The championship is the highest achievement for a professional sports team. It is rare to repeat next year. But trades are made and players retire. There are injuries and sorrows. The post-season game is a tedious game to escape and continues to expand. Winning the third title in a row is one of the most difficult achievements in team sports, and it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult.
Tampa Bay Lightning goes on the ice on Wednesday night to win the third consecutive Stanley Cup. For more than 20 years, any team has won three consecutive championships in North America’s major professional sport.
When a team like Yildirim manages to win two championships in a row, how historically difficult is it to win a third?
Repeats: 17 since 1927, including Lightning.
Three times: Five, two consecutive running titles stretching up to four, and one, Montreal Canadiens from 1956-60, up to five straight. The two-time league champions are 31 percent successful next season.
It turns out that with the exception of 31 percent, it is very close to the base level for most leagues.
The latest: 1981-82 Islanders, a string that reaches four next season. “At the beginning of the year, people thought the Islanders would win,” said Roger Neilson, head coach of Vancouver Canucks, who lost the Cup final in 1982. In the middle of the season, people said they would win, and when they reached the playoffs, people thought they would win. We need a real team to get out of such pressure. “
As for the other three peat chances 40 years later, “When you grow up in Canada, you always dream of having your name in the Stanley Cup,” said Yildirim coach John Cooper. “It simply came to my notice then. Getting there a second time next year was like a dream, as if there was no way we could go back. It is unthinkable to go for the third time. “
Beginning in the mid-1970s, the Islanders were one of the best teams in the NHL, but the Stanley Cup consistently missed them. The most disappointing years of the decade were 1978 and 1979, when they finished the conference with the most points in the regular season, but failed to reach the finals.
So in 1980, when the Islanders won the Stanley Cup in six games over the Philadelphia Flyers, a gorilla-sized load was lifted off the players’ backs.
Butch Goring, a center for the Islanders in 1980-85, said: “There was a lot of pressure on the children and it was a big challenge,” he said, “but we finally did it and there was great comfort in the whole organization …”
After the first title, Goering said it was “relatively easy” for the islanders to win, and statistics confirm that. The Islanders set a postseason record that still stands in North American professional sports, winning 19 consecutive playoff series between 1980 and 1984.
“We never sweated in the second cup,” Goring said. “Yes, we had to play, we not only threw our sticks on the ice, but we were able to play according to our level because we understood. We knew exactly what to do, and the pressure had dropped a bit, so we knew what to do.
For the third championship, Goring said the feelings were the same: “We felt for the first three years that if we did our best, you wouldn’t be able to beat us.”
Repeats: 13 since 1947.
Three times: Five, 1966 The Celtics complete an incredible eight in a row. 38 percent success rate. The term “Treepeat” was copyrighted in 1988 by Pat Riley, now president of the Miami Heat. Riley, the Lakers’ coach at the time, won two titles in a row, but his team failed to earn him a third title in 1989.
The latest: 2002 The Lakers are also the last team to win three major North American major leagues.
“First, it’s new and it feels good,” Kobe Bryant said after № 1. 3, Sweeping the New Jersey Nets. “The first will always be the best. Second, the difficulties we experienced during the year made it special. We have proved that we belong. This forces us to rise as one of the great teams.
Steve Kerr, who won three consecutive titles for the Chicago Bulls in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and is set to do the same as the Golden State Warriors coach in 2019, said it was unusually difficult to achieve that success.
“I just think of the accumulation of emotions and the physical wear and tear you face over time. I think you’re a freshman, you’re kind of fresh and new here, and in the third year, every team hunts you down and everyone builds their own team to beat you. You have been taking short off-season breaks for several years in a row. This will no doubt tire you out. Therefore, I think that three consecutive victories in any sport is an incredible achievement.
Repeats: Since 1903 14.
Three times: Four, including four and five in a row, of course, the Yankees. 29 percent success rate.
The latest: 2000 Yankees. “We win big,” said rescuer Mariano Rivera. “That’s why we’re so good.”
Not everyone received this explanation. Jim Bowden, then general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, said, “If every club was allowed to spend $ 100 million on salaries, they wouldn’t win the same team every year.” “But let’s not take what the Yankees have achieved. Where there is a time for credit, they deserve credit. ”
Bowden would have been surprised to learn that despite these costs, the Yankees would not be able to win again until 2009 and have not won since.
Repetitions: Since 1920 17.
Three times: A total of three – long ago – and no more than a quarter or more. Success rate: The most stingy in sports with 18 percent. And a third is elegant: the Canton Bulldogs won titles in 1922 and 1923, then merged and moved to Cleveland and won again, although many do not consider it the same franchise. Don’t count on it and you’re down to 12 percent.
The latest: 1967 The Green Bay Packers make the NFL’s current time the longest wait for three turfs. (The other undisputed trio was the Packers of 1931.)
Of the three Packers titles of the 1960s, only the last two were in the new Super Bowl, so no team has won this big game three times straight. The Miami Dolphins appeared in three Super Bowls in a row, and the Bills lost four in a row in the 1990s.
The newcomers lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-3 in the Super Bowl VI. He was motivated by a big defeat when he finished the sport’s only perfect season, beating the Dolphins 17-0 next year and beating Washington in the Super Bowl VII. With almost the same list, the Dolphins repeated their title as champions in the 1973 season.
Dick Anderson, one of the team’s strong security and defense leaders, said: “You get injured players, you can get one or two exchanges, but we haven’t changed much in those good years.”
The Dolphins were still a strong team going into the 1974 season. There was no free agency at the time, so the team’s key players were still under contract. However, the coaches were released, and Dolphin Defense Coordinator Bill Arnsparger became the Giants’ head coach. Arnsparger was the architect of the Dolphins’ highest-rated No Name Defense, and Anderson said that no matter how talented the players were, it was more difficult without their soft-spoken but obedient leader.
“I don’t remember ever questioning the defense he called for,” Anderson said. “He was a brilliant coach and people don’t understand when they look at other coaches, they have other things to do,” said attacking coordinators Howard Schnellenberger and Monte Clark.
It has a shorter history, but since 1996, no team in the MLS has won three times, although it has been repeated three times. The Houston Comets have won their first four WNBA titles, but there has been only one other team since the league began in 1997 – the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002 – and even repeated that. percentage success rate.
Regardless of the sport, it is difficult to win the third title in a row.
Ken Belson, Scott CacciolaChris Rhim and Shawna Richer contributed to the report.