The football team – the Super Bowl Favorite – exited the playoffs with one of the two or three worst losses in franchise history. The basketball team was caught from behind just a few steps short of outlasting its rival and winning it’s 18th World Championship. The Baseball team was right in the thick of a division race before the whole team landed on the disabled list. And the hockey team melted so badly that the Flyers series is now cited as evidence of Climate Change.
It all begs the question …. Was 2010 the most disappointing year in Boston sports history?
I think the devout hockey fan can’t help but feel that way. As for myself, who only dates the Bruins on the side, the answer is a bit less clear but suffice to say, 2010 is definitely in the conversation.
The question really begs a second question and that is whether it is more disappointing to be in the game and experience tough losses or is it more painful to live in the dark and never taste success? If it’s the latter, you can pick a year like 1992 and rank it pretty high. But if it’s the former, it seems like 2010 is pretty damn competitive.
For argument’s sake, here are a few nominees to go up against 2010:
1978: The obvious centerpiece to this shit show was the Red Sox collapse in August and the subsequent playoff loss to the Yankees. But 78 also featured a Finals loss to the frigging Canadians, the Celts drifting in no mans land and a disastrous end to the Pats season where the coach was suspended for a game and the team was knocked out of the playoffs by Earl Campbell. People forget, but that Pats team was damn good. How good? How about 3200 yards rushing in ONE season!
1986: This is all about Buckner and if the Sox are your one-trick pony, this may be enough. The problem here is the Celts had one of the best seasons in NBA history in 86 and the Pats won a division. I guess BC fans can toss in a brutal Sweet Sixteen loss to Memphis into this mix but that doesn’t move the needle enough for me.
1992: This was the darkest year in the post-Bird and pre-Parcells Dark Ages. The Red Sox won 72 games. The Patriots won two games. Cam Neely missed most of the year and the Bruins stunk. And Bird called it quits. That is called …. Bottoming out!
1997: There is a nice mix involved here. First off, the Sox took a step back and finished in fourth. The Pats, coming off a Super Bowl loss in February, had a nice season but suffered a rash of injuries and had to play a playoff game in Pitt without a healthy Terry Glenn, a healthy Curtis Martin or a healthy Ben Coates. (That was the “Ted Johnson” game, named that because he sexually assaulted Jerome Bettis ALL afternoon.) The Bruins had their first losing season in TWENTY YEARS. And the Celts were the worst team in the NBA. Not only that, but they then got hosed in the lottery and missed a chance to draft the ninth best player in league history. The only thing working against 1997 is that on November 18th, the Sox traded for Pedro Martinez and the skies began to brighten.
So that is the competition. Personally, my pick is 1992 since I would rather get close and lose than wander aimlessly as Boston sportsfans did that year. That said, there is no disputing the fact that 2010 was a pisser. But here are a few things working against its candidacy.
1) Yes, the Celtics lost a heartbreaker but the Green gave us a TREMENDOUS playoff run. And while the fourth quarter collapse against LA had me in a fetal position, I can’t help but have fond memories of the Celtics post-season. Nobody likes losing a championship series to their rival but the Cleve/Orlando/LA series were about as good as it gets for an NBA fan.
2) Three broken bones (Pedroia, Youkilis and Martinez) may have ruined the Sox season but I can’t help but be excited for the arrival of the Mexican Penis, Adrian Gonzalez!
3) The Pats may have crapped all over themselves on Sunday but a fair argument can be made that they arrived to the party a year ahead of schedule. And if this was the rebuilding year, it was pretty fulfilling.
So no, I don’t think 2010 was the worst year to be a Boston Sports fan. It was a tough year, no doubt. And maddening at times. But some good things happened and that is not something that a year like 1992 can claim. That said, the variable here is the Bruins and if I cared more about hockey, I would probably have a different answer.