Possibly more so than any year in history, we’ve seen various cities undergo complete success or complete failures with all of their sports teams this year; the local hockey franchise may rise with the basketball franchise.
The baseball team may fall with the football team.

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Oftentimes when it rains, it pours for sports towns almost as if linked results are contagious.

To put it in perspective, here are the top four cities riding a sports-high, followed by the top 4 in a state of turmoil.

The Best of the Best

  1. Milwaukee

Although we haven’t seen a championship in dairyland for a while now, they’ve had an excellent stint as a sports town recently. The Packers may have just lost the NFC Championship, but they made it there for the second consecutive season as the #1 seed, and Aaron Rodgers just put up an MVP-caliber year.

The Bucks just signed their back-to-back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, to a max contract to keep him home and will be threats in the Eastern Conference for years to come. The Brewers will have a healthy Christian Yelich this season, looking to win another NL MVP and make the postseason again. It’s been a good run for the city of great fans and consistent and stable organizations.

  1. Miami

We would’ve never seen this coming after LeBron left the Heat, but the city’s sports might be the best it’s been all-around for the first time in a while. The Heat made the NBA Finals this summer in the bubble as a #5 seed! The Dolphins went from possibly the worst roster in NFL history to be a game away from the playoffs this year under coach Brian Flores!

The Marlins were supposed to be the worst team in baseball, and they made the second round of the playoffs! The Florida Panthers are sort of alright? (Which is solid for the 260 people in South Beach who follow hockey) And the best part about the success of these Miami teams is that most of it come from bright, youthful, promising future stars, which means if there are fewer turnovers, the party will continue in Florida!

  1. Tampa Bay

Just getting Tom Brady to choose the Bucs in free agency and leave the only franchise he’s ever known might have been the best thing to happen to Tampa Bay sports in the city’s history. On top of that, the Rays made the World Series (we’ll ignore the part about the meltdown and eventual trade of Blake Snell), the Lightning finally got over their recent playoff woes and won the Stanley Cup. The greatest quarterback to ever live brought his pals Gronk and Antonio Brown to lead the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.

I have never met a Tampa Bay sports fan in my life aside from seeing the Dick Vitale celebration videos on social media, but I hope the whole city of retired beach-goers are as thrilled as they deserve to be.

  1. Los Angeles

The city of stars is the city of sports. The Lakers won their first title in the LeBron era, the Dodgers broke the curse, the Rams continue to make the playoffs, Mike Trout and Justin Herbert are studs on the two less-than-relevant teams on the Angels and Chargers, the Clippers are good enough to lose to LeBron in the playoffs, and hockey doesn’t exist (we’re looking at you, Kings and Ducks).

Not only are these teams winning in dominant ways, but they’re also doing so with the big names that are easy to market and create stars out of. It’s the epitome of the glitz and glam of the city, and what a year the teams in SoCal had to honor Kobe Bryant.

The Worst

  1. Chicago

These teams and cities may not have the absolute worst records collectively, but the most turmoil and dismay is at work, and it’s even more magnified in a sports hub like the Windy City. While the southside White Sox are on the come-up, the Cubs are 4 years removed from winning the World Series and had a first-round playoff exit; they are stripping away all of the talents of their team to save money through trades or cutting players, and Theo Epstein jumped ship.

The Bears, who have a quarterback controversy every week, made the playoffs and thus ruined their draft pick… and the Bulls and Blackhawks are just bad. Not fun for a city that loves its sports.

  1. Detroit

There really is nothing to this one other than all of the above; the Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, and Pistons are all terrible and don’t look like they’ll recover any time soon either.

And the Lions are trading Matthew Stafford. We’re sorry, Detroit.

2. Atlanta

Again, they may not have the worst teams by record, but Atlanta sports has been undergoing an absolute beat-down of heartbreak. The Falcons may not ever live down the 28-3 blown lead in the Super Bowl in 2017, and ever since that meltdown, they’ve never recovered despite their talent. But this year, in particular, felt like a recurring nightmare week after week. Not only did they go 4-12 and fire their coach midseason, but they had 4 losses where they had a win probability of 95% or above and blew the lead, so not only were they bad, but the losses were gut-wrenching.

The Braves, one of the best teams in the National League, blew a 3-1 lead in the NLCS to the Dodgers, failing to make the World Series yet again. And the Hawks traded Luka Doncic, the European wonder, to the Mavericks for Trae Young in the 2018 draft, who’s failed to get them above .500 each season and apparently is not a fun guy to play with, according to some anonymous teammates. The city has a curse to be broken.

  1. Houston

I am highly convinced the entire city of Houston is currently on fire. After the Astros became the most-hated franchise in baseball, even more than the NEW YORK YANKEES to some, nothing has gone the city’s way for the humiliating trash can cheating scandal. Let’s recap it team-by-team:

The Astros:

  • Photo: Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

    Lost the World Series to the Nationals

  • Became the villains of Major League Baseball
  • Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and George Springer abandoned ship to escape the villainy with more potentially to follow
  • Justin Verlander missed all of 2020 and will likely miss all of 2021

The Rockets:

  • Repeatedly lost to the Warriors deep in the playoffs
  • Fired GM Daryl Morey and coach Mike D’Antoni
  • Traded away Russell Westbrook
  • James Harden gained a ton of weight in strip clubs, holding them hostage to force a trade to Brooklyn

The Texans:

  • Traded away DeAndre Hopkins and all of their draft capital
  • Fired coach and GM Bill O’Brien at the beginning of a terrible season
  • JJ Watt, the beloved icon of the city, is angry and will probably be released or traded
  • Deshaun Watson, the media darling quarterback, hates the organization and wants a forced trade

My advice to those who enjoy watching sports in Houston: pick a hockey team…or move.

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