The Places to Play: Best Sports Cities of the Past 25 Years

Aaron Titiner@ATitiner61Contributor IIFebruary 28, 2011

The Places to Play: Best Sports Cities of the Past 25 Years

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    As of the past few years, it seems as if sports have been dominated by Boston, New York and Los Angeles. 

    What people don't see is before the 2000s, the 1980s and 1990s were dominated by teams outside of those cities.  I figured it was time to do some research and math to figure out which city has been the most dominant of the last quarter century.  The points will go as follows:

    Season Championship: 10 points each

    MVP: Seven points each

    Rookie of the Year: Five points each

    Manager of the Year: Three points each

    I hope all of you enjoy this and please discuss any additional cities you would think about adding or subtracting. 

10. Dallas, Texas

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    Season Champions:

    Dallas Cowboys - 1993, 1994, 1996

    Dallas Stars - 1999

    Most Valuable Players:

    1993 - Emmitt Smith (Cowboys)

    2007 - Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1990 - Emmitt Smith (Cowboys)

    1995 - Jason Kidd (Mavericks)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1990 - Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys)

    2006 - Avery Johnson (Mavericks)

    Total Points: 70

    The Dallas Golden Age, which took place in the '90s, has remarkably disappeared throughout D-Town today.  The championship drought since 1995 has left Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones alike in dismay as to what these billionaires have done wrong. 

    Their constant playoff struggles and missed opportunities have kept the Stars, Mavs and Cowboys at a sabbatical which will probably end up in Jones paying Goodell a good sum of money just to get a trophy back. 

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota

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    Season Champions:

    Minnesota Twins - 1987, 1991 

    Most Valuable Players:

    2004 - Kevin Garnett (Timberwolves)

    2006 - Justin Morneau (Twins)

    2009 - Joe Mauer (Twins)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1991 - Chuck Knoblauch (Twins)

    1995 - Marty Cordova (Twins)

    1998 - Randy Moss (Vikings)

    2007 - Adrian Peterson (Vikings)

    2009 - Percy Harvin (Vikings)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1991 - Tom Kelly (Twins) 

    1992 - Dennis Green (Vikings)

    2003 - Jacques Lemaire (Wild)

    2010 - Ron Gardenhire (Twins)

    Total Points: 78 

    Clearly, Minnesota strives off of its youth.  Three Vikings have won Rookie of the Year in the past 13 years and all their MVP's have come in the last seven years. 

    It's evident the Timberwolves and the Wild probably won't be winning a championship anytime soon but the Twins and Vikings, although being the joke of 2011 NFL, have core players who may bring some sort of championship back to the Twin Cities. 

    With baseball right around the corner, the Twins still have an iffy roster, and they will need an "all-in" offseason to bring in players who will bring back the Puckett days.

8. Denver, Colorado

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    Season Champions:

    Colorado Avalanche - 1996, 2001

    Denver Broncos - 1998, 1999

    Most Valuable Players:

    1987 - John Elway (Broncos)

    1997 - Larry Walker (Rockies)

    1998 - Terrell Davis (Broncos)

    2001 - Joe Sakic (Avalanche)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1988 - Doug Moe (Nuggets)

    1991 - Mike Croel (Broncos)

    1999 - Chris Drury (Avalanche)

    2000 - Mike Anderson (Broncos)

    2002 - Jason Jennings (Rockies)

    2002 - Clinton Portis (Broncos) 

    Coaches of the Year:

    1989, 1991 - Dan Reeves (Broncos)

    1995 - Don Baylor (Rockies)

    2009 - Jim Tracy (Rockies)

    Total Points: 110

    Elway's city has been quite quiet ever since their World Series appearance in 2007.  Surprisingly enough, the Carmelo-less Nuggets have one appearance on this list and the Avalanche who use to be the powerhouse of the NHL with Sakic and Roy, have healthy young talent that have a positive future. 

    The biggest surprise is the Rockies in that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez headline a team of great ability, and they may be the favorite for the NL West in 2011. 


7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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    Season Champions:

    Pittsburgh Penguins - 1991, 1992, 2009

    Pittsburgh Steelers - 2006, 2009

    Most Valuable Players:

    1988, 1993, 1996 - Mario Lemieux (Penguins)

    1990, 1992 - Barry Bonds (Pirates)

    1999 - Jaromir Jagr (Penguins)

    Rookies of the Year:

    2001 - Kendrell Bell (Steelers)

    2004 - Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)

    2004 - Jason Bay (Pirates)

    2007 - Evgeni Malkin (Penguins)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1990 - Jim Leyland (Pirates)

    Total Points: 115 

    I can't believe the picture showing Crosby and Lemieux has now become one of the greatest captaincy hand-me-downs in hockey.  Though it wasn't given directly from No. 66 to No. 87, the way these two led their club to success and the sheer firepower they attained at such a young age proves that Pittsburgh may be the next "Hockey Town". 

