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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Decade of Boston Sports

I am 18 years old. I am from a city that lives and dies with their sport teams. All four major franchises have great histories. The odd part is that I have only celebrated one world championship. That was the 2001 Patiots shocking the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. I was only one when the Celtics won the 1986 NBA title. I do not remember the ‘86 World Series. I do not remember the failures of the ‘88 and ‘90 Bruins attempt at the Stanley Cup. I was 11 when the Patriots lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers. I quickly became use to losing.

The 2003 Red Sox I thought were a different team. They were going to start a new era in Boston sports. I was going to witness championships like people did decades earlier with Boston teams. The dynasties of the Celtics in the 60’s and 80’s. The big bad Bruins of the 70’s. I am still waiting for that time. Maybe next year, maybe not, I really do not have the answer. Luckily there is ESPN Classic, so I can cherish the moments both good and bad.

- Mike Cersosimo (Me), October 2003

How the times have changed, my friends? I wrote that shortly after the 2003 Red Sox lost game seven of the ALCS. Never realizing that it was the beginning of something special for this city. It was the beginning of four championships in the next four years.

I''ve been waiting to write this entry for some time now. Since I don't think people understand what they are experiencing. This could be the greatest decade in the history of Boston sports. Really? Yeah, I'm serious and they are still a couple more years left in the decade.

The Patriots have been the NFL team of the decade. They've won three titles. They had a 21 game winning streak back in 2003 through 2004. And, now they are embarking on their greatest season in 2007. They are the favorites this year and you have to love their chances to win at least one more title. Maybe more.

The Red Sox could also make an argument of the MLB team of the decade. They have won two titles. One coming back from a 3-0 deficit and the other 3-1 in the ALCS. They have swept both World Series. They even were five outs away from another World Series in 2003. And, their ownership wants to continue to win which gives them a great shot to repeat next year.

As for the Bruins and Celtics, they have had their moments. Granted the franchises have seen much better decades. Still, the Bruins have won two division titles despite early playoff exits. The Celtics also made a deep run in 2002 before losing in the conference finals. The good news for Celtics fans is that 2007/2008 has a great deal of optimism.

Hell, there is even the New England Revolution who have appeared in three MLS Cup finals. And, don't forget about Boston College. They won the hockey national championship back in 2001. This year their football team is currently ranked number two in the country. Oh, and they haven't lost a bowl game this decade.

I'm sure you could make an argument about other decades, but I feel this is the decade with the most all around greatness. The only other decade that makes a strong argument is the 1970s. Two Stanley Cups with other final appearances. Two NBA titles. One AL pennant and another year that ended with a one game playoff. One Patriot team that had a shot at a Super Bowl, but lost a heartbreaking playoff game to the Raiders.

You might also say this decade lacks star power, but I slightly disagree. Tom Brady will go down as the greatest Patriot ever. Guys like Schilling, Ortiz, and Ramirez have already cemented themselves in Red Sox folklore. Paul Pierce has been the greatest Celtic since the Big Three retired. The Bruins are the only team that lacks anyone with recognition.

So, with all this said, what was the most important moment of the decade? The Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXVI. This team gave Boston to believe in sports again. They were two touchdown underdogs in that game. They had no business winning that game, but defied the odds. Which I think is really what this decade has been all about. Defying the odds.

I will say that as of October 2007, life cannot get any better as a Boston sports fan right now. It's a special time. One that I'll probably be telling my grandkids about when I'm grey and old. And, I don't think the end is near. There's no reason to think it will end. It's a new era of Boston sports when people believe anything is possible.

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