Ranking the top 12 Boston sports teams of the past 12 years

The Run: Ranking the top 12 Boston sports teams of the past 12 years

Tom Brady and the 2001 Patriots kicked off the title run in Boston. But does that get them in the top five of best teams from the era? Credit: Getty Images Tom Brady and the 2001 Patriots kicked off the title run in Boston. But does that get them in the top five of best teams from the era? Credit: Getty Images

 

On Feb. 3, 2002, the Boston sports landscape was altered forever as Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal fell through the uprights in New Orleans. Twelve years later, Boston remains the envy of sports towns across the country due to its teams routinely winning titles and appearing in postseason after postseason.

 

After compiling a list of the top 25 Boston athletes of the past 25 years last year, this year we're ranking the top Boston teams from this championship era. It's the top 12 of the past 12 years, and it's based solely on the perceived "greatness" of that particular team in that particular sport. A look at the list:

 

1. 2004 Red Sox
Record: 98-64 (Won World Series, 4-0, over St. Louis)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2004.shtml

 

2. 2004 Patriots
Record: 14-2 (Won Super Bowl, 24-21, over Philadelphia)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2004.htm

3. 2008 Celtics
Record: 66-16 (Won NBA Finals, 4-2, over LA Lakers)
http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2008.html

4. 2003 Patriots
Record: 14-2 (Won Super Bow,l, 32-29, over Carolina)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2003_games.htm

5. 2007 Red Sox
Record: 96-66 (Won World Series, 4-0, over Colorado)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2007.shtml

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6. 2011 Bruins
Record: 46-25-11 (Won Stanley Cup, 4-3, over Vancouver)
http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/BOS/2011.html

7. 2007 Patriots
Record: 16-0 (Lost Super Bowl, 17-14, to NY Giants)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2007.htm

8. 2001 Patriots
Record: 11-5 (Won Super Bowl, 20-17, over St. Louis)
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2001.htm

9. 2013 Red Sox
Record: 97-65 (Won World Series, 4-2, over St. Louis)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2013-schedule-scores.shtml

10. 2003 Red Sox
Record: 95-67 (Lost in ALCS, 4-3, to NY Yankees)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2003-schedule-scores.shtml

11. 2009 Celtics
Record: 62-20 (Lost in semi-finals, 4-3, to Orlando)
http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2009.html

12. 2013 Bruins
Record: 28-14-6 (Lost Stanley Cup, 4-2, to Chicago - shortened season)
http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/BOS/2013.html

Biggest omissions:

2010 Celtics: Yes, they were minutes away from winning a title against the Lakers in Game 7 in LA. But they woefully underperformed during the regular season and had to settle for the 4-seed in the postseason due to a 50-32 record.

2008 Red Sox: This team got 18 wins out of Daisuke Matsuzaka, so that counts for something. But it was clear in the ALCS that the Rays had the better squad despite the series going seven games. The Rays shredded Jon Lester in Game 2 and took care of Tim Wakefield in Game 3, winning those two games by a combined score of 22-5.

2010 Patriots: Any team that wins 14 games in a regular season deserves credit. But a home loss to the rival Jets makes this team an immediate also-ran.

2011 Patriots: Unlike 2007, the Giants could easily make the case that they were the better team this entire season. New York went into Foxboro in November of this season and dealt the Pats their second straight loss (New England lost the previous week in Pittsburgh).

2014 Bruins: This wound is too fresh, so it’s hard to image many clamoring for this group to shoot up into the top 12. Still, the Presidents’ Trophy! A dominant, 4-1 first round win over the Red Wings! A Vezina winning goalie! A Selke winning center!

Pedro's 2003 and 2004 teams make the cut. But what about those other teams from the early part of the 2000s? Pedro's 2003 and 2004 teams make the cut. But what about those other teams from the early part of the 2000s?

Others considered:

2002 Red Sox
Record: 93-69
Did not make playoffs

2005 Red Sox
Record: 95-67
Lost ALDS to eventual champion White Sox

2009 Red Sox
Record: 95-67
Lost ALDS to Angels

2011 Red Sox
Record: 90-72
Did not make playoffs

2002 Celtics
Record: 49-33
Lost Eastern Conference Finals to Nets

2012 Celtics
Record: 39-27 (shortened season)
Lost Eastern Conference Finals to Heat

2009 Bruins
Record: 53-19-10
Lost in seven games to Carolina Hurricanes
Notes: Clinched top seed in East for first time since 2002.

2013 Patriots
Record: 12-4
Lost 26-16 to Broncos in AFC Championship

2012 Patriots
Record: 12-4
Lost 28-13 to Ravens in AFC Championship

2006 Patriots
Record: 12-4
Lost AFC Championship 38-34 to Colts
Notes: Upset 1-seeded Chargers in divisional round

2005 Patriots
Record: 10-6
Lost 27-13 in divisional round to Broncos
Notes: Tedy Bruschi voted NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS

 
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