2012 is officially upon us and while it may forever serve as the ominous prelude to the Mayan-inspired end of the world, 2012 does carry an extra hint of significance for the region-encompassing legion of devoted Beantown sports fans.
If we are actually just months away from the end of the world, it would signal the end of the most successful four-sport reign of dominance in a single city or town. Beginning with the New England Patriots' shocking 2001 Super Bowl run, the Beantown area teams began an unmatched run of seven championships in the 10-year span from 2001 to 2011.
Just to put that number in a modern context: There are 12 other cities or regions that boast at least one professional team in each of the four major American sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). These 56 franchises from the 12 other cities account for 46 percent of the total franchises in major American professional sports. Yet they’ve combined to win just 16 of a possible 42 (or just 38 percent) championships during the same time span.
From a historical context, no city or town has ever come close to winning that many championships in a single decade without the benefit of a single dominant dynasty winning more than half of the championships.
For example, Pittsburgh won six championships during the 1970s. But the legendary “Steel Curtain” Steelers dynasty accounted for four of them.
Los Angeles won an incredible eight championships during the 1980s. But they had five franchises for a majority of the decade and the “Showtime” Lakers dynasty accounted for five of those championships.
Boston from 2001 to 2011 is the only four-sport city to feature a champion in every major sport during the course of the decade. Their most prominent dynasty, the Patriots, has accounted for less than half of their championships (three out of seven).
Conventional wisdom may state that the last 10 years have been nothing but a utopian roller-coaster ride for devoted chowdaheads. In reality, the Boston teams, by virtue of being at or near the zenith of their respective sporting outposts on a yearly basis, have actually suffered nearly as many heartbreaking losses in the last 10 years as gratifying victories.
Those heartbreaking losses are always the forgotten ugly stepsister that accompanies success. This is because, no matter how dynastic a franchise may be, it’s impossible for them to win the championship every single year, but they always come close.
The closer you come to winning the championship, the more it stings when you fall short. In the last decade, Boston teams have shockingly fallen short as many times as they’ve reached the promised land. With the Patriots back in the Super Bowl and their 2007 loss to the New York Giants still fresh in everyone’s mind, it’s time to count down the 10 most heartbreaking Beantown sports losses of the last 10 years.