    Other than that, the Steelers have had success over the past decade or so while the Pirates have had complete disaster over the past decade or so.  The beautiful of city of Pittsburgh, I believe, has sure success in the next couple of years and the bodies of Roethlisberger, Crosby and Andrew McCutchen will lead these teams to greatness.

6. Detroit, Michigan

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    Season Champions:

    Detroit Pistons - 1989, 1990, 2004

    Detroit Red Wings - 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008 

    Most Valuable Players:

    1994 - Sergei Fedorov (Red Wings)

    1997 - Barry Sanders (Lions)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1989 - Barry Sanders (Lions)

    1995 - Grant Hill (Pistons)

    2006 - Justin Verlander (Tigers)

    2010 - Ndamukong Suh (Lions)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1987 - Sparky Anderson (Tigers) 

    1987, 1988 - Jacques Demers (Red Wings) 

    1991 - Wayne Fontes (Lions)

    1996 - Scotty Bowman (Red Wings)

    2002 - Rick Carlisle (Pistons)

    2006 - Jim Leyland (Tigers) 

    Total Points: 125

    Detroit has been a consistent city over the last 25 years.  They spread out their championships and they have actually done quite well spacing out their Coaches of the Year.  The problem with Detroit is the teams continue to either suck or get distracted. 

    The Pistons and Lions, although finished 2011 super hot, are teams of the mediocre old and young.  The Wings and Tigers are on a talent rise and the personal of Henrik Zetterberg and the alcohol-loving Miguel Cabrera lead teams that have a bright future. 

5. San Francisco, California

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    Season Champions:

    San Francisco 49ers - 1989, 1990, 1995

    San Francisco Giants - 2010

    Most Valuable Players:

    1989, 1990 - Joe Montana (49ers) 

    1992, 1994 - Steve Young (49ers)

    1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 - Barry Bonds (Giants)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1987 - Benito Santiago (Giants) 

    1993 - Dana Stubblefield (49ers)

    2007 - Patrick Willis (49ers)

    2010 - Buster Posey (Giants) 

    Coaches of the Year:

    1993, 1997, 2000 - Dusty Baker (Giants)

    Total Points: 132 

    Tim Lincecum led the best staff of the MLB to a stellar World Series victory, and beating out some of the best teams in the Phillies and the Rangers proves this extremely young group has a bright future. 

    Over the last few years, the 49ers have been decent and maybe the hiring of Jim Harbaugh will make Alex/Troy Smith become the next Joe Montana/Steve Young.  Yeah right. 

    Going back to the diamond though, the quad of Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner may prove to be the next great thing in baseball.

4. New York City, New York

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    Season Champions:

    New York Mets - 1986

    New York Giants - 1987, 1991, 2008

    New York Rangers - 1994

    New York Yankees - 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009

    Most Valuable Players:

    1986 - Lawrence Taylor (Giants)

    1992 - Mark Messier (Rangers)

    2005, 2007 - Alex Rodriguez (Yankees)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1988 - Erik McMillan (Jets)

    1995 -  Hugh Douglas (Jets)

    2004 - Jonathan Vilma (Jets)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1993 - Pat Riley (Knicks)

    1994 - Buck Showalter (Yankees)

    1996, 1998 - Joe Torre (Yankees)

    Total Points: 155

    Finally, a decade has gone by with only two Yankees World Series victories.  As the most entertaining sports city, the mouth of Rex Ryan highlights a group of teams of cockiness and pure power. 

    The Yankees, Mets, Jets and Giants all have had success in the past five years, and it's only a matter of time before the Knicks, Islanders and Rangers step up as well. 

    Spike Lee's beloved court-runners have made some serious strides to bring a trophy back to the Big Apple.  A lineup consisting of Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony and A'mare Stoudemire form a trio that may be deadly this season. 

    If they do go out in the offseason and go for someone big, it may just turn out to be Chris Paul bringing his talents to NYC.

3. Boston/New England, Massachusetts

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    Season Champions:

    Boston Celtics - 1986, 2008

    New England Patriots - 2002, 2004, 2005

    Boston Red Sox - 2004, 2007

    Most Valuable Players:

    1986 - Roger Clemens (Red Sox)

    1986 - Larry Bird (Celtics)

    1995 - Mo Vaughn (Red Sox)

    2006 - Joe Thornton (Bruins)

    2007, 2010 - Tom Brady (Patriots)

    2008 - Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1988 - John Stephens (Patriots)

    1991 - Leonard Russell (Patriots)

    1995 - Curtis Martin (Patriots)

    1997 - Nomar Garciaparra (Red Sox)

    1998 - Sergei Samsonov (Bruins)

    2004 - Andrew Raycroft (Bruins)

    2007 - Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)

    2008 - Jerod Mayo (Patriots)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1986 - John McNamara (Red Sox)

    1994 - Bill  Parcells (Patriots)

    1998 - Pat Burns (Bruins)

    1999 - Jimy Williams (Red Sox)

    2003, 2007, 2010 - Bill Belichick (Patriots)

    2009 - Claude Julien (Bruins)

    Total Points: 183 

    Hands down the most hated city in sports.  If you don't live in Boston, it's almost inevitable to hate the teams that play there. 

