The Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1972 last week, and in the process gave the city of Boston its seventh championship of the 2000's. They also completed the City-of-Champions-Grand-Slam by giving Boston an unprecedented title in all four major pro sports over just seven years.
Boston is, right now, title town. Teenagers in the city are spoiled. They only know the city to be a championship machine. They didn't know how tortured the city was before the Patriots started this chain reaction back in 2001. Well, tortured unless you're a Celtics fan. Then you're pretty used to titles around here… even though there was a 22 year lapse between the last two. And this is why the team deserves a little more respect.
Before 2001, the Celtics were pretty much all the city of Boston had as far as championship material. They'd won multiple titles in every decade except for the 90's, when the team went through an extended stretch of bad decisions and bad breaks. Who knows where the Celtics would have been had Len Bias and Reggie Lewis not tragically passed.
Regardless, the Celtics were still there in 1974, two years after the Bruins won Cup #5. And the Celtics were back in 76 to heal the wounds of a city stung from a Red Sox World Series loss in 1975. And the Celtics were back a few years later with Larry Bird and the crew to win three more titles in the 80's, even as the Bruins and Red Sox continued to disappoint (let's not get into the Patriots Super Bowl destruction at the hands of the Chicago Bears).
The Celtics have been there time, and time, and time, and time again. From their domination in the 60's to multiple titles in the 70's and 80's and with some of the greatest of the greats wearing the home colors throughout it all, the Boston Celtics have been the one constant in Boston championship history.
Yet when the Bruins hoisted the cup and started to plan their parade, WEEI started asking people to rank the championships in Boston this past decade. #1: the 2004 Red Sox. #2: A tie between this Bruins team and the '01 Patriots. The Celtics? Barely even mentioned.
Are they victims of their own success? Maybe. The Celtics winning again barely registers in Boston because they're supposed to win. The Celtics are the most dominant of the four pro franchises. They've been winning almost since day 1.
But as we look back at our great fortune as a city over the past decade, the Celtics should get more respect for being the common championship thread Boston's history. I don't want to take away from the Bruins moment. They earned it. I was happy to be there on Saturday to enjoy the return of hockey madness to the city. But as we look back on what the city has seen over the long haul, a team as dominant as the Celtics deserves more respect for what it has done.
Photos: Getty Images, Globe file