Baseball since it’s inception has been America’s favorite past time, but let’s be honest for just a second… Today in 2014, how many of us in this 21st Century- American Society are still captivated by the game of baseball? When we speak about American Sports, two come to the forefront quicker than all others: American Football and Basketball. Interestingly enough these two sports have long been intertwined. Many of today’s football stars have basketball pasts, much like many kings of the hardwood have a little gridiron action in their backstories. Tony Romo, Randy Moss, Antonio Gates, Terrell Owens, Julius Thomas, Tony Gonzalez & Julius Peppers to name a few on the football side who once lived by the riveting and famed phrase; Ball is Life. LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Matt Barnes, Charlie Ward, Nate Robinson, Terrence Williams, Tony Wroten & Glen Davis are a few basketball counterparts who could’ve possibly earned their living on Sundays and Mondays.
With that being said, the two Professional leagues themselves are also joined at the hip. Many NBA Franchises have taken shape in markets once owned by the NFL exclusively. Of the NBA’s 30 Franchises, 24 of them either share a city with an NFL franchise, or have one in close proximity. So, if you’re a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves, chances are you probably support the Vikings too. Team owners know this as well, hence at some of the pro games, you’ll see athletes from respective teams supporting each other on game nights.
I was driven to go further than the obvious geographic parallels between NBA and NFL teams. I wanted to do a true comparison of teams based on performance and fan support.
Boston Celtics = Green Bay Packers
Two teams who were both instrumental in shaping the early histories of their respective leagues. Boast a myriad of Hall of Fame Players and coaches (Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi to Bill Russell and Red Auerbach). Continued success (both teams have their sports’ most championships). Ultra Loyal fantasies who accept nothing but winning. Color Schemes… The Celtics and the Packers are nearly a splitting image of each other. The Celtics and Packers make up the inner fabric of both the NBA and the NFL. 17 and 13; the amount of championships between these two teams is just plain silly. Green, white and gold. Green, white and yellow. Both franchises absolutely owned the 60’s. Both fell on hard times, before ultimately returning to prominence, the Celtics doing so in 2008 white the Packers rose back from the dead in 2010.
Brooklyn Nets = New York Jets
Other than the geographical identity, the Nets and Jets are much more similar than they are different. Both franchises came from that other league: the Nets coming over from the ABA; the Jets coming over from the AFL. Two Legends: Joe Namath and Dr. J are both revered in their respective sports, Both also brought each franchise their lone championships, albeit the Nets’ championship came in the ABA. Both franchises are their city’s “other team”: the New York/New Jersey Nets had trouble solidifying their fan base due to a certain New York Knickerbockers Team calling the New York Metropolitan area home. The Brooklyn Nets were smart to lock down a borough, but make no mistakes, New York belongs to the Knicks. The Jets on the other hand have also struggled being the other team. Even though the Jets were the first New York Area team to win a Super Bowl (III) the New York Football Giants are just that, Giants! To make matters worse, since that upset of the Baltimore Colts in Superbowl III, the Giants outnumber the Jets 4-1 in the Super Bowl department.
New York Knicks = Dallas Cowboys
This pick was very very tough for me to make, but bare with me for one bit. The Glamour, glitz that comes with playing for either of these franchises is tantalizing. Both teams have been staples in their respective leagues, as well as some of the most beloved franchises period. The Cowboys championship lore outnumbers the Knicks 5-2. Both teams have owners who seem to have lost touch with reality in recent years. Jerry Jones & James Dolan are mirror images of each other. The fan bases of these teams are some of the most unrealistic in all of sports. Knicks fans and Cowboys fans alike will tell you ’til their faces turn blue, that their teams are championship bound year in and year out. Both teams are worth the most money in their respective sports, and both teams usually have the highest payrolls in their leagues. Throw out the distance between these two legendary franchises, they are much more alike than the eye would first let on.
Philadelphia 76ers = Philadephia Eagles
Philadelphia is a city that loves its basketball. Philadelphia is a city that is obsessed about its Football. The 76ers and the Eagles share more than just a city. They share the burden of responsibility that comes with playing sports professional in the City of Brotherly Love. The 76ers to their credit have at various points quenched Philly’s championship thirst. The Eagles… that’s a conversation for another time, as they are all too familiar with coming up short when it matters most. The Eagles have been to two Super Bowl’s and have lost both. They did however win 3 NFL championships. The 76ers have been to the finals 9 times and have come away champions thrice times (once as the Syracuse Nationals). The Eagles were once the talk of the NFL, pre-merger. The 76ers were once the toast of the NBA, post-merger. Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. J, Sir Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson. Chuck Badnarik, Reggie White, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb. Need I say more?
Toronto Raptors = Houston Texans
Aside from being expansion franchises, The Raptors and Texans have both struggled to carve their niche in the world of American Professional Athletics. The Raptors have the luxury of being a country’s (Canada) lone representative. The Texans have the undesirable job of winning over Texas, home of “America’s Team” none other than the mighty Dallas Cowboys. From humble beginnings, to exciting heights, the Raptors and Texans have both survived. Staples of high draft picks have transcended both franchises to greater heights and more success. Vince Carter once captivated the NBA World with his high-wire act. Andre Johnson once captivated the NFL with his consistency. The Raptors have a new regime in place leading them in the right direction. The Texans had a brief period of AFC North dominance post Peyton Manning. It will be interesting to see how far both of these franchises can go.