Sunday, October 20, 2013

12 Championship Rematches of the NBA, NFL and MLB

As soon as the Boston Red Sox had finished off the Detroit Tigers, announcer Joe Buck was hailing the St. Louis Cardinals/Red Sox World Series as a rematch of the 2004 battle between the same teams that resulted in a sweep in favor of the BoSox.

Maybe, if Albert Pujols was part of the Cardinals, I could see some of the logic because there is David Ortiz still around from that Sox team.  But, with Ortiz the only player from either team who played regularly from that Series, it doesn't seem appropriate to call it a rematch (Yadier Molina had three plate appearances).

But, the comment did get me thinking.

There's been recent history when teams faced off in the championship a few seasons apart and there were significant players from both sides still playing:

The Atlanta Braves versus the New York Yankees 1996, 1999:  Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz to name a few as the Yanks won both.

The Dallas Mavericks versus the Miami Heat 2006, 2011:  Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and a role player or two saw each team come back to win a championship.

The Boston Celtics versus the Los Angeles Lakers 2008, 2010:  A split between Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Dallas Cowboys 1976, 1979:  Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and a host of others, including Mean Joe Greene and Randy White participated in four point spreads ending in Steeler victories.

The New York Giants versus the New England Patriots 2008, 2012:  Tom Brady, Eli Manning a few lineman, receivers and running backs experienced two classic Giant wins.

For me and I think most of us sports fans, a real rematch is when teams face off in consecutive years.  There haven't been too many in recent times, but those championships seem to stand out because we all remember it happened for consecutive years.

The Chicago Bulls versus the Utah Jazz 1997, 1998:  What I remember most was the Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone wrestling match getting up off the floor and oh-yeah, a few buckets by 'Air' Jordan as the Bulls took both championships.

The Dallas Cowboys versus the Buffalo Bills 1993, 1994:  The Cowboys thoroughly dominated as the 'Triplets' of Aikman, Irvin and Smith strutted their stuff with Jimmy Johnson as head coach and the other three Hall Of Famers, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas lost out.

The Los Angeles Dodgers versus the New York Yankees 1977, 1978:  The Yankees won both Series with Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Craig Nettles and Goose Gossage leading the way.  The Dodgers great infield of Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davie Lopes and Bill Russell exacted revenge a few years later in 1981.

The Los Angeles Lakers versus the Detroit Pistons 1988, 1989:  Magic Johnson's crew (with Kareem) split with Isiah Thomas' 'Bad Boys' crew.

The Philadelphia 76ers versus the Los Angeles Lakers 1982, 1983:  A split with Magic and Kareem (again on the list) against Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks and their Philly gang.  They faced off three out of four years in the Finals.

The Boston Celtics versus the Los Angeles Lakers 1984, 1985:  A split with the classic Magic versus Larry Bird carrying forth from their college days.  They faced off three out of four years in the Finals.

The Seattle Supersonics versus the Washington Bullets 1978, 1979:  Two teams no longer playing in the NBA with their nickname or with a franchise played in the years right before the League changed forever with Bird and Magic's entrances.  They were a pair of exciting series for the two cities as both had the chance to enjoy winning one.

Going further back in time in the NBA and MLB, plenty more rematches occurred.

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