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Old 05-11-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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I was at a little league game today and the team I was rooting for lost in heartbreaking fashion. This reminded me of professional teams that have gone through some downs but come up as well. What team, by year, has had the best comeback season, year, decade, 5 years, etc? Like what pro team had a streak of losing, either seasons of losing, or just just losing streaks, only to be broken with the opposite and win a lot?
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
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The New Orleans Saints. In 2005, the Saints won 3 games and Katrina nearly sent them to San Antonio. In 2009-2010 season they won the super bowl. Saints fans waited 20 years for ONE playoff win. They waited till 2006-7 to get to a NFC Championship. It only got better from there. Free agents and draftees WANT to be a part of this team and franchise and city. I cant think of a comparable sports team that went from nothing to constant contender in recent years. They are the very definition of a comeback team, with the exception of never really having gone anywhere before to come back to.

Season by season records since 2005:

2005 : 3-13
2006 : 10-6 (won playoff divisional round, lost NFC Championship)
2007 : 7-9
2008 : 8-8
2009 : 13-3 (won playoff divisional round, won NFC Championship , won Super Bowl)
2010 : 11-5 (lost playoff wild-card round)

Last edited by Innotech; 05-14-2011 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:35 AM
 
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Innotech, while it's true that the Saints always used to be the "Ain'ts" forever, so you could say that strictly speaking they haven't come back to some former glory, if one doesn't get too picky about that, the Saints are still a great suggestion for a team that has had a dramatic rise in their fortunes.

Here are three more candidates. Pretty tough to pick out the single greatest comback team ever, so I won't claim any of these are it, but all of them are good possibilities. Two of them are Boston teams, so those who hate some, most, or all of the Boston teams (which many seem to), do some quick booing, if you feel the need, before reading on. Here goes:

Celtics: 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons during the Russell era, including a run of eight straight titles, the most dominant championship run any team has had in the NBA, MLB, NHL, or NFL. At the time of their 11th title, the Celtics by themselves had won more than half the NBA (after the 1949 merger) championships that had been won. No one since has ever completely dominated the league for more than a decade the way the Celtics did during that era but the C's themselves added five more titles through the '70's and '80's. Other rankings disagree, but I’ve seen at least one ranking of greatest NBA teams ever that listed the Celts’ last champion from their glory years, the ’85-’86 team number one. Some would disagree, but there’s no question that team was great.

Then it all fell apart. The Celtics had always seemed to have luck go their way so often that the old joke was that the team had a leprechaun watching over them, charming them with championships. The leprechaun disappeared. Red Auerbach, the architect of the team’s great years, got old. A first-round draft pick with the kind of talent that might have made him the franchise player for a new generation of championships died before playing one game in the pros. A few years later, another young star died in what should have been his early years with the Celtics. The team slipped into mediocrity, then became just plain lousy for a lot of years. After two decades plus of futility, another title. This would be even more of a total comeback if they were to have another dominant era, stringing together several titles in just a few years, but to go from the glory of the mid ’50’s to mid ’80’s to more than 20 years of utter futility makes even one championship, and serious contention a couple of years after that, a notable return from the depths.

Red Sox: Won the first modern World Series in 1903, another pennant in ’04 without ever playing in the Series which was not held because it was still a matter of informal arrangement among club owners and the owner of the NL champions refused to have his team participate. The closest thing to a dominant team in baseball in the 20th century’s second decade, winning the Series four times. In terms of total World Series championships they were the most successful team in the 20th century’s first two decades. Then came The Rape of the Red Sox and The Curse of the Bambino. Decades of futility, some mediocre years and a bunch of really lousy seasons. When long-term success returned, it came in the form of a team that frustrated its fans no end by being consistently good but never quite good enough. After decades of tantalizing their fans in this way, including some gut-searing near misses, they finally won their first title in 86 years, in true comeback fashion as they got to the World Series by becoming the only team in baseball history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, in the LCS, against their most despised rivals no less. That comeback within a comeback has to rank the Sox among the most notable teams to have finally regained success that had once been theirs a long, long time before.

Packers: In a broad sort of way, their story is similar to the Celtics’. The details are a bit different. The period when the Packers absolutely dominated the league, under the stewardship of Vince Lombardi in the mid ’60’s, did not last as long as the Celtic dynasty of the Russell era, and the Packers’ peak years came after they had already won quite a few NFL championships, while the Celtics began their dynasty with their first title. Still, like the C’s, the Packers have the most titles in their league, and the Packers went through a stretch not of a few years but of decades in which they were hopelessly far below contention before winning their next title after their glory years had ended. Another similarity is that the Packers, despite tacking on one more championship this past season, have yet to have another period of several seasons when they string together a few titles. They haven’t quite returned to the form they had in their greatest years, but their ’96 and 2010 championship teams still make for a nice cool comeback after all those years of looking up from far below even minimal contention, after they had won the first two Super Bowls back in the mid ’60’s.

Last edited by ogre; 05-17-2011 at 02:06 AM..
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post


Then it all fell apart. The Celtics had always seemed to have luck go their way so often that the old joke was that the team had a leprechaun watching over them, charming them with championships. The leprechaun disappeared. Red Auerbach, the architect of the team’s great years, got old. A first-round draft pick with the kind of talent that might have made him the franchise player for a new generation of championships died before playing one game in the pros. A few years later, another young star died in what should have been his early years with the Celtics. The team slipped into mediocrity, then became just plain lousy for a lot of years.
I can't believe you wrote all that and completely missed the whole point of the thread. Why didn't you write the celtics before and after the arrival of Larry Bird? They went from 29-53 to 61-21 the greatest turnaround in NBA history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_...Larry_Bird_era


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Old 05-20-2011, 04:24 AM
 
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Charles, that's interesting info about the immediate impact that Bird had on the Celtics. It's interesting, though, that their rebuilding was not quite complete, as they did not win their next championship until Larry's second season.

