Which got me to thinking. What is the greatest franchise among the major U.S. sports, and where would the Green Bay Packers fit on that list?
The contenders, in order of championships won:
— New York Yankees, 26 championships.
— Montreal Canadiens, 24 championships.
— Boston Celtics, 19 championships.
— Los Angeles Lakers, 14 championships (including Minneapolis Lakers).
— Toronto Maple Leafs, 13 championships.
— Green Bay Packers, 12 championships.
— Detroit Red Wings, 10 championships.
— St. Louis Cardinals, 10 championships.
— Chicago Bears, 9 championships.
— New York Giants, 7 championships.
— Boston Red Sox, 6 championships.
— Chicago Bulls, 6 championships.
— Pittsburgh Steelers, 5 championships.
— Dallas Cowboys, 5 championships.
— San Francisco 49ers, 5 championships.
This list of 15 is a bit unwieldy, so I'll eliminate the Maple Leafs (nine of 13 Stanley Cup titles came during 25-year span when NHL was only a six-team league, and none since the expansion from the Original Six era), Bears (only two championships in the last 60 years), Red Sox (86 years between championships), Giants (.465 postseason winning percentage), Bulls (Michael Jordan was responsible for all six titles) and 49ers (all five titles in a 13-year span).
The next cut is more difficult, but so long to the Red Wings (42-year championship drought before recent run), Steelers (all-time regular-season winning percentage of just .507) and Cowboys (started play in 1960, so lack a long history).
That leaves six teams: The Yankees, Canadiens, Celtics, Lakers, Cardinals and Packers.
My final rankings:
6. Lakers: They are 14-14 in championships series.
5. Canadiens: Ten of their 24 championships came in a six-team league.
4. Cardinals: Perhaps the most underrated franchise in sports, with championships in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1960s, 1980s and 2000s.
3. Packers: Their .625 postseason winning percentage is tops among teams who have played at least 10 playoff games, and have won 12 of their 15 championship games. One championship in the last 40 years is a big blemish, but they get bonus points for their small-town success, community ownership, playing in famed Lambeau Field and their pantheon of legendary names. You can't think of the NFL without thinking about the Packers and such things as the Frozen Tundra, the Ice Bowl, Lombardi and Favre.
2. Yankees: An incredible history in terms of championships, Yankee Stadium and their legendary players. Have won the World Series in 25 percent of their seasons and have a .667 winning percentage in their championship series, but are penalized for their ability to buy whatever talent they need. Like the Packers, you can't think of baseball without thinking of pinstripes, DiMaggio and Ruth. The Packers have so much history, that I would like to put them ahead of the Yankees, but 25 championships is hard to ignore.
1. Celtics: Lead all teams in major U.S. sports with championships in 26.2 percent of their seasons, and have won 16 of their 19 championship series. Broke several color barriers along the way. Like the Packers and Yankees, they get bonus points for such intrinsic things as the parquet floor and a lengthy list of legendary players that are synonymous with the sport.
Tell me what you think. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org