A full week has passed since the Patriots came back from a 25 point deficit late in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl. It still hasn't sunk in. I started this blog last week but hit a wall. I still can't believe the Patriots came back. I never stopped believing in the game but I can't lie when Gostowski missed the extra point I starting thinking "maybe it's just not their night".
What I'm about to say is peak ass hole New England fandom. I'm about to rank championships. How fucked up is that? There's millions of people who are still waiting for their favorite team(s) to win its first. This is why people hate us. As I typed that I finally understood why we're despised. I can do a top 10 championships of the last 15 years blog. That's ridiculous. This is the ultimate not-so humble brag.
In all of the emotions that were rolling last Sunday night I claimed on Facebook that Super Bowl LI was the most satisfying championship in my years as a fan. Some agreed, some didn't. What I meant was given all the circumstances of the season, and the way the game played out that was the best feeling I've ever had after winning a championship. Someone my parents age could probably have a completely different ranking than I would.
In my first 25 years on this planet. I've witnessed 10 championships. They've all been special and different in their own ways. And I totally get it, New England sport fans are spoiled and privileged. ESPECIALLY fans around my age. I've heard it my whole life. I'll be the first to admit I've been extremely lucky. At 25 years old it's honestly perfect timing. I was in 4th grade when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI just when I was starting to care about sports. But at the same time I'm not gonna apologize for that. Just like I don't apologize for being white. I was born into a lucky situation and I'm sorry that other people have had harder times, but I'm not gonna apologize for being lucky with something I can't control.
It's been domination for a decade and a half by Boston/New England. All four of our teams have won at least one championship. They've all been to multiple championships. Each team had at least a 4 year run of being one of the top teams in their entire sport at some point. The Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins have all had down years, they've each had runs of being a championship favorite. It's not like each team had a miracle one year run sprinkled around a bunch of last place finishes, although we do have an example of that (S/O 2013 Red Sox). It's been an era of sustained periods of excellence by four franchises. We actually have had it all. Shocking upsets, 86 year curse enders, Super Bowl comebacks, Game 7 wins. you name it, we've probably done it.
I've been very fortunate to be able to witness this level of success from my favorite teams. There's people in cities across this country that haven't experience one championship. We as Boston fans have had 10. Now that the Patriots have one for the thumb, it rounds out a perfect 10. You can now do complete Top 10 List of Boston Championships post 2000. There's a million ways I could tackle this but I'm gonna go after what I said on Facebook last Sunday and try to explain the most satisfying championships given a multitude of factors. IMO these are championships that left you the most fulfilled and brought the most pleasure as a fan. TBH I think this is my most impressive work yet because ranking these 10-1 was hard AF. It's like a mother picking her favorite child. While I know I'm my mom's favorite, it's not that easy for most to decide. Again just because a championship is low on this list doesn't mean I don't appreciate it. Someone has to be last. It's like if you banged 10 super models, no matter how awesome it was, technically one has be best and one has to be the worst, but at the end of the day it was all pretty awesome.
Enough with really weird, bad analogizes let's get into the list.
#10 2007 Boston Red Sox
See I told you this list was hard. I just put a team that had a 3-1 comeback in the ALCS and swept the World Series in the 10th spot for most satisfying championships. Let me explain why.
Someone has to be last. I just feel like this is the most forgotten championship of this run. The 07 Sox were awesome but unless you were on this team there's no way as a Boston fan you could say this is your favorite championship of this run. Of all the championships of this run to me this was the most blah. The magnitude of the 2004 Red Sox almost takes away from this. 07 was cool but people were still riding high off of 2004. The Red Sox went 86 years without a World Series. I think after 2004 people were just happy that the curse was over then bam 3 years later they won again.
07 was an awesome season full with a lot of great moments, the pizza toss, Mother's Day Miracle, 4 straight homers against the Yankees and of course the ALCS comeback.
But it was also kind of weird. They were down 3-1 but after the Sox won game 5 it felt like they weren't going to lose. They came home, JD hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 1st in game 6 and from there on out it was a bloodbath all the way to a World Series win. The World Series wasn't great in a baseball stand point. 4-0 sweep against the Colorado Rockies who simply ran out of gas in the World Series. The fact that they played the Rockies kind of took away from the story as well, even though they had a great run to make it that far it still was the fucking Rockies. They're one of the most irrelevant franchises in all of sports. After a miraculous run where the Rockies won like 21 out of 22 games to make the World Series they were no match for the veteran Red Sox won swept them in a forgettable World Series.