By the way, there's no need to say I "missed the whole point of the thread." Take a look at this quote from the opening post: "What team, by year, has had the best comeback season, year, decade, 5 years, etc? Like what pro team had a streak of losing, either seasons of losing, or just just losing streaks, only to be broken with the opposite and win a lot?"

He's talking about comebacks over seasons, years, decades. It appears that any substantial turn of fortune is what he's looking for, whether it's during a season, from one year to the next, or a return to the top after decades of futility. I happened to choose to deal with the last scenario, partly because I picked up on the earlier post about the Saints' championship after many years as doormats. You chose to go with one season to the next . . . and that was quite a u-turn you pointed out. Both appear to fit the OP's criteria. It's all good, as the saying goes.

It occurred to me to compare the other teams with the most championships in their sports to the Packers and Celtics. The Canadiens are beginning to get close to that territory in terms of how long they've gone without a title after once dominating the NHL, at 18 years and counting, and they've had a number of pretty awful seasons, like the Packers and C's, but les Habitants haven't gone quite as long yet as either of the other two, and of course they have yet to make the comeback and win at least one championship to break the dry spell.

The Yankees come a bit closer, since they have returned to form after long dry spells that followed their glory years, but the 18 years (and only 17 championship opportunities because of the strike in '94) between their '78 and '96 championships does not quite match the Celtics' 22-year drought, and falls well short of the 29 years between the Packers' last title in the Lombardi years and their '96 team's championship.

The Yankees also never really were quite as bad for as long as the Celtics in the '90's or the Packers in the '70's and '80's. The Yankees did have a few bad years in the late '60's, but also had a middling season or two mixed in there. In their longest dry spell after their great years, '78-'96, they had a few bad years in the very late '80's and early '90's, but for most of those years between titles they had solid middle-of-the-pack teams. They never really sank to the depths for years the way the C's and Packers did. Still, for now they rank ahead of the Canadiens for a return to glory among teams with most championships in their sports, since the Habs have yet to regain championship form for even one season.

In my earlier post, I overlooked another fact that makes the '04 Red Sox stand out among teams that came back from decades without a title. In addition to the fact, which I did point out in the earlier post, that they pulled off the ultimate playoff series comeback in the LCS, they also came back during the regular season. They had major injury problems for the first four months of the season, and at the end of July were only 56-46 (.549 winning percentage), 8-1/2 games out of first, and fifth in the wild card standings (including AL teams in first or second place at the time). As late as August 15 they were 10-1/2 games out of first, still only fifth best in the AL.

But by early August they had everyone healthy for the first time all season, and had shored up some chinks in the armor with the deadline trade for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. They were an express train down the stretch, going 42-18 (.700) from August 1 through the end of the season on Oct. 3, finishing three games out of first, with the second best record in the AL, six games better than the team with the third best record, the AL west champion Angels. Clearly, The Idiots were all about comebacks.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/te...e-scores.shtml
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:52 AM
 
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Default Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

I know, I know, people probably think of the U.S.-Soviet hockey game in the 1980 Olympics mainly as one of the greatest upsets ever. Maybe the greatest. Probably THE greatest upset that has ever happened at the highest levels of sporting competition (international, major league pro). But there's also a comeback story here. The game itself was a series of repeated mini-comebacks for the U.S. team. The Soviet team scored first, and the teams then swapped goals until the score was tied 3-3. It was only after the Russians had taken the lead three times and the Americans had tied the game each time that the U.S. team finally took the lead, at 4-3 with about ten minutes left in the game, with 4-3 holding up as the final score.

In addition to the answer by the Americans each time the Russians took the lead in the game itself, this match marked a huge turnaround from the previous meeting between the two teams. Just the week before the Olympics started, the Soviet team demolished the U.S. 10-3 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The Americans were never in the game.

Imagine the destruction to the U.S. team's morale that could have taken place. They were days away from the Olympics and had just been annihilated by the team the whole world assumed would completely outclass all other participants at the Olympics. This thrown-together bunch of American kids, who had practiced together for all of six months before the Olympics, could certainly have been forgiven for letting themselves be defeated psychologically before the Games had even begun. They could have gone into the competition assuming that they had little chance for a decent showing, never mind a medal, and that there was hardly any reason for them to bother showing up for the game if they found themselves playing the Russians again.

Instead, they took the ice and gutted out a win by just plain out-hustling the best team in the world. Not only was the Miracle on Ice one of the most stunning upsets in the history of sport, but it was also one of the great stories of coming back in the mental game.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:51 PM
 
Location: Texas
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The '88-'89 San Antonio Spurs were 21-61; the next season they finished 56-26. One could also mention the 1995-96 Dallas Mavericks; I know they didn't make the playoffs (nor even finish above .500), but when one considers that the '94-95 squad went 13-69 (hot on the heels of the 11-71 disaster of the season before), a record of 36-46 is a remarkable turnaround.
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Old 07-03-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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The 2007 Tampa Bay Rays had a league-worst record of 66-96. The 2008 team finished the season 97-65 and won the AL East. Their turnaround was +31 games from the year prior.
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