Ultimate Sporting City Final 4: Boston vs. Miami

Miami and Boston are two of the remaining four cities from our epic Ultimate Sports Town Debate. Boston defeated Denver and Chicago to reach this stage of the tournament while Miami defeated Phoenix and Atlanta to reach the Final 4. The Final 4 Theme is Great Lows and Great Highs in your city's sporting history. I contacted bloggers from Miami and Boston in hopes of understanding the triumphs and tribulations of the two respective cities. Here are their responses...

BOSTON


The high points presented by Joe of Soaring to Glory:
Red Sox 2004 postseason. This is the obvious #1 for anyone who has been near the sports scene in Boston this decade (and as a Yankee fan from New York who was a BC student at the time, well, I certainly won't forget it). Not only did they break their 86-year spell of no titles, but they beat the Yankees after going down 3-0 to get there. I would bet every Boston fan has very fond memories of that time.

The Pats were big underdogs against Kurt Warner and his team (and I mean big; 2 touchdowns) but some rookie QB named Tom Brady beat them. It was a truly stunning victory that sent the Pats onto bigger and better things (like more Super Bowls).

The Celtics from 1958 to 1966. The Celts won 8 straight NBA titles under Red Auerbach in this time period, and 11 titles in 13 years from 1956 to 1969. That pretty much speaks for itself. Not to say that the team hasn't recently been a high point, but 8 championships in a row is something to behold.

In general, I would say that the 2000s have been a high point for Boston sports. All told, their pro sports teams won 6 times -- Red Sox 2, Pats 3, Celtics 1.
Brian of BCI presents a Boston College fan's perspective:
Winning the Big East [Basketball] Tournament in 1997 and 2001, defeating No. 1 North Carolina in the Round of 32 of the 1994 NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed (75-72) … went on to the Elite 8 that season...Matt Ryan’s fourth quarter comeback over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, 14-10...3 National Championships in 10 seasons [in hockey]
Now, the highs are pretty high for Boston. The lows are also quite interestingly low. Joe sums it up quite well:
Most of the period from 1919 to 2003, with special emphasis on 1978 (blowing 14 game lead to Yankees and losing to them in a Fenway playoff), 1986 (Bill Buckner), and 2003 (Aaron Boone). I suppose the last of those three was mitigated by the fact that the very next year, they followed it up by going from an extreme low to an extreme high.

Before the glory of the 2000s, the Pats had a lot of lean years. 1990 was a ridiculously bad season for the Patriots, going 1-15 and having a -265 point differential. The '90 Pats are considered one of the worst NFL teams of all-time, so this is quite clearly a low point.

Much of the '90s [Celtics]. 1996-97 was the worst for the Celtics, going 15-67, and they had 7 losing seasons in the decade. Rick Pitino famously stated that "Larry Bird's not walking through that door" in regards to their troubles and also chewed out Boston fans, summing up how awful this well-regarded franchise was during those years.

I'd say the Bruins reached a new low recently, blowing a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs to the Flyers -- and what's worse is that they were up 3-0 in game 7, which Philly won 4-3. That final game was a microcosm of the series. Certainly one of the worst collapses ever in hockey.
Now, Joe and Brian exchanged a few e-mails with me also about some interesting Boston College lows. I never really knew about all of the gambling scandals with Boston College. Essentially, in 1996 BC football players gambled against BC in a game against the Syracuse Orangemen. Head Coach Dan Henning found out about the gambling and he told the school. 13 players were suspended and 6 were kicked off the team. But even before that, mob bosses had paid off several BC hoops players in 1979 to take a dive. Joe says the scandal wasn't uncovered until the early 1980's. Brian adds this:
I’d add to the football gambling scandal that after that game, BC finished the series with Syracuse only winning 3 of its last 8, including losing 43-17 to a really bad Syracuse team at home that kept us from winning the Big East outright and going to the Fiesta Bowl.

MIAMI


Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get ahold of a single Miami blogger the entire tournament. I think we all know the highs and lows of Miami, however.

The Miami Hurricanes probably provided the City its greatest highs and deepest lows from 1979 on in to Larry Coker's demise. The Canes won 5 National Championships and 9 Conference Titles from 1983-2001. They epitomized college football success in the 1980's. Watch the ESPN film the U to get a better understanding of this era because it's a great flick and trying to truncate the Hurricanes dynasty into a paragraph form doesn't do the football team justice. And of course we're all familiar with allegations regarding Luther Campbell and the FIU Brawl...

The Marlins are like a swarm of locusts. They rise up in a great overwhelming flurry, destroy everything in their wake (1997/2003 World Series Titles), and then die off (sell off all of their players in free agency). It's probably one of the worst franchises to be a fan of in major sports.

The greatest era in Dolphins history occurred from 1970-1973. The Dolphins went to three super bowls and won two of them. The run featured the only true undefeated run in NFL history (1972). Shula still holds the record for most wins by an NFL head coach at 347. Pretty much since Shula retired, the Dolphins have struggled. Dan Marino was in there from 1983-1999 but Marino never took home a Lombardy Trophy. Since Marino's retirement, the Dolphins have started 13 different quarterbacks and have only made the playoffs three times.

ALL TIME SERIES RESULTS


To add some objectivity, I also created a table listing the results of every major sporting event result between these two cities. Boston leads Miami 132-127:
Alltime1_medium
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