Friday Oct 20

The 10 Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time

  1. New York Yankees: In 1920, Babe Ruth joined the New York Yankees. In the 90 years that would follow, the pinstripes would appear in what would feel like almost every other World Series hence, en route to a mind-boggling 27 championships. The Bombers have sent enough brass to Cooperstown that they could open their own wing; 44 players enshrined to date with at least a handful more assuredly on their way. Key 5: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter.
  2. Boston Celtics: The Celtics have been piling up hardware ever since Auerbach and Russell began their epic run of 11 championships in 13 years way back when.  Today, the Green Men's 17 championships is tops in the NBA. A ridiculous 33 men with Celtic ties are enshrined in Springfield. Key 5: Bill Russell, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Paul Pierce.
  3. Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers: The absurdly inapt name isn't the only thing the Purple and Gold carried over from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Though they got whipped by #2 for much of the sixties, its hard to argue that since 1980, the Lakers have reigned supreme.  Their 31 finals appearances is just plain stupid nasty, and at 16 championships, it may not be long before their cross-country rivals get overtaken.  Key 5: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Kobe Bryant.
  4. Montreal Canadiens: Though the Habs have been looking more like the Hab-nots as of late, history is clearly on their side.  Canada's finest have won an astounding 24 championships, essentially a quarter of all Stanley Cups won throughout history. They've also sent a stupefying 44 members to the Hall of Fame. Key 5: Guy Lafleur, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard, Patrick Roy.
  5. UCLA Bruins Men's Basketball: Behind arguably the greatest coach that ever lived, UCLA epitomized dominance in the sixties and seventies en route to an overall 11 national championships and 30 conference titles.  After falling out of favor for much of the eighties and nineties, the Bruins seized back their prominence under Ben Howland with 3 consecutive final four appearances from 2006-2008. Key 5: Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, Ed O'Bannon, Sidney Wicks.
  6. Brazilian National Soccer Team: In the world of international soccer, Brazil is the gold standard-bar none. Of the 18 World Cups that have been held, Brazil has starred in seven finals, capturing a whopping five Cups. They've also raked in three Confederations Cups and eight Copa America Cups to boot. Key Five: Pele, Ronaldo, Garrincha, Zico, Rivaldo, Kaka.
  7. Alabama Crimson Tide Football: UCLA had John Wooden, Notre Dame had Knute Rockne, and Alabama had one Paul "Bear" Bryant." From '58-'82, Bear took the Tide to six of their fifteen (again, this is up for debate) national championships. Over their 114-year history, Alabama Football has captured 27 conference titles and appeared in more bowl games than any other NCAA school with 59. Perhaps their most mind-boggling statistic was somehow managing to go 113 years before finally producing a Heisman winner in Mark Ingram. Key 5: Bart Starr, Joe Namath, John Hannah, Don Hutson, Ozzie Newsome.
  8. Notre Dame Fightin' Irish Football: Though the glory days of Notre Dame football are behind us (last championship was 1988), the Fightin' Irish will always hold a special place in college football lore. Notre Dame leads all schools with 48 alumni in the College Football Hall of Fame, and positively churns out NFL talent like few others, having produced nearly 500 NFL draft selections and ten Pro Football Hall-of-Famers (Did someone say Joe Montana?). Though national championships are always a bit murky to conclusively determine pre-BCS era (and even post, sadly enough) many credit the school with 13 national championships. Key 5: Joe Montana, Alan Page, Tim Brown, Paul Hornung, Curly Lambeau.
  9. Soviet National Hockey Team: When most of us think of the Soviet National Ice Hockey Team, one phrase comes to mind, “Do you believe in miracles?!!” Well believe me when I tell you that that win for the Americans was a miracle and then some. From the mid-fifties to the early-nineties (when the communist empire crumbled), Soviet hockey ruled with an iron fist, winning just about everything there was to win for an international hockey team including seven gold medals over nine Olympics and another 19 golds at the World Championships. Key 5: Vladislav Tretiak, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Valeri Kharlamov, Sergei Makarov, Aleksandr Maltsev.
  10. Tennessee Lady Vols: Though the UConn women are all the rage today, when it comes to women's college hoops, one school stands above all the rest, Pat Summit's Lady Vols. In the 29 March tournaments that have taken place, the white and orange have appeared in 27 Sweet Sixteens, an astounding 18 Final Fours, and have won eight championships. Key 5: Holly Warwick, Bridgette Gordon, Deadra Charles, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings.

-----------------------------Honorable Mentions: -------------------------------------
Green Bay Packers, USC Trojans Football, UNC Tarheels Women's Soccer, Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling, Pittsburgh Steelers, UCLA Rugby, Duke Blue Devils Basketball, Chicago Bulls, St. Louis Cardinals, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Toronto Maple Leafs, USC Trojans Baseball, Detroit Red Wings, UConn Huskies Women's Basketball, USA National Men's Basketball, Juventus, Michigan Wolverine Hockey, AC Milan, Manchester United, Kentucky Wildcats, Oklahoma St Cowboys Wrestling, Texas Longhorns Baseball.

