Every once in a blue moon, a team comes along that just seems fated- they get every break, they overcome every obstacle, and they spark a love affair with fans. They carve out their own place in history.
Here is our take at some of the real magical seasons throughout sports- acknowledging, of course, that there is no way to get every magical season in a Top 10. We will exempt the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team- any team named “Miracle on Ice” seems too obvious to include.
10. 1994 New York Rangers. Messier and the Blue Shirts allowed Rangers fans to die in peace. The franchise has largely died in peace ever since.
9. 2002 Syracuse Orange. As much as we hate Syracuse (and believe me, we do), this team seemed fated to finally give Jim Boeheim his title. Carmelo’s one and done proved to be a good one.
8. 2008 Boston Celtics. The Celts made trades to assemble Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett along with Paul Pierce. Finally, they had the pieces to deliver Boston its first title in 22 years.
7. 2005 Chicago White Sox. The team that had not won a title since 1917 and had endured decades of scorn and derision won on the backs of a talented, home-grown team and a feisty manager.
6. 2011 UConn Huskies. They had not made the Dance in 2010, not expected to do much with a young team in 2011 but won the Maui Invitational and never looked back. Won 10 straight post season games.
5. 1996 New York Yankees. The neverending disabled list, down 0-2 to the Braves in the Series, Doc’s No-No. So many reasons to love this team, that included the rookies Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
4. 2007 New York Giants. Eli’s big brother had just won the Super Bowl, the Patriots were seeking an undefeated season, and the Gints played them close in the last game of the season.
3. 2004 Boston Red Sox. The year earlier, the Sox’ season had ended at the bat of the Yanks’ Aaron F. Boone. They had determined to not let the perpetual losing continue- and the “bunch of idiots” broke through and won Boston’s first title since 1918.
2. 1985 Villanova Wildcats. As much as it pains this Hoya fan to admit this, the Wildcats were due. They had a good regular seasons, lost three times already to the Hoyas but kept it close each time, and the Hoyas were the biggest, baddest boys on the block, begging to be upset in the first Dance played with the three point line and 64 competing teams.
1. 2001 New England Patriots. Of course, a team called the Patriots had to come from nowhere to win the first Super Bowl after 9/11. What else?
Next Top 10: Top 10 West Coast teams of the last decade