I put this at #10 mainly just because someone had to be 10th. The comeback against the Indians was the best part of the playoffs. To comeback, and to do so in blow out fashion was incredible but in a weird way that almost makes it forgettable. When I think of the 2007 Red Sox in the playoffs I think of domination, even though Cleveland had them on the ropes, in a weird way the domination of Sox during that 2007 season thanks to Josh Beckett almost takes away from the legacy compared to all the other champions with much more dramatic moments in their respective champions.
#9: 2003 New England Patriots
Super Bowl XXXVIII at the time was thought of as one of the best Super Bowls of all time. It was a classic game that had one of the most entertaining 4th quarters ever that saw the Patriots win their 2nd Super Bowl in 3 years on the leg of an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Although this is #9 it still was a very satisfying championship. It showed how wrong the media was about this team. Early in the year when the Patriots were 2-2 ESPN's Tom Jackson famously claimed they "hated their coach" after he cut Lawyer Milloy. Jackson suggested the Patriots would fall apart.
The team responded by winning 15 straight games en route to their 2nd championship in 3 years. To everybody who called 2001 a fluke or said Tom Brady was overrated, this Super Bowl win ended all of that discussion. The fact that this is #9 is criminal but again we are dealing with 10 champions, it's great company for all of these teams. IMO this team had the best defense of any Patriot team of my lifetime and this season is one of my favorites.
Another reason it's so low is because of who they faced, the Carolina Panthers. Obviously you want to win the Super Bowl no matter who you're playing but the Carolina Panthers at this time were a nothing franchise, kind of takes away from it when compared to the other championship of this era.
#8: 2004 New England Patriots
This cemented the Patriots as a dynasty. After the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX it was official. 3 out of 4. Only the 2nd team in the history of the Super Bowl era to accomplish that. In the playoffs the Patriots got payback against the Colts who famously had the rules changed to take away physical defense after how the Patriots manhandled them in the previous year's AFC championship game. Peyton Manning broke the passing touchdown record passing for 49, but in the playoffs the Patriots held that Colt's high flying offense to 3 points.
Then in the AFC championship game they beat the Steelers, the team who ended their record 21 game winning streak 41-27 in Pittsburgh.
In the Super Bowl they beat the Eagles 24-21. Although it was only a 3 point game nobody would call this Super Bowl an all time great. Of all the Patriots Super Bowl wins I'd call this the most boring, but what it signified for the franchise is what gives it the slight edge over 2003 even though I think most Patriot fans would agree that Super Bowl was a much more entertaining game.
Another factor that gives this the edge over the Carolina game is that there was a lot of bad blood between the teams. Well mainly just Freddie Mitchell who was talking a ton of shit going into this game about the Patriots secondary. Claimed he couldn't name them. It was nice to shut that bum up, even Belichick who never bashes other players called out Mitchell for being a bum.
Again this list just shows how great we've had it. I'm almost laughing to myself at how outrageous the concept of this list is, but when you win 10 championships you can do shit like this. Sorry Cleveland.
#7: 2001 New England Patriots
The championship that started it all is also the most surprising of the 10. Nobody saw this coming. Out of all 10 this is the one I remember the least as I was just a 4th grade boy when this happened. Nobody gave the Patriots a chance once Drew Bledsoe got hurt. A 6th round draft pick named Tom Brady would lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl in franchise history over the Greatest Show on Turf in Super Bowl XXXVI. I bet people in their 40's and older would have this higher but I think being so young at the time takes away from truly understanding its impact.
But to beat the 14 point favorite St Louis Rams in an all time classic Super Bowl felt pretty damn good. There's nothing quite like the first. That is the main reason I have this why I have it higher than the other two from the early dynasty. If this was most important championships of the era this is easily top 3.
#6: 2010-11 Boston Bruins
Three game 7 victories along the way to end a 39 year Cup drought. The one series that didn't go 7 was the conference semi-finals against the Flyers. After blowing a 3-0 lead against them in the playoffs the year before, to have a chance to sweep them the following year was pretty good payback and very satisfying as a fan.
This cup run will always be remembered by the play of Tim Thomas. His play won him the Conn Smythe and had one of the best postseasons a goaltender has ever had in the NHL. 4 shut outs in the playoffs.
