Bruins Win the Stanley Cup: Ranking Boston's 7 Sports Championships This Century

Craig Hutchinson@@CragHutchinsonContributor IIIJune 16, 2011

Bruins Win the Stanley Cup: Ranking Boston's 7 Sports Championships This Century

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    VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  Patrice Bergeron #37, Andrew Ference #21, Mark Recchi #28, Shawn Thornton #22 and Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Fina
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Some people debate whether Boston is a baseball, hockey, basketball or football town.

    The truth is, Boston is a winners town.

    Yet, at the turn of the century, the city of Boston's sports legacy was certainly mixed.

    While the Celtics were still the most successful team in NBA history, they had not won the title since 1986.

    The Red Sox were still "cursed," not having won the World Series since 1918 and having suffered a plethora of heart-wrenching close calls along the way.

    The Patriots had spent most of their history as the laughing stock of the NFL, but had started to turn the corner under the ownership of the Kraft family and had just been defeated by Brett Farve's Packers in 1996 Super Bowl.

    The Bruins? They had not won Lord Stanley's Cup since Bobby Orr led them to the title in 1972.

    Now, just 10 years into the 21st century, all four of Boston's major sports teams have added at least one championship to its history, and seven in total.

    Here we rank Boston's seven championships this century in order of how much they meant to the fans.

7. Patriots: 2003 Super Bowl

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    HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 1:  Kicker Adam Vinatieri #4 of the New England Patriots celebrates with his teammates Christian Fauria #88 and Ken Walter #13 after kicking a 41-yard game-winning field goal in the forth quarter during Super Bowl XXXVIII against th
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    In some parts of the country, the halftime "wardrobe malfunction" was the biggest talking point of Super Bowl XXXVIII.

    For Boston sports fans, it showed that their upset win in 2002 was not a fluke and the Patriots were joining the NFL's elite.

    The game itself almost went an entire half without a point being scored, yet it is regarded by many to be one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time, with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jake Delhomme combining for 649 passing yards and six touchdown passes.

    One thing that is always guaranteed to make the Super Bowl more exciting is watching your team win it.

    This victory enabled Boston sports fans to witness their second championship of the 21st century.

    There would be more to come.

6. Red Sox: 2007 World Series

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 28:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after winning Game Four by a score of the 4-3 to win the 2007 Major League Baseball World Series in a four game sweep of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 28, 2007 i
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    While "Shipping Up To Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys is now a tad overused in the Boston sport scene, the 2007 MLB playoffs was when it really came to prominence, along with thew dominance of Jonathan Papelbon, as the Red Sox rolled to win its second World Series in four years.

    You wait 86 years for a Championship, then two come along at once.

    There were no idiots this time around, no epic comebacks over heated rivals, just simple, efficient and dominant baseball that proved 2004 was not a fluke and that the Red Sox were firmly a powerhouse of Major League Baseball.

5. Patriots: 2005 Super Bowl

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    Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he stands on the podium after The New England Patriots defeated The Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Staduim in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    In 2005 the Patriots earned themselves their third Super Bowl Championship in just four years and could officially start calling themselves a dynasty.

    Like their two previous Super Bowls, this one was decided by three points and the boot of Adam Vinatieri.

    Unlike the previous two, Tom Brady would not win the MVP, it instead went to his receiver Deion Branch who had 11 receptions for 133 yards.

    While some talked about TO's medical-defying courage to play on a busted ankle, or Donovan McNabb's horrific time management in the closing minutes, Boston sports fans were talking about how their football team was the most dominant sports franchise of the new millennium.

4. Celtics: 2008 NBA Championship

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    BOSTON - JUNE 17:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: Us
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    What a difference a year makes.

    At the end of the 2007 season, the Celtics were one of the worst teams in the NBA.

    "It's ok," the fans thought, "if we get the first or second pick in the Draft, we can get Greg Oden or Kevin Durant and build for the future".

    The Celtics got the fifth pick.

