By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit New York Writer, Manhattan, NY
This blog loves lists so I decided to take a crack at the best sports franchises of my generation. I took a look at the teams from the four major sports from 1990 through 2010. I based my decision on championships won, winning percentage, division titles won, finals made, the length of time the team was “good”, and the number of years each team made the playoffs.
Teams of note from readers of the blog that were considered but did not make the list include (aka Honorable Mentions):
Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox broke their 86 year “curse” during this time frame and then won again two years later. They were one of only 4 teams to win multiple championships during the generation; they had a winning percentage of .545, won 3 division titles, made the World Series twice, the playoffs ten times, and were over .500 seventeen times. A very good resume but not strong enough to make the list.
Philadelphia Eagles- Another favorite team that we give a light of coverage, the Eagles are another decent resume that did not make the list. The Eagles won a very good .577 percent of their games, were over .500 sixteen times, won six division titles, had 13 playoff appearances, and made the Super Bowl once. The glaring number missing from their resume is championships — zero.
New York Giants- I came very close to making them tenth and could make a very good argument for them. But I am not as big a homer as howiGit so I am leaving the New York Football Giants off of the list. The Giants won .540 percent of their games, were over .500 fourteen times, won 5 division titles, made 9 playoff appearances, and won 2 Super Bowls (one of them arguably the biggest upset during this time frame). Now to the list.
10. Atlanta Braves– If this was only about championships the Braves would not be on here, only winning one. However during the regular season the Braves were the most impressive baseball team. They won 15 division titles, made the playoffs 17 times, and won .572 percent of their games. They made the World Series five times and were over .500 eighteen times. The Braves pitching staff dominated the National League for a majority of the generation but could only get it together in the playoffs one time.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins– I do not know a thing about hockey; during this generation there was a lock-out and a strike, they measure wins in points instead of winning percentage, and the divisions and number of teams have changed about 23 times in the last 20 years. With that being said I wanted to include a hockey team or two. The Penguins have made the Stanley Cup four times winning three , averaged 87.5 points a year (whatever that means), won 7 division titles, and made the playoffs 15 times.
8. Dallas Cowboys– The self-proclaimed “America’s Team” won 3 Super Bowls in the 90’s anchored by Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin. They have a .562 winning percentage and went to the playoffs 12 times. The Cowboys won the NFC East title a division high 8 times. Since their glory days the Cowboys have flaked out in the playoffs more often than not, winning one playoff game since 2000. How about those Cowboys? I feel dirty, let’s move on.
7. Detroit Red Wings- Another hockey team? Even I can see the Red Wings have had a very good 20 years. They won 4 Stanley Cups throughout the generation, making it to the championship game 6 times; they have averaged 102 points a year, and as far as I can tell have made the playoffs every year that they have taken place. They have been the best hockey team since 1990.
6. San Antonio Spurs– The Spurs really should be higher but I do not know who I would bump. When looking at all the winning the Spurs have done it is very surprising. They boast a .665 winning percentage, and were under .500 missing the playoffs only once. That one time netted them Tim Duncan in the NBA draft, so I would say that worked out. They have been in the NBA finals 4 times, never losing, and never playing there in two consecutive years. The Spurs have been the most consistent winners of any team during this generation.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers*- The Steelers will jump a spot if they win the Super Bowl against the Packers this year. Even without that win they have had an impressive 20 years. They won 2 Super Bowls, playing in three. They have the highest winning percentage of any NFL team in this time frame, and have been over .500 every year except 3. They have won 11 division titles in a tough division.
4. New England Patriots– When looking at the Patriots I was surprised at the success they had in the 90’s. While they did not win anything significant they were much better than I thought. The Patriots came on very strong in the early 2000’s winning three Super Bowls in four years. They boast a very respectable .577 winning percentage and have won 10 division titles. Their winning percentage was certainly helped by their 16-0 regular season. If the New York Giants, and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, did not come back in the 4th quarter against one of the most dominating teams of all-time the Patriots would be a lock for the top three, instead they may be bumped to 5 if the Steelers win in this upcoming Super Bowl.
3. Chicago Bulls– The Bulls certainly had the best stretch of any team on this list. Jordan and Pippen in the 1990’s were absolutely dominant. If Jordan did not take that little sabbatical they may have won 8 ina row. After Jordan left, the Bulls really struggled, being one of the worst teams in the sport for a time.The Bulls have had a little resurgence as of late, but their swoon in the early 2000’s dropped them to number 3.
2. Los Angeles Lakers– While the Bulls have one more championship in this time frame then the Lakers,the Lakers have been consistently better. They did have a small slump after Shaq left to mooch off of Dwayne Wade’s championship, however they have more than made up for it since. The Lakers started off this generation playing in the finals and are the reigning champs. They have played in the finals 8 times, have a .634 winning percentage, and have been over .500 eighteen times. Phil Jackson may have had plenty of bullets between the Bulls and the Lakers but no one can deny that he does some very good things with what he is given.
1. New York Yankees– Now you might be thinking that I just said I wasn’t going to be as big a homer as the distinguished author of this blog; the Bulls have more championships and the Lakers have played in the championship more and have a higher winning percentage. Hear me out. The Bulls have won more championship yes, however they are followed closely by the Lakers (5) and the Spurs (4); the Yankees have won more than twice as many World Series as any other team this generation. Eight different teams have won NBA championships since 1990, 13 different MLB teams have won since then. If the Yankees did not win five of them that number would be higher. It is harder to be consistently good in baseball than the NBA. Inside of baseball, the Yankees had a run very similar to the Atlanta Braves winning 12 division titles, however they followed that up with great playoff success. If you want to compare them to the NFL teams on the list they have won more championships than any team and have been over .500 more than any of those teams. The Yankees dominated a sport that is not used to being dominated, and that is why they are the best franchise of this generation.
Who did I leave out? Who needs to be reshuffled?