In the Stanley Cup the Bruins went down 2 games to 0. Two one goal losses that were incredibly heartbreaking as a fan. At the Garden it was a completely difference series, were the Bruins would dominate, winning by scores of 8-1, 4-0, and 5-2. The series was hotly contested and both teams hated each other. The Bruins would dominate at home winning in blowouts but lost three games in Vancouver by 1 goal. In game 7 the trends finally changed as the Bruins won 4-0 on the road in very convincing fashion thanks to two goals apiece from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. I could see this being higher on hockey lovers lists but as someone who openly admits the Bruins are his 4th favorite Boston team it lands at #6.
I used to love the Bruins but the way their ownership and management has fucked up their future has made it very hard to be a fan. I can't stand how the team has operated since the Sequin trade. I still loosely follow them but I've always been a playoff hockey guy. There's nothing quite as exciting as it. I'll always appreciate and love the memories of this season but to me it's #6.
Winning on the road and causing a riot in Vancouver was pretty fucking cool though.
#5: 2007-08 Boston Celtics
I absolutely loved the Big 3. Their first season together was a joy to watch. After winning 66 games in the regular season the Celtics had two hard fought 7 game series to open the playoffs. The Paul Pierce v. Lebron show in game 7 of the second round is one of my favorite games in Celtics history. In the first two round the Celtics were perfect at home and 0 for on the road.
After dropping game two of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons the Celtics were able to win two games on the road including the clinching game 6 of the series.
In the Finals the Celtics were up 2 games to 1 against the Lakers. They were down huge in game 4 but were able to have the greatest comeback in the history of the NBA finals at the time to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. When they beat the rival Lakers in game 6 in Boston it was a blood bath. Celtics won by like 40 points.
To beat the rival Lakers the way they did was incredible, it was such a fun memorable season. What kind of bums me out about this championship is that it should've been the first of many. The Celtics team the next season was arguably better until KG got hurt, then in 2010 against the Lakers they should've won that series. We are lucky to have one but, it should've been more. Even though we all hated the Canucks with the Bruins, it was new hate. With the Lakers it was the revival of one of the best rivalries in all of sports, and for that reason this just beats out the Bruins to sneak into the top 5.
#4: 2013 Boston Red Sox
The 2013 Red Sox may be my personal favorite of all the champs we've had. Just given the surprise factor, what they did for the city after the Marathon Bombing, and how I connected to this team personally I'll always love the 2013 Red Sox.
After the 2001 Patriots I think the 2013 Red Sox are easily the most surprising champion. Given how big of a disaster the final month of 2011 and the entire 2012 season were in 2013 many expected the Red Sox not be a contender.
After a hot start out of the gates, tragedy struck on April 15th when the Boston Marathon bombing took place. The region was shook and needed something to lift spirits. The Red Sox and the Boston Strong rallying cry were just that. A great distraction and bonding force in a city that needed one in the worst way.
During the regular season the Red Sox won 97 games and never lost more than 3 straight all year long, yet despite their success many still doubted if it would carry into the playoffs.
In the playoffs they were able to grind out wins, they did just enough to claw out victories. In the playoffs they beat two teams that talent wise were probably better, but the Red Sox had just a little more heart. The magical moments in ALCS series between the game 2 comeback led by David Ortiz' grand slam, the performance of Koji Uehara and the Shane Victorino grand slam will stay with me forever. It was an all time classic ALCS and I was lucky enough to be their to witness the Red Sox win the pennant in person.
In the World Series the Red Sox faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals, after winning game 1 in convincing fashion the Red Sox lost two straight games to fall behind 2-1. After the obstruction call that cost them game 3 the Red Sox' backs were against the wall. A loss in game 4 would make it very difficult to comeback. The responded by winning 3 straight to give Boston a championship when it needed it most.
The 2013 Red Sox couldn't change what happened on April 15th, but they could provide the region with a lot of great memories and distractions after a tragedy. Between the unexpectedness of this going into the season, the dramatics in the playoffs and what it meant for the area it earns a spot in the top 5. Also I'll always love Daniel Nava and believe if he played in the playoffs over Johnny Gomes the Red Sox probably sweep both series.
#3: 2014 New England Patriots
I could write a thesis on the 2014 Patriots but this blog has taken me 5 hours and I've written way too much. To put it simply these factors make this team and what they accomplished so satisfying as a fan.
