Tuesday, January 8, 2013

5 best and 5 worst sports franchises

My week has been good. The hockey lockout has ended! I am a huge hockey fan, I love the Red Wings, but I also pay attention to the Flyers, Jets (used to be Thrashers) and the Panthers. In the offseason, long time Detroit Red Wing defensemen Niklas Lidstrom announced he was retiring. The retirement brought upon alot of questions in the Red Wings organization, starting with the defense situation, and who would be the next Captain of the team. 
  Today the Red Wings announced that veteran Forward Henrik Zetterberg will be the new Captain. I was reading an article about this on ESPN.com, and some fans from all over hockey said there opinions. One fan said something that got me thinking. He said something along these lines "Why do Red Wing fans think its Stanley Cup or bust, isnt that a little prideful of them." I was thinking about that, and I think every organization in sports should have the mindset of championship or bust. But the post wasnt about the organization, it was about the fans. Why do Red Wing fans expect Stanley Cups every year? The easy answer is because in my lifetime we have never missed the playoffs, and I am 21. The organization has made a product on the ice that fans can be proud of. Even when we are supposedly rebuilding we are still in the race for the cup, and that is the goal of every sports franchise. 
With all this thinking, I have been thinking "What are the top 5 franchises over the last 20 years?" 
So heres my top 5 franchises in the past 20 years. 
1. Detroit Red Wings. Even though hockey does have 8 playoff spots, it still is hard to be one of the best teams in the game for over 20 years. You can get a good season one year, but to have it 20+ years in a row shows something about how they draft players, get good free agents, and develop their own talent. 
2. Green Bay Packers I hate the Packers. In fact, I see a cheesehead hat and I wanna puke, but what the organization has done in my lifetime cannot be denied. They have had 2 quarterbacks (I know Flynn started once, and before Favre they had a qb in the 90s), but when you think of 90s Packers you think of Brett Favre. The Packers have had only 2 championships in this stretch, but they have won several division championships, and have had countless pro bowl players, and they know how to draft players. The Packers can have a player get hurt, and they can have a no name step in and be a player people will love. I hate the Packers, but you have to respect the organization, and I do. 
3. Las Angeles Lakers I am not a big basketball fan, but I do know that from the late 90's to today the Lakers have been a good basketball team. This year they have struggled, but over the last decade + Kobe has been the best player in the league, and has brought 4 championships to the organization. The Lakers have management who want to win, and want to win now, they will do the moves necessary to win, even though this year isnt a good year. 
4. New England Patriots What kind of NFL team finds their Franchise qb in the 6th round? In the 2000s and for a bit the mid 90s the Patriots have had one of the best teams in the NFL. They have won more than the Packers, but the Packers get the nod over New England because the Packers have been better longer. 
5. New York Yankees  There probably is a better option than the Yankees for the top 5, but part of this thought process of mine is fans who expect to win every year, and thats the Yankees. The past 4 or 5 years the Yankees havent been as dominant. They won a WS a couple years ago over Philly, but they have been on the downside. The Yankees take a different approach to winning. They dont draft well, they dont raise up their own talent, they trade away their talent to get players that they know can play, and they have a higher payroll for that. In the 90s the team to beat was the Yankees. Like I said, the past few years the team hasnt been as good, but the fans expect championships. 

Honorable Mentions 
San Antonio Spurs
Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburg Steelers

Now the bottom 5. 
1. Detroit Lions.. I am a Lions fan, but that does not change the fact they are a terrible franchise. Its starts in the owners box. The teams who made the top 5 franchises had one thing in common, owners who want to win. Ford doesnt care if the Lions win or lose. The Matt Millen era lasted way too long. Recently I saw good signs out of the team, but this year we took a big step back, and we will see what happens in the future, but a rebuilding team shouldnt take 20 years. 
2. Pittsburg Pirates. Part of the Pirates problems is that baseball doesnt have a salary cap rule, so teams like the Yankees can spend whatever money they want on players. However, Oakland is in the same ballpark as the Pirates, and still compete. I do not really know what the problem with Pittsburg is, but they need to figure out a way to develop good players consistently. They can get one or 2 good players at a time, but they cant get a team, last year was a better year for them, lets see if they can turn the corner. 
3. Toronto Maple Leafs Losers since 67. The franchise has alot of pride in the past, and thats just it, its all in the past. Fans are tired of being down, and they are ready for the turn. They do have good pieces in place, lets see if they can turn the corner too. 
4. Golden State Warriors I do not remember a time where Golden State was relevant, and that is why they are on my list. They could have been good, I really dont know, but you dont hear about them, nobody talks about them, and they dont really have a player you can connect with the organization. 
5. Buffalo Bills The BIlls are the AFC version of the Lions, they have wasted players talent. The team has been releveant in the 90s, but have the longest playoff drought in the NFL, which gives them that title. 

Honorable Mentions
New York Islanders
Dallas Cowboys (I know they were good in the 90s thats why they are only here, but the last 10 years Jerry Jones being the GM has ruined this organization)
Oakland Raiders (same reason as Dallas)
Columbus Blue Jackets
Houston Astros (made world series, so they arent terrible, but they havent done much else)