One of my more reasonable Boston readers showed up to point out that Boston is Titletown, which is ESPN for “a city that wins all the titles.” I am not here to say Boston is not in the conversation, rather that if they are in the conversation, the actually discussed started with the words “Los Angeles”. And away we go.
Let’s go ahead and throw women’s sports out (this hurts LA, more than Boston with USC and UCLA) just because as much as I respect all collegiate and pro athletes, I can’t sit through any women’s sports other than tennis and the occaisional soccer match. We’re going to go Big Four in College and Pro. So that gives us eight categories spread between Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey (a stretch but I am trying to be fair to you guys and to make a point). Only Division I colleges will be included, again helping Boston out as for LA I am only counting USC and UCLA, Boston gets four schools. Let’s dance.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 (+1 in Brooklyn, not counted)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 1
USC Trojans: 12 (most ever)
UCLA Bruins: 0
Total Los Angeles Baseball Titles: 18
Boston Red Sox: 7 (5 of which before 1918)
Boston College: 0
Tufts College: 0
Total Boston Baseball Titles: 7
WINNER: Los Angeles
This wasn’t even close. The Dodgers have won five World Series crowns post World War II. Boston has won since we beat the Germans the second time. Still, we’re counting their titles won before there were televisions, or freeways, or rock and roll, or Israel. Even with that title edge to the Red Sox, USC is the most celebrated college baseball team of all time winning a record 12 titles, again all after we beat the Germans. Not even close, Boston.
*football for college will count claimed titles, this is any title the school claims as prior to the BCS, there were several polls of relevance.
Los Angeles Rams: 1
Los Angeles Raiders: 1
USC Trojans: 11
UCLA Bruins: 1
Total Los Angeles Football Titles: 14
New England Patriots: 3
Boston College: 1 (disputed, but for the purpose of fairness, it counts here.)
Harvard: 10 (all before the end of WWI)
Total Boston Football Titles: 14
WINNER: Los Angeles
While clearly the last ten years have been good in Boston in pro football with the Pats winning three times and Los Angeles not even having a team, still the overall city mark is 3-2 Boston, with the L.A. Rams and Raiders each winning one. College is where the battle is won. Assuming UCLA and BC’s titles cancel each other out, USC’s titles have been spread over a hundred years with incredible periods of dominance in the 2000s and 1970s. Even the most loyal of Boston sports fans couldn’t claim Harvard’s titles to mean much in the realm of this discussion. I was kind enough to even mention them.
Los Angeles Lakers: 9 (they have won 14, but I’m not counting titles won in MPLS)
Los Angeles Clippers: 0
USC Trojans: 0
UCLA Bruins: 11
Total Los Angeles Basketball Championships: 20
Boston Celtics: 17
Boston College: 0
Boston Basketball Championships: 17
WINNER: Los Angeles
Let’s go ahead and say the Celtics are the most celebrated and winningest basketball team on Earth. Let’s ignore their down years and give them their cred. Now, who is the clear second greatest team? Their rival, the LA Lakers. Not even a question. Okay. College. Who is the best team in history? UCLA. Not even close. Where does Boston rank there? Nothing since there was a tourney. So, #1 pro legacy, no college history vs #2 pro legacy, #1 college legacy? Not really that close.
(on a personal note, I enjoyed watching USC beat down BC in the tourney.)
*since we don’t even play college hockey on the west coast, this is all about Boston. Enjoy it. Because hockey is the national past time. Of Canada.
Anaheim Ducks: .5 (yes they won, but it’s hard to claim them. just like the Angels, but at least they are pretending)
Total Los Angeles Hockey Titles: Gretzsky (just throwing that out there. it’s all we got.)
Boston Bruins: 5
Boston College: 3
Boston University: 4
Total Boston Hockey Titles: 13
All you guys. Not even close. You may safely talk all the hockey smack you want, it is a proud tradition of victory in Bostonian hockey. Of course, it is hockey and I only included this because I wasn’t sure Nascar was fair and I wanted you all to win something. And you did. Hockey. In a landslide.
Boston fans would tell you that all they care about is pro sports, but that is mostly because their college teams blow. A homer Boston fan would jump on the BU or BC bandwagon so fast if they ever could win a major title (see short lived Matt Ryan era of being ranked top 5 in CFB). The truth is, Boston fans care about what is winning (except in the case of the Red Sox, who used to be cool when they lost a lot). The Patriots were essentially the Tampa Bay Bucs north for a long period of time between their team that lost to Chicago in the 80s and the Belichick years. This can be said about the Dodgers, USC and many teams involved between both cities, but in the end of the day, it’s all relevant.
The NFL is the most popular sport. CFB is second. Baseball is third. Big Four sports matter in pro and in college, and in reality, even other sports factor in, but as I said, I left them out as USC has the most men’s sports titles and UCLA has the most sports titles overall.
So maybe Boston is Titletown, maybe LA is. But if Boston is claiming it, that means a few things would have to be true that aren’t:
- College Sports Don’t Matter (they do, Boston just has weak teams)
- The NBA is the most important sport (it isn’t)
- Championships before WWI are relevant to the Titletown discussion (I don’t think so)
I think 1 and 3 are the biggest issues with the Boston sports fan in pointing out their homerism. Dodger fans will admit they have been on down times since 1988, prior to last season with Manny. USC fans will admit UCLA is a better basketball school, vice versa in football.
Boston fans will tell you college sports don’t matter, unless its the Frozen Four. They will tell you the Red Sox are a team with 7 titles, but the reality is, they are famous for losing. Now, just like the Florida Marlins, they have won two titles in the last ten years. So has USC, the Lakers (3 actually) and the Patriots (again, 3).
The term Titletown connotates not just having great teams that have some titles and a proud tradition. It’s about dominance over time. In my count, LA has four of those teams, Boston has one. Although Boston’s Celtic claim may be the strongest, UCLA in Basketball, USC in Baseball and Football and the Lakers in Basketball are all long-spanning dominant programs.
So, I challenge Boston fans, especially the intelligent once, to challenge my claim without making the following arguments:
- College Sports don’t matter. (the ratings would indicate they do)
- The Celtics have won more than the Lakers (yes they have, but who has won more than the Lakers? Gap isn’t that wide here)
- Hockey is important (no it isn’t)
- The Dodgers haven’t won since 1988 (correct, but they have won 5 times since WWII, before 2004, when was your last Sox win?)
If you can, I will be humbled. The reality is, Boston is just another city with some great sports teams and one amazing claim to fame: The Boston Celtics 17 titles (including the one where Pierce faked a knee injury like a cheerleader).