Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Remember when these teams were great?

tom jones' two cents

Funny how sports works. Younger sports fans today don't realize the years of suffering the Red Sox went through before winning the World Series for the third time in the past 10 years. Younger fans don't realize how awful the New England Patriots were in the early 1970s and early 1990s. On the other hand, fans today don't remember some of the franchises that used to be so good back in the day who have fallen on long, hard times. Here's a quick reminder of an unlucky seven teams who used to set the standard in their sports but have been not so good of late. In other words, if you're 30 years old, you have no recollection of just how great these teams used to be.

Miami Dolphins

Two Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, two more appearances in the Big Game in the 1980s. Had arguably the greatest coach of all time in Don Shula (above). But did you realize they haven't won a playoff game in 13 years and have only made the playoffs once in that span?

Montreal Canadiens

The greatest franchise in NHL history and one the best in all of sports, the Canadiens, with legends such as Maurice Richard (left) and Jean Beliveau (right), have won a league-record 24 Stanley Cups. But they have won one since 1986 and two over the past 33 years.

Boston Celtics

Older fans recognize the Celtics as, perhaps, the greatest NBA dynasty ever, but if you are 26 years old, you've only seen the Celtics win one NBA title. And, oh, older fans? Get ready to be freaked out: Larry Bird (right) hasn't played an NBA game in 21 years.

Baltimore Orioles/Pittsburgh Pirates

These were two of the dominant MLB franchises of the 1970s, combining for 11 division titles, five pennants and three world championships during that decade. Since then, only one World Series title — the Orioles, 30 years ago.

Los Angeles Rams

Hard to believe that the Rams haven't been in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years. And, geez, this was a franchise that made the postseason a remarkable 14 times in 17 seasons from 1973 to 1989.

Cincinnati Reds

During the '70s, the Big Red Machine was among the most dominant teams in all of sports with six division titles, four pennants and two championships, including what some argue was the greatest team ever assembled. But over the past 36 years, the Reds have one lone title, in 1990.

Media notes

• Ugh. The Bucs-Seahawks game today will be called by play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert, who is fine, and Moose and Goose — Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa, who will hopefully leave his bad stand-up schtick at home.

• The five most-watched television shows last week were sporting events: four NFL games and Game 4 of the World Series. The Walking Dead — the zombie show on AMC, not the 2013 Bucs highlight film — was the sixth-most watched show in the country.

• Speaking of ratings, check this out: Game 5 of the World Series drew 14.4 million viewers on Fox, while 10.8 million viewers watched a crummy Monday Night Football game between the Rams and Seahawks. And, most likely, most sports fans in St. Louis were watching the baseball. However, according to the Sherman Report, in the key demo of men aged 19 to 49, the NFL game had a larger audience. Not good for baseball, but not surprising either.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Maybe Bucs coaches should worry more about how to tackle opponents and worry less about Bucs players helping those opponents up after tackles.

2. Look, Red Sox slugger Johnny Gomes is a great character guy, but everyone talks about how everywhere he goes, that team wins. Well, to be fair, he no longer plays for the Rays, A's or Reds and all three of those teams made the postseason without him. Maybe the teams he is on make him a winner, not the other way around.

3. Another hard-to-believe fact: The Magic is celebrating its 25th anniversary season.

     
   
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