Ranking the Four-for-Four Sports Towns

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageSports have evolved into the backbone of America. Anywhere you go in one of these twelve metropolitan areas, you will find diehard fans of their local teams. But, not every major sports town is alike. Some have more success, whilst others are still searching for their beloved “Titletown” moniker. Below is a ranking of the twelve metropolitan areas based on success, longevity, and overall fan interest:

12. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Media Market Rank: 15
Franchises (# of championships): Vikings (1), Wild (0), Twins (3), Timberwolves (0)
Minneapolis-St. Paul brings up the rear in our rankings. It’s not as if the Minnesota metropolitan center is home to bad fans. Rather, it is the lack of success of their franchises that weighs down M-SP. The Vikings, a historic and well respected franchise, have gone 0-3 in Super Bowl appearances, having not advanced to one since the mid-70s. They did win an NFL Championship in 1969. But, ask any Eagles fan how that makes a fanbase feel. The Wild have only been in existence since 2000, and their predecessors, the North Stars, did not win until they moved to Dallas in the mid-1990s. The Twins have had the most success. But, poor ownership almost got the team contracted in the early-aughts. This is a city starving for a winner, and they almost had it with Brett Favre in 2009. Unfortunately, things just have not worked out for the North Star State.

11. Phoenix/Glendale, Arizona
Media Market Rank: 13
Franchises (# of championships): Cardinals (2), Coyotes (0), Diamondbacks (1), Suns (0)
Phoenix gets a boost over Minnesota based solely on their more recent success. The city did not even acquire any of their teams until the 1980s. But, since then, all four have, at times, been near the top of their respective sports. The Cardinals, with two championships in Chicago prior to the Super Bowl era, reached the Super Bowl five years ago, but, have yet to do much else. The Suns were painstakingly close to championships during the Barkley era and again with Steve Nash. Unfortunately, they never quite did reach the pinnacle. The Diamondbacks, who won their only World Series in just their fourth year of existence, have maintained a steady level of success for the most part. The bad seed of this city must be the Coyotes, where an ill-fated move from Winnipeg has left the franchise in disarray. Time will tell whether or not Phoenix loses its status as a big-four town if the Coyotes pack up and move back to Canada.

10. Washington, DC
Media Market Rank: 8
Franchises (# of championships): Redskins (5), Capitals (0), Nationals (0), Wizards (1)
One would think the capital of our nation would have enjoyed more success than this. Other than the Redskins, who lose points for harboring a bona fide racist name for this long, DC has been a cesspool for disappointment. Granted, the Nationals franchise did most of their losing in Montreal. But, other than one title in 1978 with the Bullets, DC has not had a lot to cheer for. Sure, they are a decent sized market. But, since the Redskins last Super Bowl in 1991, Washington has had about as much success as our current GOP controlled congress.

9. Miami, Florida
Media Market Rank: 16
Franchises (# of championships): Dolphins (2), Panthers (0), Marlins (2), Heat (2)
Deuces are wild for the city of Miami (and the surrounding suburbs like Sunrise, where the Panthers play). Every team besides their mediocre hockey franchise has two titles to enjoy. The amazing fact is that, other than the Dolphins, none of these franchises even existed prior to 1990. Their dramatic success in championship series (4-2) since 1995 is also something to write home about. Their fans may be among the most apathetic in the nation. But, Miami has unbridled success that many cities would kill for.

7. Denver, Colorado
Media Market Rank: 17
Franchises (# of championships): Broncos (2), Avalanche (2), Rockies (0), Nuggets (0)
Denver’s success since the mid-90s has been well publicized. They received their third franchise, the Rockies, in MLB’s 1993 expansion. Then, two years later, the Avalanche relocated from Quebec and won their first Cup in 1996. Since then, Denver has enjoyed success with all four of their franchises. Granted, if it weren’t for the Broncos and Avalanche, this city would probably bring up the rear of these rankings. But, more success is on the horizon, as Peyton Manning and Wes Welker look to lead the Broncos to their third Super Bowl next winter.

7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Media Market Rank: 5
Franchises (# of championships): Cowboys (5), Stars (1), Rangers (0), Mavericks (1)
Based solely upon the success of their football team, Dallas would be towards the top of this list. Unfortunately, five Super Bowls can only get a city so far. Yes, the Rangers came close the last few years and the Mavericks finally earned their first title in 2011. But, the fact of the matter remains that these franchises have existed for decades with very, very little success to speak of. The Stars won their only Stanley Cup in 1999, defeating the Buffalo Sabres in an exciting six-game series. Until the Cowboys live up to expectations for the first time in nearly two-decades, Dallas-FW will continue to sit behind other cities in these rankings.

