The 10 Most Anticipated Sequels in Sports
The summer movie season is fast approaching and with it comes the usual flood of blockbusters and must-see-at-midnight flicks.
At the top of the list this year is, "Iron Man 2," as we get to see the next chapter in the Tony Stark thrillogy. Add in Scarlett Johannsen in skin-tight costumes and sub in Don Cheadle for Terence Howard.
The sequel is a tricky proposition. We can never get enough of a great thing at the movies, but how do you take the story next level without soiling all over the original?
If you're not careful, you end up with "Teen Wolf Too" or "Staying Alive."
The same goes with sports.
Teams and athletes take us on incredible rides and then make us wait months — even years — for the follow-up.
We have to have it, we demand it as consumers but it rarely lives up to the hype.
Here's a look at our picks for the 10 most anticipated sequels in sports history and how they fared on the sequel scale.
1984 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Do you believe in miracles again? Short story: Uh, no.
There was no way this team could ever touch the "Miracle on Ice."
Phil Verchota and John Harrington returned from the 1980 team. It was like when they took Vin Diesel out of "The Fast and the Furious."
You're no Mike Eruzione, Phil Verchota.
The team finished seventh in the medal round. Three players on the team went on to solid NHL careers — Chris Chelios, Al Iafrate and Pat LaFontaine.
Comparable movie: "Porky's II: The Next Day." An all-time flop.
The 1997 New York Yankees
The 1996 New York Yankees ended an 18-year drought of championships in the Bronx.
The team was the talk of baseball, the victory parade through the Canyon of Heroes was one of the most epic celebrations in sports history.
All the components were there to follow up the magic that captivated baseball. In the end, the 1997 version was mighty impressive — they finished with 96 wins, two games behind the Baltimore Orioles but good enough for a wild-card playoff spot.
The Yanks took a 2-1 series lead over the Cleveland Indians, taking Game Three at Jacobs Field. The run to a repeat seemed intact.
Then came two straight one-run losses as the Indians moved on and George Steinbrenner vowed to restock the cupboard for 1998.
Comparable movie: "The Empire Strikes Back." A decent middle of an all-time great sports sandwich.
The 2008 New England Patriots
The 2007 New England Patriots set just about every possible offensive record there was to break.
The Tom Brady-to-Randy Moss connection became the ticket to a 16-0 run — filled with blowouts (hello, Buffalo) and controversy (the Ravens still think they won.)
Everything was clicking. Mercury Morris and the Miami Dolphins finally seemed to be out of champagne. Then came David Tyree.
Despite the Super Bowl loss, the entire football world figured the Pats were angry and fully loaded for 2008.
That dream ended a few plays into the first game of the year, as Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Matt Cassel came in and revived the Pats' hopes and dreams, even led them to an 11-5 record. But the Pats missed the playoffs.
The magic was over.
Comparable movie: "Caddyshack II."
It's one of the most debated sequels ever and polarizes the fan base. Some think it was the worst ever and doomed from the start. Others think there were still enough classic moments to be entertaining.
2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers could be on this list time and again, but the 2002-03 version was the first of the L.A. version that was going for the four-peat.
Kobe and Shaq were on the outs but still finding a way to co-exist on the court. Three straight titles later, the Lakers were once again favorites entering 2002.
An 11-19 start set the tone. The Lakers rebounded to win 50 games and took down Minnesota in the first round. But Tim Duncan and David Robinson proved too much inside as they took the Western Conference semis, 4-2.
The team signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton in the off-season. Still didn't work, as they fell short to the Pistons in the 2004 Finals. So, Shaq was shipped out and a rebuilding of the roster began.
Comparable movie: "The Matrix Reloaded."
Still full of action but the act was already wearing thin thanks to a flimsy script.
1970 New York Mets
The 1969 New York Mets captivated a nation as the first baseball expansion team ever to win a title.
What was an all-time mess just a few years ago became a finely-oiled machine under the tutelage of manager Casey Stengel.
