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10 cities that fail against a big rival
The Chicago Blackhawks needed only 17 seconds to rip the hearts out of the Boston faithful on Monday, but truth be told, taking down the Bruins for the Stanley Cup simply extended the Windy City’s painful reign over Beantown that spans three sports and nearly 30 years.
It is an impressive display of power, to be sure. But is Boston’s inferiority complex when it comes to Chicago the biggest out there? Plenty of cities or regions have scored multiple titles at the expense of another, but it takes some gusto to really humiliate a town. So here we list our choices for the 10 cities that sport the biggest bragging rights over another.
You think we got it wrong? Think we missed one? Tweet us back at @FOXSports and sound off, using #SecondStringCity. We’ll post the best tweets and see how our list compared to yours.
CHICAGO over BOSTON
The reign of pain began in the 1985-86 football season when the Bears, still considered one of the greatest single-season teams in NFL history, capped a near-perfect season at the expense of the New England Patriots with a 46-10 thrashing in Super Bowl XX. The next was less painful for Bostonians at the time (in fact, the beloved Celtics never lost to Michael Jordan in the playoffs). But despite Larry Bird winning three championships and cementing himself as one of the greatest to ever play, the lasting image of Bird for Generation Z is a futile attempt to get a hand in Jordan’s face as No. 23 dropped a playoff-record 63 points on Boston. The Celtics would go on to the win title that season, but it would be Bird’s last as Jordan took over the NBA from there. And now the Blackhawks killed the B’s in the most painful of fashions. Both cities faced their struggles on the baseball diamond, but the White Sox got a ring in 2005, and the Cubs won’t bow down to Boston as they try to break their own curse because they’re busy blaming Bartman. Boston can talk all it wants about its championship “grand slam” in the 2000s, but even still, there’s so much more embarrassment left for the city to overcome.
NEW YORK over BOSTON
Boston doesn’t just play little brother to Chicago; it also looks up to New York, as well. The Yankees stole Babe Ruth and cursed the Red Sox for nearly a century, and despite Boston having won a championship more recently than New York in the NHL (1) and NBA (6), the Big Apple has the more valuable franchise in each of those sports (not to mention Major League Baseball, as well). Oh, and there’s still the issues of Super Bowls XLII and XLVI (where the other Manning sent Tom Brady home a loser, the first ending what would have been the first 19-0 season in NFL history) and a difference of 20 World Series rings to address. Sorry, Boston, but you’ve got some work to do before you can hang with the Big Apple, and you know it.
NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY over DENVER
New York, being what it is, has likely become the source of many inferiority complexes. And being as close in proximity and association as it is with New Jersey, you’ll have to forgive the Westerners in the Mile High City for lumping the tri-state area together. In 1982, Denver lost its NHL club to New Jersey (then stole Quebec’s team in 1995). In between, the Broncos lost Super Bowl XXI to the Giants in 1987 — the first of three Super Bowl losses in four seasons for the franchise. Closer to the present, Denver sustained further embarrassment when the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony (a New York native, by the way) forced his way out in order to play for the Knicks. And though Denver’s “new” hockey team won a Stanley Cup in 2001 — with a win over its old team, the New Jersey Devils — the Nuggets and Rockies don’t give fans much to cheer about, and most of them probably wish they could have followed ’Melo east.
BALTIMORE over CLEVELAND
Everyone from Cleveland laments the city’s championship drought, which dates back to 1964 (before there were Super Bowls). And while Baltimore didn’t cause it, Charm City certainly doesn’t make many Clevelanders feel better about their lack of rings. The obvious source of Cleveland’s inferiority complex here comes from the Browns’ departure for Baltimore in 1996, and in 28 meetings since the new Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999, the Ravens are 21-7. Add to that the fact that the Browns haven’t won a playoff game in that span while Baltimore has won two Super Bowls with Cleveland’s old team, and you can understand the level of pain. But chin up, Cleveland — the Indians did beat the Orioles in the 1997 ALCS after losing to them in the ALDS a season earlier … and you’ve still got that 1964 AFL Championship — over Baltimore, I might add — to look back on.
