Some cities are accustomed to being disappointed by their sports franchises (I’ll save their fans by not naming them here). And then there are some that are just accustomed to winning. Some might argue that this makes each championship won less meaningfull and that fans from these towns are spoiled by continued success while others toil in perpetual despair, waiting for the day they finally come out on top. Still, something must be said for these cities who manage some way or another to produce winning teams that seem to conquer the world of sports. With that in mind, here are the cities that boast the most championships in pro sports in the United States.
10. Baltimore: 9 Championships
Of all the teams on this list, only the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens have won a major sports title in the past 14 years, winning 2 Super Bowls, in 2000 and 2012. Prior to the Ravens’ arrival, the Baltimore Colts won three titles in the 1950s and 60s prior to the Super Bowl era. Another defunct Baltimore team, the Bullets played in the American Basketball League and later the NBA for a decade, winning one title. Baltimore’s only other current pro team, baseball’s Orioles have won three championships, their last MLB title coming in 1983, led by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
9. Green Bay: 13 Championships
By far the smallest metro area on this list, all of Green Bay’s 13 championships have come via the Packers. The Packers’ first nine NFL titles came prior to 1967 before the Super Bowl was created, but a championship is a championship nonetheless. Since the creation of the Super Bowl, the Packers have won four more titles; winning the first two Super Bowls with renowned quarterback Bart Starr in the 1960s and most recently in 2011 when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not bad for a city with a population of just over 100,000 people.
8. St. Louis: 13 Championships
Another small city in comparison to the mega markets that dominate the latter half of this list, the bulk of St. Louis’ championships come from baseball. Though the Cardinals have won 11 MLB championships, they were arguably most successful back in the 1940s when they won three titles in four years. The Cardinals’ most recent championship was their unexpected title in 2011, giving St. Louis fans plenty to be hopeful for in the future. Beyond baseball, St. Louis’ NFL team the Rams, led by Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk won its only Super Bowl in 1999.
7. Pittsburgh: 14 Championships
Pittsburgh may be known for steel, but its sports franchises are know for championships. Pittsburgh teams have won multiple championships in all three of the major sports the city competes in. While the Pittsburgh Pirates have been perennial basement dwellers for over 20 years now, (never finishing above .500 since 1992), the team has won 5 MLB championships, its last coming in 1979. On the ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had some great teams and some awful teams, but they’ve also had some of the most talented players ever to play hockey help them win their three Stanley Cup titles. Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby in particular are synonymous with the Penguins and their success. As if not to be out done, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the NFL’s most decorated team with a total of six Super Bowl titles, making the ‘Steel City’ a force in pro sports.
6. Philadelphia: 16 Championships
While Philadelphia is the first entry on this list that can boast titles in all four major North American sports, the city has seen much of its success in the past. So much so that the Philadelphia team with the most titles doesn’t even play there anymore. Save for the Philadelphia Phillies winning the second of their two MLB championships in 2008, the last title won by a Philadelphia team came in 1983 when the 76ers won the NBA crown. Even worse? The last time the Flyers were a true menace on the ice culminated in back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. All three Eagles championships in football came before the Super Bowl era, and the majority of Philadelphia’s World Series victories were won by the Philadelphia Athletics, a team that left the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ in 1955. It’s no wonder Philadelphia fans feel long-suffering.
5. Los Angeles: 19 Championships
Since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis for the 1960 season, they have been the NBA’s second most successful team winning 11 championships, second only to Boston. Until recently, the star power the Lakers have consistently been able to put on the court has made them perennial contenders, if not outright favourites, to at the very least compete for the title. Though the team has been less successful as of late, the Lakers won five of their titles between 2000 and 2010. Beyond the Lakers, the next most prolific team in L.A. is the Dodgers, having won 5 MLB titles between 1959 and 1988. Of the two football teams that have won titles while playing in Los Angeles, the Raiders, who have since moved to Oakland, have one Super Bowl, and the Rams won an NFL title in the 1950s. The Los Angeles Kings’ Stanley Cup victory in 2012 was the last victory by an L.A. based team thus far.
4. Detroit: 22 Championships
As one of baseball’s oldest teams, the Detroit Tigers have won the World Series four times, but not since 1984. In the NBA, the Pistons have won three titles, back-to-back in 1989 and 1990, and then again in 2004. The oft-maligned Detroit Lions have won four football championships, but all came prior to the Super Bowl era. On the ice is where the bulk of Detroit’s championships have come, where the 11 Stanley Cups the Red Wings have won makes them America’s most successful hockey team. In fact, after qualifying for the playoffs for the 23rd straight season, Detroit has a shot at winning Stanley Cup number 12.
3. Chicago: 24 Championships
The city of Chicago has a rich tradition of winning, Most notably on the court when arguably the best basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, led the Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s. The Chicago Bears have also done plenty of winning, with eight titles to their credit, though they’ve only won one, in 1985, since the Super Bowl era was established. Chicago’s two pro baseball teams have been about as successful as each other; the White Sox have three World Series wins, and while the Cubs have two World Series’ to their credit, but neither have won the title in over 100 years. An Original Six team, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have seen their Stanley Cup titles spread out over a long period of time, winning two in the 1930s and one in 1961, before ending a nearly fifty-year drought by reclaiming the Cup in 2010. The Hawks won their fifth Cup last year and are looking to defend their title this spring.
2. Boston: 35 Championships
Over the past decade Boston has become synonymous with winning in pro sports. All four of their major sports teams have won at least one championship since 2005. The Red Sox shook off the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ to finally win another, long overdue World Series in 2004, followed by two more in 2007 and 2013. The Patriots were the NFL’s last dynasty winning three Super Bowls in four seasons between 2001 and 2005, The Celtics won the 2008 NBA title, and the Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup. Not a bad decade for Boston fans. The city is also steeped in a tradition of winning, particularly on the court where the Celtics won nine NBA championships in 13 seasons between 1957 and 1969, accounting for more than half of the team’s 17 titles. The Red Sox have seven more World Series victories to their credit, while the Bruins also have five more Stanley Cup rings. Impressive for being only the tenth largest metro area in the United States.
1. New York: 52 Championships
No surprise here. By far the biggest city population wise on this list, the ‘Big Apple’ easily crushes the competition when it comes to winning in pro sports, in large part thanks to the Yankees. The Yankees have won 27 World Series titles, making up more than half of all of New York’s championships combined. And the Yankees have been consistent, fielding winning teams featuring all-time greats like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter, for a century. Although clearly overshadowed by the Yankees, people forget the Mets have won the World Series twice as well.
Although not nearly as prolific in the other three major sports as they are in baseball, New York has won championships in all of them. In basketball the Knicks have won two NBA titles. In football, the New York Giants have won seven NFL championships, including three Super Bowls, two of which came in the last seven years. The Jets also have a championship, won in 1968 following quarterback Joe Namath’s promise of a victory. On the ice, the Original Six Rangers have won four Stanley Cups, most recently in 1994, and for a period of time in the 1980s the oft forgotten Islanders were the NHL’s best team, winning four straight Cups between 1980 and 1983. Unsurprisingly, the biggest city in the United States is also it’s most prolific in the world of sports.