    That fifth pick was traded to Seattle along with prospects to acquire Ray Allen.

    Further Prospects and Al Jefferson were traded to Minnesota to acquire Kevin Garnett and the Celtics had their first Big-3 since Bird, Parish and McHale two decades earlier.

    Boston turned it around to gain the best record in the NBA and marched to the finals to face the arch-rival Lakers, a finals matchup of the two most successful teams in NBA history.

    The Celtics were able to ultimately crush LA in the decisive Game 6 and give Boston its first NBA title since the original Big-3 did it in 1986.

3. Bruins: 2011 Stanley Cup

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    VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  The Boston Bruins celebrates after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    With recent success for the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics, the Bruins were in danger of becoming an afterthought of the Boston sports scene.

    Glenn Ordway on WEEI's "Big Show" used to joke that fans would have to take "Bruins Pills" just to get excited for upcoming NHL seasons.

    The city started to pick up steam and really start taking notice of the Bruins again in 2010, yet the team blew a three game and 3-0 game 7 lead over the Flyers in the playoffs leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

    What a difference a year makes.

    Not favored by anyone heading into the playoffs, the Bruins managed to knock off their hated rival Montreal, avenge the previous year's defeat to the Flyers and brush aside Tampa Bay en route to the heavily favored Canucks.

    With the home team winning all the first six games of the finals, the Bruins stepped up in Game 7 to completely outplay Vancouver and out-want the Cup.

    With a 23-8 combined score in the finals, no one can deny Boston deserved the win.

    And the Bruins fans, who had waited since 1972 for a championship, can celebrate the Cup returning to the city of Boston and the Bruins returning to the forefront of Boston sports.

2. Patriots: 2002 Super Bowl

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    03 Feb 2002:  Adam Vinatieri #4 of the New England Patriots breaks  into celebration after kicking the game winning field goal against the St.Louis Rams during Superbowl XXXVI at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The biggest cause for optimism for Patriots fans heading into the 2001 NFL season, was the news that the Patriots had locked up star quarterback Drew Bledsoe by signing him to a 10-year contract extension.

    When Jets linebacker Mo Lewis injured Bledsoe with a hard hit in just the second game of the season, the Patriots' season hopes seemed to disappear with the loss of the face of their franchise.

    The Pats would now have to entrust their season to their backup QB, a sixth-round draft pick from Michigan, the unknown Tom Brady.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    Brady helped turn around the 0-2 start by leading the Pats into the playoffs with an 11-5 record.

    The final snow covered game at Foxboro Stadium against Oakland and the now infamous "tuck rule."

    Bledsoe stepping in to win the AFC title game MVP against Pittsburgh.

    The full-team introduction at Superbowl XXXVI.

    Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard winning field goal to defeat the "Greatest Show on Turf" and give the underdog Patriots a shocking upset win over St Louis.

    It was improbable, unexpected and simply delightful for the entire region of New England to celebrate it's first Superbowl title.

1. Red Sox: 2004 World Series

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    ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 27:  The Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 to win game four of the World Series on October 27, 2004 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    There could only be one winner.

    There are just so many factors that made this the sweetest championship in Boston's history.

    It finally erased 86 years of "The Curse of the Bambino" and the heartache of Aaron Boone, Bill Buckner and Bucky "Bleeping" Dent.

    These self proclaimed "idiots" staged the greatest baseball comeback of all time by defeating the "Evil Empire" Yankees in the ALCS before sweeping St Louis in the World Series.

    As soon as Keith Foulke fielded Edgar Renteria's grounder up the middle and underhanded it to Doug Mientkiewicz at first base, fans at home in Boston started the greatest party the city had ever seen.

    Tens of thousands of people descended to Kenmore Square, shouting, hugging, kissing, crying and dedicating the win to loved ones who passed away without ever having the opportunity to see this magical moment.

    Every Boston sports fan remembers exactly how they celebrated the 2004 World Series.

    The greatest championship in Boston's history.