NEW YORK over BALTIMORE
Don’t get all cocky just because you’ve got Cleveland under your thumb, Baltimore, because there’s a city a few hours northeast of you that’s got your number and won’t ever let you forget it. If you’re looking for examples, we should probably go back to the beginning, when Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III guarantee stunned the world and ended the AFL, and then in the 1970s, the Knicks regularly got Baltimore’s goat. The Knicks eliminated the Baltimore Bullets in the 1969 and ’70 postseasons, and after allowing Baltimore to have one in 1971, New York returned to end Baltimore's season again in the 1972 and ’73 playoffs (after getting Earl Monroe from the Bullets before the 72-73 season). Before the 1973-74 season, the Bullets dropped Baltimore from the name, but it made no difference; the season still ended at the hands of the Knicks. On top of all that, the Orioles will always have the ’69 Mets in the NL and Jeffrey Maier in the AL to remind Baltimore where it stands in the baseball hierarchy. But hey, congrats on Super Bowl XXXV.
ST. LOUIS over CHICAGO
Chi-town may have an edge over Beantown, but when it comes to St. Louis, Chicago will always be jealous of its neighbor to the southwest. Like Cleveland with Baltimore, there is the whole “You stole our football team” thing, as the Chicago Cardinals moved to the Gateway to the West in 1960 after four decades in the Windy City. In the past 20 years, the Blackhawks are 0-2 in playoff series against the Blues, winning one game while losing eight. But baseball is the lifeblood of both of these cities, and while Cubs-Cardinals used to be a rivalry, a trip to Wrigley these days is like a weekend off for the Cards, who actually have living fans who have seen them win a World Series (or 11). Combine the most embarrassing curse in baseball with the most embarrassing trade in the sport’s history (remind me again how Brock-for-Broglio turned out), and you’ve got all the makings of a classic inferiority complex.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA over KANSAS CITY
Poor Kansas City, you can’t catch a break — and all too often, your pain is a result of Northern California’s gain. The first instance came in 1968, when you lost your Major League Baseball team to Oakland. Then later that year, the Oakland Raiders throttled your Chiefs in the AFL playoffs (though at least you got them back the following season). Then in 1985, your NBA team bolted for Sacramento, and has still, to this day, yet to be replaced. Oh yeah, 1985 — the year of the Royals’ last playoff appearance. When it comes to on-field history, there’s not much precedent, but the A’s did sweep the Royals in their only postseason meeting, in 1981. All told, the baseball team Kansas City lost has won more World Series (four) than the new one has even played in (two). Keep an eye on your BBQ, KC, or else San Fran might take that.
LOS ANGELES over MINNEAPOLIS
You talk about spanning time. The humiliation began when Tinseltown abducted the Lakers from the City of Lakes and turned them into the crown jewel of the NBA. That was way back in 1960. Five years later, the Dodgers beat the Twins in the World Series in seven games. In the years since, the Vikings did go 5-1 against the Rams in the playoffs, so that rocks. But four decades after losing the Lakers, Minneapolis scored a wicked postseason hat trick of pain, all at the hands of Southern California:
• In October 2002, the Angels walloped the Twins 4-1 in the ALCS en route to winning their first World Series title
• In May 2003, the Ducks swept the Wild in the Western Conference finals
• In May 2004, the Lakers ended the greatest season in Timberwolves history with a six-game win in the Western Conference finals
NEW YORK over LOS ANGELES
Like Baltimore and Chicago before you, you reap what you sow, LA. The City of Angels may have done a number on Minneapolis, but its luck doesn’t stretch as far against one of the big boys. Sure, you took one of the Big Apple’s other baseball teams, landing the Dodgers in 1958. And since then? The Yankees have 10 World Series titles, beating you in two of them. And the Yankees beat the Angels in the ALCS in 2009 on their way to their last championship. In hoops, the LA Lakers have nine more titles than the Knicks (11-2), but the Knicks’ two titles both came over the Purple & Gold, including 1970, when Willis Reed provided the league with one of its most iconic moments.
DALLAS over BUFFALO
Not exactly known as bitter rivals in any sport at any time, these two shared the spotlight on the biggest stage three times in two sports in the 1990s, and the folks in New York are still waiting for the hurt to go away. In football, the Dallas Cowboys ended the Bills’ historic run as bridesmaids, beating them in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII — Buffalo’s third and fourth consecutive losses in the big game. Those Cowboys would win one more title, but at least it wasn’t over the Bills. Fast forward a few years, and the best goalie in the world, Dominik Hasek, had the Sabres in the Stanley Cup Final, against a team from Texas of all places. Once again, Buffalo came on the losing end, falling to the Stars in six games. The Nickel City was at least competitive, taking Dallas to six games, including overtime in the deciding game. But thanks to Brett Hull and his skate, being competitive doesn’t mean the end result didn’t hurt like hell.
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