As you've no doubt heard by now, the Cleveland Cavaliers (led by LeBron James) won Game 7 of the NBA Finals in unprecedented fashion, coming back from a 3-1 deficit and winning the deciding game on the road to capture the NBA Championship. It was the first major sports championship for the city of Cleveland since 1964, snapping a 52-year dry spell.
So, now which city has the longest streak of futility? Given the website you're reading this on, you can probably venture a pretty solid guess.
Yes, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has moved to the top of the list, at least among cities that have teams in three of the four "major" sports leagues (NFL, NHL, NBA, and Major League Baseball). It has been a quarter of a century since the Twin Cities saw a title in any of those sports, courtesy of the Minnesota Twins winning the 1991 World Series. How close have any of the "Big 4" Minnesota sports teams come since then?
|NFL||Minnesota Vikings||1998, 2000, 2009||Lost NFC Championship Game|
|MLB||Minnesota Twins||2002||Lost AL Championship Series in 5 games|
|NBA||Minnesota Timberwolves||2004||Lost Western Conference Finals in 6 games|
|NHL||Minnesota Wild||2003||Lost Western Conference Finals in 4 games|
Not only have the "Big 4" sports teams of the Twin Cities not won anything in a quarter of a century, they really haven't come all that close, either. But could blue skies be coming on that front sooner rather than later?
Looking at those four teams, it appears that a couple of them appear to have a shot at breaking through in the very near future. In all honesty, I'm not well-versed enough about the Wild to be able to speak intelligently on what direction the team is going. I know they haven't really lived up to expectations over the past couple years and have just hired a new coach, but that's about the extent of my knowledge.
As far as the Twins, they've clearly been the most disappointing team in baseball this year, and I can't seem to put a finger on why. We've heard for years about all the young talent the team has and they were expected to continue evolving this year after exceeding expectations in 2015. Instead, they're the worst team in Major League Baseball and nobody really seems to have any idea what's going on. If they can get someone that can finally do something with the young talent they have. . .and, for crying out loud, gets Miguel Sano the hell out of right field. . .their fortunes could turn around quickly. For now, though, it's looking pretty ugly at Target Field.
The Timberwolves appear to be the chic pick as an "up and coming" franchise in the NBA, and with good reason. Led by the league's next great big man in Karl-Anthony Towns and a host of good young players, they've brought in coach Tom Thibodeau to guide them going forward. They're going to be a lot of fun to watch going forward, and could be a title threat very soon.
However, it appears that the Twin Cities' best shot at a championship in the near future once again lies with the Vikings. The team exceeded expectations last season, bringing home a division championship for the first time since 2009 and were a fluke play away from winning a playoff game for the first time since that same season. Mike Zimmer is quickly ascending the ranks of head coaches in the National Football League, and Rick Spielman has managed to build a ridiculously talented young roster. Yes, the face of the team is still 31-year old Adrian Peterson, but the Vikings have a young, hungry defense that's on the short list of the NFL's best and have shored up the parts of their roster that needed it.
It's been 25 years since a "Big 4" Minnesota sports team brought home a league championship. (Yes, Minnesota Lynx fans, I know. . .three titles in five years. I know.) But fear not, Twin Cities sports fans. . .at least a couple of those teams have a very good chance of snapping that drought in the near future. Frankly. . .and I'm knocking on wood as hard as I can over here. . .it could be as early as February of 2017.