6. San Francisco Bay Area, California
Media Market Rank: 6
Franchises (# of championships): 49ers (5), Raiders (2), Sharks (0), Giants (2), Athletics (4), Warriors (1)
A lot of the success of these teams came when they played in different areas. Therefore, only championships won when each franchise played in the Bay Area were counted. Considering this, it is quite amazing how much success each franchise has enjoyed. 14 championships between six teams, especially when one considers that most of them did not arrive in town until the 1970s, is quite impressive. The 49ers’ past success, combined wtih the current dominance of the Giants, gives San Francisco an edge over the competition. The one drawback in the Bay Area is the dramatic lack of success of the Raiders and Warriors over the past decade. If those two teams picked it up, the Golden State could be the ultimate sports fans dream.

5. Philadelphia, PA
Media Market Rank: 4
Franchises (# of championships): Eagles (3), Flyers (2), Phillies (2), 76ers (3)
Every team in the City of Brotherly Love has enjoyed a title in their history. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, their success came prior to the Super Bowl era. But, it cannot be discounted that, over the last decade, they have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL. The Flyers immediately grabbed success by the horns in the 1970s, and have only missed the postseason once since 1994. The Phillies are probably the city’s only current hope for a title, even if their window is closing. The 76ers, once a proud franchise, got Bynum’d last summer, and are currently in a state of NBA limbo that they share with about 25 other franchises. Some of the most passionate fans in the country reside in Philadelphia, and that passion is what pushes them above a city like San Francisco, who may have had more success in a shorter period of time.

4. Detroit, Michigan
Media Market Rank: 11
Franchises (# of championships): Lions (4), Red Wings (11), Tigers (4), Pistons (3)
Granted, the Lions’ success is all based upon pre-Super Bowl era play. But, every other team in this city has been on top of their respective sports at least three times, and that is impressive in a city with as many problems as Detroit. The Red Wings, perhaps the face of American hockey, have won an astounding 11 Stanley Cups, including four since 1997. The Pistons and Tigers, meanwhile, have mixed past greatness with present success to create one of the most successful sports cities in America.

3. Chicago, Illinois
Media Market Rank: 3
Franchises (# of championships): Bears (9), Blackhawks (4), Cubs (2), White Sox (3), Bulls (6)
The city of Chicago has enjoyed dramatic success since the 1980s, when the Bears won their first and only Super Bowl. Chicago’s NFL franchise enjoyed 8 championships before the merger, the largest amount of championships of any NFL franchise. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, White Sox, and Bulls have all won championships within the last 15 or so years. That wide ranging success is enough to supercede the well-publicized failures of the Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908. Chicago also has a great opportunity at another title, as the Blackhawks are currently the frontrunners to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.

2. New York, NY
Media Market Rank: 1
Franchises (# of championships): Giants (8), Jets (1), Rangers (4), Islanders (4), Mets (2), Yankees (27), Knicks (2), Nets (0)
By merely counting championships, New York is the unbridled #1 sports town in America. The Yankees alone have won more titles than almost any other city in the country. But, it is not all about historical success. A lot of it is about the current success of each franchise. Yes, every single New York team (with the exception of the Nets) has a championship banner. But, only the Yankees and Giants have enjoyed any semblance of modern success. The Jets are a joke of a franchise that is currently imploding before our eyes. The Rangers and Islanders, whilst historically significant, are currently also-rans in the NHL landscape. The Mets needed Bill Buckner to win their second title, and have not done anything since. Finally, the Knicks, where Spike Lee’s sideline antics are usually more exciting than the team itself. New York will get their titles. But, with the amount of teams in the city, their lack of present success keeps them behind their arch-rivals to the north.

1. Boston, Massachusetts
Media Market Rank: 7
Franchises (# of championships): Patriots (3), Bruins (6), Red Sox (7), Celtics (17)
No other city combines past success with present dominance to the extent that Boston does. Yes, there was a lull in the mid-to-late 20th century where the only team succeeding was the Celtics. But, their success was so dramatic that they won 17 championships in the process. Meanwhile, once the 21st century rolled around, a switch was flipped in Beantown. Lovable losers no more, the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots have all won at least one title since 2001. When the Black-and-Yellow won the Stanley Cup in 2011, shocking the plethora of doubters (including myself), Boston officially became the new, “Titletown USA.” Enjoy it, while it lasts.


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