If we can put all the Deflategate BS aside from just one moment, let’s take a moment to consider just how much fun it’s been being a Boston Sports Fan over the past decade and a half. My focus on the last 15 years is in no way meant to diminish or in any way minimize how fantastic Boston Sports Fans had it even before this recent run of dominance. The Bobby Orr Bruins, and then those of Neely and Bourque; the Red Sox of Ted Williams, then Yaz, Dwight Evans and Jim Rice, and those of Clemens and Boggs; the Jim Nance Patriots, then those of Irving Fryar and Steve Grogan, and Parcells, Bledsoe, and Curtis Martin; and of course the Celtic dynasties of Russell and Cooz, Havlicek, Dave Cowens, and Bird, and even those early 90s Reggie Lewis teams… some won Championships, some didn’t, but they left us no shortage of great memories as Boston Sports Fans and ensured the rich tradition of Boston Sports would carry on for years to come. And then those years came, and my goodness, what a fun ride it’s been.
It’s important to note that victory is so sweet because defeat is so bitter, and as Boston Sports Fans we’ve had our fair share of awful teams and gut wrenching defeats in big games. Our hallowed Patriots used to be jokingly called the Patsies as their late 80s and early 90s futility bottomed out in 1990 when they finished 1-15, with nary a home victory no less. Bill Buckner’s blunder at first in the ’86 World Series is my personal worst (and first, as I was only 6 at the time) memory of losing a close one in a big game. Even at 6 years old, I understood ‘The Curse of The Bambino’ and remember being woken up by my older brother just before it happened. He wanted to share that moment with me. The Sox were finally winning their First World Series in 70+ years and I remember being groggy but excited to actually witness it with my older brother. And we shared a moment alright. A terrible one. We all know how the ’86 Series played out just as we remember how much it hurt after the ’87 Finals, the ’88 and ’90 Stanley Cups, the ’96 Super Bowl, and even ’03 ALCS against the hated Yankees. It’s the memory of those tough losses or knowing what it’s like to endure those putrid seasons and title droughts that make winning a Championship so special.
Also noteworthy, as sports fans you know that victory is never guaranteed, but as far as full seasons go we’ll always take a deep playoff run over a crappy last place finish. So sure, you can’t win ’em all, but even getting to say the semi-finals makes for a fun ride, even if the ending is sometimes hard to swallow. It’s with that sentiment in mind that we present the following list, as it captures every semi-finals (or better) appearance by Boston’s five major Professional Sports teams since the Pats broke a 23 year Boston Sports Championship drought back in 2001. We focused on professional sports not because we don’t appreciate or love our college sports teams, but because we had to draw the line somewhere in our analysis. We did however include the New England Revolution because though they’ve yet to get that first MLS Cup, they’ve been so close a number of times and as Revs fans we’ll take that over sucking every year. We’re also showing the ladies some love too, as the Boston Militia have had a successful run in the country’s top women’s football league, the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), since it joined that league in 2011. These ladies kick ass and their growing fan base (of which I’m proudly a part) is well deserved.
So again, what a ride it’s been for the Boston Sports Fan in the last 15 or so years. We’ve seen our once ridiculed Patriots become the NFL’s most consistent, and controversial, contender, winning 3 out of 5 Super Bowls in that time-span and set to appear in their sixth this weekend. The Red Sox broke the curse in dramatic fashion in ’04 and added titles in ’07 and ’13. The Celtics saw a return to glory with their NBA Finals victory in ’08 as did the Bruins in ’11. But even when we haven’t won, we’ve been in the hunt. That Celtics loss in the 2010 NBA Finals against the rival Lakers was as painful as ’08 was satisfying, as was losing to the Giants in two Super Bowls, and falling short in the 2013 Stanley Cup. But again, as fans we’d rather a deep playoff run than a short one, or missing the playoffs altogether for that matter. And that’s exactly why the Boston Sports Fan suffers from Sports hubris. We’ve been spoiled, let’s face it. Even when we don’t win a title we’ve got a team (or a few teams) in the mix. The last 15 years have been exhilarating and dominant, even when we’ve fallen short. With a title as recently as 2013 and our Patriots about to play for their 4th Super Bowl, it feels like there’s no end in sight.
Now I know it’s not cool to say that. Fan bases from places like Kansas City and Cleveland must cringe with anger and envy when they read that. Obviously I can’t speak for all Boston Sports fans, there will always be variance, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that many of us in the Hub suffer from Sports hubris. But you know what? I endured that 23 year championship drought. I suffered through the Patsies, Bill Buckner, and the tragic losses of two potential cornerstone talents for my FAVORITE team, namely Reggie Lewis and Len Bias of the Boston Celtics. I will GLADLY suffer from Sports hubris any day over going back to those days. In my rational mind, I know it can’t last forever. That’s exactly why I suppress my rational mind and just enjoy the ride, talk my mess, rub it in your face whenever possible, and look forward to more victories. That’s exactly why I see your Deflategate BS and raise you 10 titles (including the Militia’s) in 15 years. Winning is fun. I know it won’t last forever but we’ve been hot for a while and we’re still winning now. I’m all in when we’re losing, so you’re damn right I’m going to enjoy it when we’re successful. I’m a Boston Sports Fan and I suffer from Sports hubris. And it’s awesome. Go Pats!
2001 - Patriots win Super Bowl 2002 - Celtics lose in Eastern Conference Championship 2003 - Patriots win Super Bowl 2003 - Red Sox lose in ALCS 2004 - Revs lose in Conference Final 2004 - Patriots win Super Bowl 2004 - Red Sox win World Series 2004 - Revs lose in Conference Final 2005 - Revs lose in MLS Cup 2006 - Patriots lose in AFC Championship 2006 - Revs lose in MLS Cup 2007 - Patriots lose in Super Bowl 2007 - Red Sox win World Series 2007 - Revs lose in MLS Cup 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 2011 - Boston Militia win WFA Championship 2012 - Patriots lose in AFC Championship 2012 - Celtics lose in Eastern Conference Championship 2012 - Boston Militia lose in National Conference Championship 2013 - Red Sox win WORLD SERIES 2013 - Patriots lose in AFC Championship 2013 - Bruins lose in Stanley Cup Finals 2013 - Boston Militia lose in National Conference Championship 2014 - Revs lose in MLS Cup 2014 - Boston Militia win WFA Championship 2014 - Patriots tbd Super Bowl