-After 2-2 start many believed Tom Brady was finished
-Gronk was actually healthy all year
-The entire Ravens playoff game
-Ended 10 year Super Bowl Drought
-Shut up the "no rings since spy gate" bull shit
-Made Brady and Belichick best combo to ever do it
-10 point 4th quarter comeback in SB
-Beat the Seahawks who I fucking hate so that was pretty awesome
-Validation after Spygate saga hijacked Super Bowl week.
-Won on one of the most clutch plays in the history of football. The Patriots went from dead to champions in the blink of an eye.
IMO the 2014 Patriots are one of the most important teams in the history of the Patriots. Yes they already have their dynasty years, but for 10 seasons Tom Brady and the Patriots seemingly found ways to lose in the most heartbreaking fashion. After the Kearse catch it felt like more of the same. We can say whatever we want now, but when the Seahawks were on the 1 yard line it was over. We lost the Super Bowl again. Then Pete Caroll and Russell Wilson made the biggest mistake in Super Bowl history and it gave the Patriots their 4th championship.
#2: 2004 Boston Red Sox
Ended a 86 year curse and comeback from the dead against the Yankees. This is the most important championship of the 10 by a mile given what it meant for the Red Sox who will always be Boston's favorite team. The Red Sox were literally dead against the Yankees, they lost game 3 by 11 runs and were down in the 9th inning of 2004. We all know what happened next. The Red Sox won 4 straight, including two straight walk extra inning wins off the bat of David Ortiz. A year after blowing a 5-2 lead late in game 7 in 2003 the Red Sox got their shot at redemption by winning the 2004 pennant on the same field they walked off as losers the year before.
The 2004 Red Sox win against the Yankees was almost like the 1980 US hockey team against the Soviets in a sense that they got past the past the hated rival but they still had to play the next round. The Red Sox still needed to play the World Series and win to end the curse. They went on to sweep the 105 win Cardinals, and never even trailed in the World Series. It just happened so fast, it's crazy to think this team was on the brink of elimination and then won 8 straight to win it all.
Just a fantastic year and I didn't think this would ever be topped. But then this happened....
#1: 2016 New England Patriots
It took the perfect storm to top the 2004 Red Sox. I mean it's the 04 Sox. They broke the curse, they came back from 3-0 against the fucking Yankees, how can that be topped?
Well as amazing as that was the Patriots found a way to do it in 2016.
The story of the 2016 Patriots really started in the hours after the 2014 (played in 2015) AFC Championship game when the Patriots and Tom Brady were accused to deflating footballs which created a two year media frenzy/witch hunt against Tom Brady. After being suspended for the first 4 games of the 2015 year, Brady was able to get the suspension overturned. Then after the 2015 season, Roger Goodell fought to have the suspension upheld, in his personal vendetta against Tom Brady and a crime with no evidence. Brady ended up getting his suspension upheld in 2016 and missed the first four games of the year.
The entire season had one goal. Win the Super Bowl and make Roger Goodell hand the trophy to Brady.
Over the course of the season it seemed like that might not happen. The Patriots shockingly traded away Jamie Collins who was one of their best players on defense. For the 3rd time they lost Rob Gronkowski to a season ending injury. Yet the Patriots kept on winning. They went 14-2 in 2016, their best record since 2010.
In the playoffs they got by the Texans and handled the Steelers to face off against the Falcons in the Super Bowl.
What makes this championship so special and is the reason it surpasses all others in terms of satisfaction is the fact that the Patriots were down 28-3 late in the 3rd quarter. Everything had gone wrong up until this point. Blount fumbled, Brady threw a pick 6, the defense wasn't stopping the Falcons. It seemed like they came all this way just to get embarrassed on the grandest of stages.
Then the Patriots scored to make it 28-9. You got a little ounce of hope only to have it taken away after a missed extra point and failed onside kick attempt. Then somehow the Patriots forced a punt and were able to make it a 28-12 game. Even then it was a tall order. But the Patriots kept fighting back, and the Falcons kept doing everything wrong, the combination created the great comeback in Super Bowl history and gave us the first overtime game ever in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots won the coin toss, and drove down field to win their 5th championship when it appeared all hope was lost. Given all the factors surrounding this season and the way the Super Bowl played out this is the most satisfying a championship has ever left me. I didn't think the ending to Super Bowl XLIX could ever be topped, somehow the Patriots found a way to do it.
Well after a week it's finally finished. Let me know what you think? What championship was the most satisfying to you?