NBA Playoffs 2011: Where Would a Championship Rank Among Chicago Bulls' Titles?

Sean O'DowdContributor IIIMay 11, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12: (L-R) Former players  Scott Williams, assistant coach Johnny Bach, Dennis Hopson, John Paxson, Horace Grant, Craig Hodges, Stacey King, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Will Purdue and Cliff Levingston of the Chicago Bulls pose with the trophy during a 20th anniversary recognition ceremony of the Bulls 1st NBA Championship in 1991 during half-time of a game bewteen the Bulls and the Utah Jazz at the United Center on March 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Green Bay Packers certainly haven’t won the most super bowls out of the 32 NFL teams. Yet, Green Bay is the undisputed “title town” when it comes to football. Much the same, Chicago has not won the most NBA Championships, but certainly could be called the NBA’s “title town,” thanks to MJ and co.

Therefore, it would seem as if a championship this year would have such steep competition if it could not be as meaningful next to the unbelievable six championships Jordan brought our city in the 90s. Yet, a potential championship this year could be among the best in the minds of Bulls fans.

Although it is not guaranteed the Bulls will win the championship, it sure is nice to speculate and daydream about that ticker-tape parade during work isn’t it? But with the Hawks almost gone and a tough matchup with the Heat upcoming, the NBA Championship is on the horizon.

For this analysis, two different factors will be used to determine where a title would rank this year for the Bulls among the titles in the 90’s. The first is Surprise Factor. As the name suggests, it simply compares whether or not the city saw the championship coming. As the only the thing better than a championship is a championship that no one saw coming, the Bulls teams that accomplished such a feat will be ranked higher on this analysis.

The next factor that will weigh in on this analysis is rather self-explanatory too. This factor is How Special the Championship Was, or how meaningful the championship was. Therefore, championships will be ranked low if it was “just another championship” or if it was meaningful in some way. Rankings for this category and Surprise Factor will be between 1-5 with five being the best.

1991: Surprise: 4. How Special it Was: 4.

This Championship really wasn’t expected, giving it a high surprise rating. It was very meaningful due to the fact it was it was Jordan’s first.

1992: Surprise 2. How Special it Was: 2.

This championship had to be predicted going into the season so it was not much of a surprise, and since it was just a stepping stone in the number of championships the Bulls won, it was not as special.

1993: Surprise 1. How Special it Was: 5.

This one was obvious in terms of surprise. The two time reigning champions were obviously the favorite, making a championship not a surprise. How special it was ranked much higher because this victory cannot be measured as it marked the end of the first three-peat.

1996: Surprise 3. How Special it Was: 4.

This championship was somewhat of a surprise, as the Bulls had a drought in terms of hardware for the past few years. On the other hand, the return of MJ diminishes some of the surprise factor, leading to a neutral grade of 3. 1996 scores high on how special it was as it led to the beginning of a new run.

1997: Surprise 2. How Special it Was: 2.

Just like the “middle” championship in the first three-peat, this one was neither a surprise nor special.

1998: Surprise 1. How Special it Was: 5.

There was no way this championship was surprise anyone. Chicago, basketball fans, and even the whole country knew that the Bulls would come home with this one. But how special it was is incredible. The last championship of the Jordan era certainly captures this sentiment.

??2011?? Surprise 5. How Special it Could Be: 5

A potential championship this year would rank highly in the surprise category. A new coach with a new roster normally does not spell success, and no one predicted the number of wins the team had. A championship would also be incredibly special as it would be the first since MJ wore a Bulls uniform. 

Based on this analysis, the most meaningful championships would be 1991, and then the championship at the end of each three peat, 1994 and 1998. But, a potential championship this year a tad bit more meaningful than all of them. 

After years of mediocrity following Jordan's departure, the Bulls have finally returned as one of the elite franchises in the NBA. The greatest player in the history of the game is gone, but in his place is a young MVP who can only improve. Phil Jackson may have left the Bulls bench, but a tough, no-nonsense coach in Tom Thibodeau has taken his place.

Thibs and Rose combined to lead the Bulls to the best record in the league. And although it was not analyzed in this study, what could be most special about a championship this year, is that the dynamic duo, along with the help of others such as Joakim Noah, could help create a new dynasty in Chicago. If that were the case, a 2011 Championship would cement it’s place as one of the greatest in Bulls history for good.