DENVER (CBS4) – There are 12 cities, Denver included, that have at least one team in the 4 major U.S. sports (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL).
So what city can feel the best about its collection of sports teams right now? No official criteria, but for each team I looked at the most recent or current season, a few seasons before that, and what direction they seem to be headed.
And then as a whole, I looked at how many of the teams in a city are champions, contenders or bottom feeders. Some cities have more than four teams, so I still tried to look at the full collection, but most of them had at least one champion so they all ended up near the top.
So here you go, a Power Rankings of the Big 4 Sports Cities based on the current state of their professional franchises:
1. Chicago – Chicago gets top billing thanks to the Blackhawks (NHL dynasty right now with three Stanley Cup championships in six years), the surging Cubs, and the always competitive Bulls. The Bears are the big disappointment currently in the Windy City, along with the White Sox.
2. San Francisco – The Giants missed the playoffs this year, but that was on schedule for their recent run of winning the World Series every other season. The Golden State Warriors are also a championship team, so San Fran could argue for the No. 1 spot, but the 49ers are in a tailspin and the Raiders haven’t made the playoffs in over a decade. The Athletics are also headed in the wrong direction, and the Sharks always seem a few steps from being a serious contender.
3. Boston – Two years ago Boston would have been the undisputed No. 1 in these rankings, but while the Patriots remain the class of the NFL, the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics have trended down since they were all champions or serious contenders in 2013.
4. New York – They have the biggest collection of teams, so the Big Apple is hard to rank, but the Mets really are the reason for No. 4 position, having advanced to the World Series. Other positives: the Rangers and Nets are perennial playoffs teams, but the negatives: the Giants, Jets and Knicks have all missed the playoffs in the last few years. The Yankees were a wild card team this year, but have generally been below their standards for a few seasons.
5. Dallas – The Mavericks 2011 title was the last championship for the city, but the Mavs, Rangers and Cowboys were all in the playoffs in their most recent seasons. The Stars are the one team that is holding Dallas back recently.
6. Denver – The Broncos are the only reason the Mile High City gets in the top half of the rankings, their run of four straight AFC West titles has them among the NFL elite. The Nuggets traded being a playoff team for being a lottery team when they fired George Karl, and while the verdict is still out on the Patrick Roy-led Avalanche, the division title season is looking more like the fluke than last year’s last-place finish. And then the Colorado Rockies, enough said.
7. Washington D.C. – The Wizards and Capitals are perennial playoffs teams in the Eastern Conferences of their sports, while the Nationals are one of baseball’s biggest disappointments based on the talent they have. The Redskins have made the playoffs once in seven seasons.
8. Detroit – The Red Wings remain a playoff team, but they certainly are not a perennial championship contender, while the Tigers have gone in the wrong direction since making the 2012 World Series. The Lions made the playoffs last year, but are 1-6 in 2015, while the Pistons can’t even make the playoffs in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
9. Miami – The city still gets some credit for the run of success the Heat had with LeBron James, but the King is gone, and so are the Heat’s title hopes. The Dolphins are stuck somewhere between being good and being really bad – 8-8 seasons are the norm. While the Marlins and the Panthers (NHL) haven’t been good in years.
10. Philadelphia – The Eagles have made the playoffs three of the last six years, but have lost in the wild card round. While the Flyers have just one playoff appearance the last three years, and the Phillies and 76ers are currently bottoming out.
11. Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Wild are the only reason this metropolitan area edges out Phoenix, as the Wild have made the playoffs three straight seasons. The Vikings seem to be a possible wild card team this year, but the Twins and the Timberwolves are both in long playoff droughts.
12. Phoenix – The Cardinals have won 10+ games for two straight seasons and appear headed back to the playoffs, but the Suns, Coyotes and Diamondbacks do nothing to bring pride to the city right now.