When it comes to metropolitan bragging rights, nothing tops pro sports rivalries. These come in two forms: head-to-head battles and overall performance. With the Blackhawks and Bruins locked in a Stanley Cup Final showdown, hockey bragging rights are up for grabs. RedEye takes a look at the standings.
BULLS VS. CELTICS
Playoff history: 4-0 Celtics (1981, 1986, 1987, 2009)
Recent performance: Bulls, six titles since 1991; Celtics, four titles since 1981
Bragging rights edge: Celtics, barely
No team has won more NBA titles than the Celtics, but since the drafting of Larry Bird in 1978 and Michael Jordan in 1984, the count is 6-4 Bulls. However, the Celtics get points for sweeping Jordan's Bulls in 1986 and 1987, for winning the epic seven-game series in 2009, and for winning a championship more recently. A tip of the cap to the Bulls for MJ dropping 63 points on the '86 Celtics, and for the 2009 Bulls taking the defending champs to seven games.
The One That Didn't Happen: Jordan's Bulls were never strong enough to beat Bird's Celtics in the '80s, but the tables were turned in Bird's final three seasons (1990-1992). The series that got away was in 1992: the Celtics lost to the Cavaliers in the conference semifinals, and thus stripped MJ of an opportunity to gain revenge on Bird.
BEARS VS. PATRIOTS
Playoff history: 1-0 Bears (1985)
Recent performance: Bears, one title since 1985; Patriots, three titles since 1985
Bragging rights edge: Bears, barely
There is a strong case to be made for the Patriots. Since the two teams met in Super Bowl XX in January 1986, the Pats have won three Super Bowls and gone to another three, compared with only one appearance for the Bears. The Patriots have won 13 division championships compared with nine for the Bears. And since Super Bowl XX, the Patriots have won six of seven regular-season games against the Monsters of the Midway.
But the memory of Super Bowl XX does not fade easily. The duration of bragging rights is probably about 30 years, meaning this one could go away soon. But bragging rights are subjective, so as long as Super Bowl XX plays a role in the self-esteem of Bears fans, the Patriots will hold no sway over Chicago's collective confidence.
The One That Didn't Happen: After the Bears punched their ticket to Miami for Super Bowl XLI, the Patriots held a 10-point fourth-quarter lead over Indianapolis in the AFC championship game. They lost by four, but if they'd won, the Tom Brady-led Pats may well have defeated the Brian Urlacher-led Bears, thus swinging the football bragging rights meter unequivocally to Boston's side.
CUBS/WHITE SOX vs. RED SOX
Playoff history: 1-0 White Sox vs. Red Sox (2005), 1-0 Red Sox vs. Cubs (1918)
Recent performance: White Sox, 2005 champs; Red Sox, 2004 and 2007 champs; Cubs, 2003 er, 2008, uh … 1907-08 back-to-back!