtics win NBA Finals
2008 – Red Sox lose in ALCS
2010 – Celtics lose in NBA Finals
2010 – Patriots lose in Super Bowl
2011 – Bruins win Stanley Cup
2011 – Patriots lose in AFC Championship
2012 – Patriots lose in AFC Championship
2012 – Celtics lose in Eastern Conference Finals
2013 – Red Sox win World Series
2013 – Patriots lose in AFC Championship
2013 – Bruins lose in Stanley Cup Finals
2014 – Patriots win Super Bowl
2015 – Patriots lose in AFC Championship
2016 – Patriots TBD Super Bowl