With heroes like Tommy Agee, Ron Swoboda and Tom Seaver, the team that had been over .500 three games into a season just once before 1969 went 100-62.
The team swept through the playoffs to solidify the "Amazin' Mets" nickname in sports folklore.
That's great, kid. What do you do for an encore?
Stengel was done and Gil Hodges came in to lead the 1970 follow-up.
Every moment where destiny shined on the '69 version went the other way in 1970.
The team went 83-79 to finish third in the N.L. East — not a complete flop, but devoid of drama.
Comparable movie: "Return to the Planet of the Apes."
This 1973 fifth in the series was full of great ape-on-ape action moments but never had a moment of drama.
1969 New York Jets
How do you out-guarantee "The Guarantee?"
Broadway Joe Namath and his New York Jets shocked the sports world with the win over the Baltimore Colts in 1969. Namath had one of the greatest off-seasons in sports history, full of debauchery and infamy.
Then came time to get back on the field.
Namath was never ready. He finished with 19 TDs and 17 INTs — just good enough to keep fans interested, but ultimately failing in all the key spots.
Still, the Jets went 10-4 in 1970, good enough to win the AFL Eastern Division. But the fairy tale follow-up ended with a 13-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round.
Comparable movie: "Batman and Robin."
Nipples on the Batsuit? George Clooney never stood a chance with this boring screenplay full of cheesy Arnold moments.
2007 Florida Gators
The Gators swept through the regular season with the dynamic combo of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow, blasting through a schedule where their opponents were a combined 100-49.
They blew out Ohio State, 41-14, in the national title game. Tim Tebow would take the reigns for 2007.
It wasn't meant to be. Two straight losses in the middle of the season to Auburn and LSU took the Gators out of the national title picture.
It was great for Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Award winner, but a Citrus Bowl as the follow-up left Gator Nation wanting more.
Comparable movie: "Aliens."
We were expecting sci-fi, we got an action thriller. Great moments, far from horrible, but ultimately left us feeling flat.
Dream Team II
This was one of the most ill-conceived sequels ever.
The chemistry, the history, the legends, the mix of young and old. It all came together for the 1992 originals as the U.S. took advantage of the Olympics rule change to absolutely dominate in Barcelona.
We all wanted more of the same in 1996. It was on our home court in Atlanta. Slam dunk, right?
This was technically Dream Team III after the 1994 World Championships, but there was little drama as the team won by 32 points per game to take the gold.
More than anything, there was no Magic, Bird or Jordan — just second-tier guys like Stockton, Malone, Barkley and Pippen.
Comparable movie: "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde."
Far from a disaster, but ultimately, it just felt like a box-office money grab.
The 1992 Chicago Bulls
When was the breakthrough going to happen? We all knew Michael Jordan was great, but it wasn't until 1991 that we put him in a different conversation.
He finally led his team to a title in a thrilling run to 61 regular season wins and a dominating win over the Magic Johnson-led Lakers in the Finals.
And just when we didn't think it could get better, the '92 Bulls were even more surgeon-like. They won 67 in the regular season and took down the Blazers in the finals. Jordan won the regular-season and Finals MVP for a second straight year.
The franchise was ready for an epic run of brilliance.
Comparable movie: "Toy Story 2."
Improved on the original in every way. What was originally thought to be a direct-to-video quickie became what many movie experts call the greatest follow-up ever.
McGwire and Sosa in '99
They were credited with reviving the national love affair with baseball.
Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa went on an epic summer-long tear to obliterate Roger Maris' single-season home run mark. It was a study in opposites — Sosa the outgoing smiley one, McGwire the quiet type — and how they elevated each other.
How do you top that? Put another run together to break your own record. McGwire ended up with 65 homers and 147 RBI in 1999, while Sosa was equally offensive with 63 dingers and 141 RBI.
Comparable movie: "Godfather Part II."
Well-conceived plot, great acting, great follow-through. In some ways, better than the original because this time, we expected greatness.