Friday, January 30, 2015

The Patriots and Going a Decade Between Championships

Last week, I wrote about the fact that Tom Brady could become the second player in NFL history to win Super Bowls 13 years apart (Ted Hendricks is the other).

Won Super Bowls 10+ Years Apart
Yrs Player From To Tm Super Bowl Wins
13 Ted Hendricks 1970 1983 BAL-RAI 1970, 1976, 1980, 1983
12 Ray Lewis 2000 2012 BAL 2000, 2012
11 Matt Bahr 1979 1990 PIT-NYG 1979, 1990
10 Bill Romanowski 1988 1998 SF-DEN 1988, 1997, 1998

Vince Wilfork could join this list as well, as he could have a 10-year span with his title in 2004.

While last week's piece focused on the possible 13-year run by Brady and Belichick and where it stacks up against those in other sports, this week's will look at the fact that Brady, Wilfork and Belichick could win a championship ten years after their last.

Brady and Wilfork can be the third and fourth players to win Super Bowls a decade apart without any in between:

Yrs Player From To Tm
12 Ray Lewis 2000 2012 BAL
11 Matt Bahr 1979 1990 PIT-NYG
10 Tom Brady 2004 2014* NE
10 Vince Wilfork 2004 2014* NE

*If Patriots win

The longest drought between Super Bowl wins for a coach is Tom Landry's six years. Belichick would beat that by plenty and would have the longest stretch since the pre-Super Bowl era of the 1960s.

NFL Coaches, Most Seasons Between Championships
Yrs Coach From To Tm
19 Jimmy Conzelman 1928 1947 PRV-CRD
17 George Halas 1946 1963 CHI
12 George Halas 1921 1933 CHI
10 Bill Belichick 2004 2014* NE

*If Patriots win

Conzelman's first title even predates the NFL Championship Game, which began in 1933. 19 years after his Providence Steam Rollers did just that for the '28 crown, he led the Chicago Cardinals past the Eagles in the title game. Halas has two different streaks on this list from his 40-year career. As player-coach, he guided the Chicago Staleys to the 1921 pennant before winning the first Championship Game in '33. His Bears then went 17 years between titles from 1946-1963.

Let's look at the other major American pro sports. In baseball, there have been 24 players to play for the winning side in the World Series, then win another a decade or more later.


MLB Players, Most Seasons Between World Series Championships
Yrs Player From To Tm
16 Babe Adams 1909 1925 PIT
14 Dolf Luque 1919 1933 CIN-NYG
13 Steve Carlton 1967 1980 STL-PHI
13 Jim Palmer 1970 1983 BAL
13 Edgar Renteria 1997 2010 FLA-SF
12 Joe Sewell 1920 1932 CLE-NYY
12 Murry Dickson 1946 1958 STL-NYY
11 Goose Goslin 1924 1935 WAS-DET
11 Nippy Jones 1946 1957 STL-MLN
11 Del Rice 1946 1957 STL-MLN
11 Red Schoendienst 1946 1957 STL-MLN
11 Eddie Mathews 1957 1968 MLN-DET
11 Don McMahon 1957 1968 MLN-DET
11 Roberto Clemente 1960 1971 PIT
11 Bill Mazeroski 1960 1971 PIT
11 Jose Canseco 1989 2000 OAK-NYY
11 Mike Timlin 1993 2004 TOR-BOS
11 John Lackey 2002 2013 ANA-BOS
10 Tommy Bridges 1935 1945 DET
10 Hank Greenberg 1935 1945 DET
10 Enos Slaughter 1946 1956 STL-NYY
10 George Hendrick 1972 1982 OAK-STL
10 Dave Parker 1979 1989 PIT-OAK
10 Darryl Strawberry 1986 1996 NYM-NYY

Pirates swingman Babe Adams won all three of his starts against Ty Cobb's Tigers in the 1909 World Series, including a shutout in Game Seven. 16 years later, a 43-year-old Adams was clearly at the end of the line (5.42 ERA). But he did get an inning of mop-up work to finish a Game Four loss in the 1925 Series. That loss put Pittsburgh in a 3-1 hole, but the Bucs won three straight to become the first team to make that comeback in the Fall Classic.

MLB Managers, Most Seasons Between World Series Championships
Yrs Manager From To Tm
23 Bucky Harris 1924 1947 WAS-NYY
17 Tony La Russa 1989 2006 OAK-STL
16 John McGraw 1905 1921 NYG
16 Connie Mack 1913 1929 PHA
15 Bill McKechnie 1925 1940 PIT-CIN
11 Danny Murtaugh 1960 1971 PIT

Harris was the second baseman/player-manager for the '24 Senators in their thrilling seven-game World Series win over the Giants. After retiring as a player, he bounced between gigs in Detroit, Boston and back in D.C. before landing with the Yankees in 1947. He won a title in his first season in the Bronx, but after a third-place finish in '48, he was let go and replaced by Casey Stengel.


The only player in NBA history to have play ten seasons between titles is Earl Cureton (11). The center backed up Moses Malone on the 1983 76ers. After spending most of the next decade playing in minor leagues and in Europe, Cureton was back in the NBA with the Rockets late in the 1994 season. He played two regular season games and 10 games in the postseason, including two minutes in Game Seven of the NBA Finals against the Knicks.

As for coaches, there have been four that have gone seven or more seasons between championships, with one lapping the field.

NBA Coaches, Most Seasons Between Championships
Yrs Coach From To Tm
18 Pat Riley 1988 2006 LAL-MIA
9 Alex Hannum 1958 1967 STL-PHI
7 Phil Jackson 2002 2009 LAL
7 Gregg Popovich 2007 2014 SA

As Heat general manager in 2006, Riley fired head coach Stan Van Gundy and took over the job himself, winning a fifth championship. Miami's star, Dwyane Wade, was only six years old when Riley won his first title with the Lakers in 1988.


NHL Players, Most Seasons Between Stanley Cups
Yrs Player From To Tm
16 Chris Chelios 1986 2002 MON-DET
15 Mark Recchi 1991 2006 PIT-CAR
14 Bill Guerin 1995 2009 NJ-PIT
13 Craig Ludwig 1986 1999 MON-DAL
13 Brian Skrudland 1986 1999 MON-DAL
12 Marcel Pronovost 1955 1967 DET-TOR
12 Terry Sawchuk 1955 1967 DET-TOR
11 Greg Gilbert 1983 1994 NYI-NYR
10 Dit Clapper 1929 1939 BOS
10 Eddie Shore 1929 1939 BOS
10 Cooney Weiland 1929 1939 BOS
10 Bob Goldham 1942 1952 TOR-DET
10 Tod Sloan 1951 1961 TOR-CHI
10 Joe Nieuwendyk 1989 1999 CGY-DAL
10 Chris Osgood 1998 2008 DET

15 players have lifted the Stanley Cup after a decade-long drought. The 16 years between championships for Chelios ties him with Babe Adams for the longest stretch on any of these lists. He won another with the Red Wings six years later at 46 years old, which inspired this note from my piece last week:

"Chris Chelios won his first Stanley Cup in 1986 with the Canadiens when I was not yet born. Chris Chelios won his last Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Red Wings 18 days after I graduated from the University of Rhode Island."

Two coaches have done what Belichick aims to do Sunday. Dick Irvin piloted the Maple Leafs to the 1932 Cup and won the first of three with the Canadiens in 1944. Scotty Bowman won nine championships, including a four-peat with Montreal from 1976-79. 13 years later he won another, this time with the Penguins in 1992 before adding three more with Detroit from 1997-2002.

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