    First of all, they are quite cocky, and second of all, they're just too damn good.  Doc Rivers, Terry Francona and Bill Belichick coach three of the best teams in their respective sports, and I see a championship from all three within the next 10 years. 

    The Red Sox have one of the best lineups in baseball and the Patriots have the second best leader in the NFL (besides Peyton Manning, of course). 

    The personalities of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and KG are finally starting to die down, and they may only stick around for another three to five years, so good luck Boston with building a team around Rondo. 

2. Los Angeles, California

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    Season Champions:

    Los Angeles Lakers - 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010

    Los Angeles Dodgers - 1988

    Los Angeles Angels - 2002

    Most Valuable Players:

    1987, 1989, 1990 - Magic Johnson (Lakers)

    1988 - Kirk Gibson (Dodgers)

    1989 - Wayne Gretzky (Kings)

    2000 - Shaquille O'Neal (Lakers)

    2004 - Vladimir Guerrero (Angels)

    2008 - Kobe Bryant (Lakers)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1987 - Luc Robitaille (Kings)

    1993 - Jerome Bettis (Rams)

    1992 - Eric Karros (Dodgers)

    1993 - Mike Piazza (Dodgers)

    1994 - Raul Mondesi (Dodgers)

    1995 - Hideo Nomo (Dodgers)

    1996 - Todd Hollandsworth (Dodgers)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1989 - Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers)

    1990 - Pat Riley (Lakers)

    1995 - Del Harris (Lakers)

    2002, 2009 - Mike Scioscia (Angels) 

    Total Points: 196 

    Phil Jackson continues to win championships, no matter where he coaches, and he is looking for his third three-peat.  Kobe, perhaps the best player in the NBA and Pau, one of the best centers in the NBA, have proven the other Lakers players can get it done. 

    As for baseball, the Angels and Dodgers have been relatively quiet for the past few years, and they seem to always be the favorite to win their divisions, and it doesn't always work out that way. 

    For the Kings though, their star in Anze Kopitar may be the key for bringing a Stanley Cup to L.A. for the first time. 

1. Chicago, Illinois

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    Season Champions:

    Chicago Bears - 1986

    Chicago Bulls - 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998

    Chicago White Sox - 2005

    Chicago  Blackhawks - 2010

    Most Valuable Players:

    1987 - Andre Dawson (Cubs)

    1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998 - Michael Jordan (Bulls)

    1998 - Sammy Sosa (Cubs)

    Rookies of the Year:

    1989 - Jerome Walton (Cubs)

    1990 - Mark Carrier (Bears)

    1991 - Ed Belfour (Blackhawks)

    1998 - Kerry Wood (Cubs)

    2000 - Brian Urlacher (Bears)

    2000 - Elton Brand (Bulls)

    2001 - Anthony Thomas (Bears)

    2008 - Geovany Soto (Cubs)

    2008 - Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)

    2009 - Derrick Rose (Bulls)

    Coaches of the Year:

    1988 - Mike Ditka (Bears)

    1989 - Don Zimmer (Cubs)

    1990 - Jeff Torborg (White Sox)

    1993 - Gene Lamont (White Sox)

    1994 - Dave Wannstedt (Bears)

    1996 - Phil Jackson (Bulls)

    2000 - Jerry Manuel (White Sox)

    2001 - Dick Jauron (Bears)

    2005 - Lovie Smith (Bears)

    2005 - Ozzie Guillen (White Sox)

    2008 - Lou Piniella (Cubs)

    Total Points: 236

    The only city with a championship in all four sports in the last 25 years has been an underrated power house for the past decade. 

    Even though only two championships have been won, they have been stars of rookies and coaches as they have six ROTY's in the 2000s and five Coaches of the Year in that same time. 

    There's no question that Derrick Rose and crew have brought the MJ success back to the Windy City, and they are a possible favorite to win the NBA Championship.  

    The Bears and White Sox both have been very close to great success in the past couple years while the Blackhawks are coming off their first championship since 1960-61. 

    Then there are the Cubs... The longest active championship drought streak in sports history has continued to show over the past few years.  I swear, a Cubs World Series would bring absolute chaos to Chicago, and I certainly hope I'm not there when the craziness breaks out.