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+1 # 2010-06-10 10:43
How can you rank the Lakers and even the Celtics for that matter above the Candiens?

I know its hockey but they are clearly more dominant then both of those NBA franchises.
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0 # 2010-06-10 12:15
I knew that objection was coming so here's what I'll say. The Canadiens have been around since 1909, so having won 24 championships over 101 years comes to a 24% win rate. The Celtics on the other hand joined the NBA in 1946, so their 17 championships over 64 yrs comes to about a 27% win rate. The Lakers are closer, having joined the NBA in 1948, their win rate is 24%. That and the fact that the Canadiens haven't won since 92-93 while Boston and LA continue to fight it out for championships, and I give the edge to the hoopsters. Its certainly a worthy debate tho...
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+2 # 2010-06-10 13:24
Also, ya gotta take into account that 14 of the Canadiens Cups were won during the original six era. Not to invalidate that era completely but in a league in which all u have to do to make the playoffs is finish 3rd worst, ur not exactly conquering the world.
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0 # 2010-06-14 11:11
I agree with your reasoning until you reach the point of the number of teams in the league. i mean the Celtics won tons of championships and there were like 8 teams in the league. Same thing can be said for the Yankees who dominated baseball when there were only a few teams in MLB. So i don't think you can use this as valid reasoning here.
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0 # 2010-07-11 22:19
Actually, the Celtics won only three (not tons of) championships when there were only eight teams in the league. They won five when there were nine teams, two when there were twelve, one with 17 and five since 1975 when there have been 18 teams. Granted they've only won one since 85-86, but that's still one more than the Canadiens since 92-93. As for the Yankees, I'm no Yankees fan but for 18 of their Series wins, there were indeed only eight teams in each league; but no playoffs, no wildcard--winner won the pennant. From 1961, there were ten teams in each league; Yankees have won nine Series since then, and from '77, 28 teams in each league with seven Series wins...
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+1 # 2010-07-12 08:20
Hey Gene did you not seen the "like" before I said 8 teams? I guess the like doesn't buy me ONE more team to 9 total teams? And does 8 not count as tons?
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0 # 2011-02-11 15:31
Michigan Wolverine hockey deserves at least an honorable mention. Since the sport has awarded national titles (about 60 seasons), the Wolverines have won nine (the closest runners-up are at seven, and the much-vaunted Minnesota is at five). They've been to the tourney 32 times, including the last 20 straight, and the Frozen Four two dozen (keep in mind the tourney WAS just four teams for a while), all of which are records. They were down from the mid-'60s to early '90s, but they spent much of that time in a brutally competitive conference.
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0 # Matt Lewis 2013-02-27 20:53
Where is Michigan football? They only have the most wins in college football AND America's largest stadium
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+5 # jon bloggs 2015-03-31 01:49
I think you will find if you had checked the numbers.
That the number one team is in fact
"The All Blacks" the National Rugby team of New Zealand. Who hold a winning record against every team they have ever played.
Only 5 other teams have ever beaten them.
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0 # Eddie 2015-05-24 04:28
I wouldn't exactly put Gail Goodrich in the list of 5 key Lakers. This Is a franchise with some of the greatest centers of all time, so George Mikan (5 rings when they were still in Minneapolis), Shaq (the key to their 2000-2002 threepeat more than Kobe) or Wilt (anchor of legendary 1971-72 team) should have been listed instead.

For their rival Celtics, while I respect Paul Pierce, he won only one ring for them. I would have listed Sam Jones (10 rings and was leading scorer on many of those 60's teams), Dave Cowens (one-time MVP and Russell's successor) or either Kevin McHale or Robert Parish instead.

While they haven't won as much as the Yankees, can't we say that the St. Louis Cardinals are their NL version? They've been competitive for nearly 100 years and have had many all-time greats and championship teams.

All in all, a great list.
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-1 # Michael 2015-07-10 10:04
The Lakers need to be above the Celtics for sure. Way more historic. Way more historic players and consistent success
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+1 # Mark Burnicle 2015-12-10 04:43
Oh gee folks can we look a little broader? The greatest sports franchise measured by results ( and scoreboard is all that matters). is the New Zealand All Black Rugby Union team . 76% winning record across it's history. The above are all great teams but no one comes close to the ABs....and I'm an Aussie not a Kiwi.
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0 # Graeme 2016-01-16 04:05
Ditto. The United States men's national basketball team and the New Zealand men's rugby team are the only true great sports teams. All the others are either not world sports or not tested outside their own country.
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+2 # Tommy John 2016-05-25 08:52
Soviets are by far the best and without a doubt should be at the top of the list
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0 # broderie 2017-09-12 21:10
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