With the sporting calendar gradually returning to normality in the United States, we’ve taken stock of the most popular sports and identified which franchises have enjoyed the most success to date.
The New England Patriots have featured in four of the last six Super Bowls, winning three of them, and their recent success is no flash in the pan. No franchise has reached more Super Bowls than their 11 and only the Pittsburgh Steelers can match their six wins.
The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers have five Super Bowls apiece and it’s worth sparing a thought for the Denver Broncos who have reached more Super Bowls than anybody except the Patriots but have only three wins to their name.
While player quality is integral to success on the field, history suggests that having an MVP in your ranks isn’t a magic bullet.
The Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers have each seen one of their players win the Most Valuable Player award on eight separate occasions, but the Patriots have won as many Super Bowls as these two combined despite only having three MVPs.
If success is ultimately measured by the number of championships won, then the Boston Celtics’ 17 NBA Finals wins sets the standard.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers have just one fewer title to their name and have appeared in 10 more finals than the Celtics, including their early history as the Minneapolis Lakers.
The Celtics also have the edge if success can be defined by the greatness of the players who have worn their jersey, having produced 10 MVPs to the Lakers’ eight.
Yet another factor which tips the debate in favour of the Eastern Conference is the Celtics’ past dominance.
No NBA franchise has enjoyed a more successful decade than their 10-year spell from 1957 to 1966 in which they won nine of the 10 championships and finished as runner-up in the other.
In baseball it’s hard to look beyond the New York Yankees as the greatest franchise in the sport’s history.
A whopping 27 World Series wins is more than double that of any other team and they’ve lost a further 13, which is more than anybody else has won.
The 10-year spell from 1949 to 1958 saw only one World Series which didn’t feature the Yankees, who claimed seven of the 10 championships available.
Their dominance is less clear-cut when it comes to MVP awards, however. While their tally of 22 is the highest of any MLB franchise, the St Louis Cardinals have only produced two fewer.
The most successful hockey franchise in history hails – perhaps unsurprisingly – from outside the United States.
The Montreal Canadiens’ trophy cabinet is creaking under the weight of 24 Stanley Cups and they may still feel short-changed by the cancellation of the 1919 final that could have earned them one more.
Their closest rivals are both situated nearby, with the Toronto Maple Leafs having won two more titles than the Detroit Red Wings but appeared in fewer Stanley Cup finals to date.
One franchise who can be disappointed at their record of turning talent into trophies are the Boston Bruins.
There have been 13 seasons in which one of their players has claimed the MVP award – just four fewer than the Canadiens – but their modest haul of six Stanley Cups is four times smaller.
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