Category Archives: Multiple Sports

Current active streaks of winning seasons in pro sports


Through games of August 14, the New York Yankees have a 61-58 record, three games over .500. Big deal, right? Well, should the Yankees falter and end the season at .500 or below, they would break a current streak of 21 seasons where they played above .500. The last time the Yankees did not finish a season above .500 was in 1992 when they went 76-86.

The Yanks’ streak of 21 seasons above .500 is not, however, the longest active streak in professional sports. The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings this past season had a .567 winning percentage. It was the 22nd straight year with a winning percentage above .500 for Detroit. The last time the Red Wings finished at .500 or below was in 1990-91 when they ended the season at .475.

Looking at the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL), there are 23 franchises that have current streaks of five winning seasons or more. The NHL has more than half of those teams with 12. Baseball is next with five; the NBA has four such teams, and the NFL has only two teams that have finished above .500 in five (or more) of the last seasons.

Here’s a look at the 23 pro sports franchises that have current streaks of five or more seasons of finishing above .500.

Franchises, current streak of seasons above .500

Detroit (NHL)     22
New York Yankees (MLB)     21
San Antonio (NBA)     17
Vancouver (NHL)     14
New England (NFL)     13
San Jose (NHL)     10
New York Rangers (NHL)     9
Houston (NBA)     8
Pittsburgh (NHL)     8
Boston (NHL)     7
Chicago (NHL)     7
Philadelphia (NHL)     7
Washington (NHL)     7
Miami (NBA)     6
St. Louis (MLB)     6
Tampa Bay (MLB)     6
St. Louis (NHL)     6
Atlanta (MLB)     5
Texas (MLB)     5
Oklahoma City (NBA)     5
Green Bay (NFL)     5
Los Angeles Kings (NHL)     5
Phoenix (NHL)     5

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Need Game 7 drama? Try the NHL!

Boston sports

Sports fans who like the drama of “win-or-go-home” Game Sevens have to be happy with the NBA and NHL playoffs this season. As we enter the final series in both sports, we have seen 12 Game Sevens (seven in the NHL and five in the NBA). That’s the most Game Sevens for the combined NBA and NHL playoffs in history.

For the NHL, the seven Game Sevens ties the most in league history since 2011 and 1994. If the Rangers-Kings Stanley Cup series goes to a deciding seventh game, that would break the league record. Of the seven series that have gone seven games, the Kings have played in three of them. In the NBA, the five Game Sevens is the most in league history.

In looking at playoff series in the NBA and NHL since 2000, the NHL has had more Game Sevens. The NHL has had 63 Game Sevens, while the NBA has had 43. (Note: the NBA went to seven-game playoff series in all rounds starting in 2003; the NHL has had seven games in the playoffs since 1987.)

The Memphis Grizzlies hold the distinction of the team that has suffered the most Game Seven defeats in the last four years. The Grizzlies have lost a Game Seven in three of the last four years.

Since 2000, the Boston Bruins have the most Game Seven defeats with six. Ironically, the Bruins NBA counterparts in Boston, the Celtics, have the most Game Seven defeats in the NBA this century with four. That’s a lot of disappointment for Boston sports fans since 2000.

Following are the NHL and NBA franchises with the most Game Seven losses since 2000.

Game Seven losses since 2000 in the NHL
6: Boston
5: Washington
4: Anaheim, Colorado, Ottawa
3: Buffalo, Calgary, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver

Game Seven losses since 2000 in the NBA
4: Boston
3: Houston, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Sacramento
2: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Portland, San Antonio, Toronto

Major League Baseball has seen 11 series go to a deciding Game Seven since 2000. Two teams, the Boston Red Sox (oh, those poor Boston fans) and the New York Yankees have two Game Seven defeats since 2000.

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Longest active playoff streak in major pro sports

Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings last night began their 2014 NHL playoff run with a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins. The Red Wings are playing in their 23rd consecutive NHL playoffs, not only the longest active streak in the league, but also the longest active streak in the four major professional sports.

The San Antonio Spurs tomorrow will begin their 2014 NBA playoff season when they face off against the Dallas Mavericks. It will be the 17th straight season that the Spurs have made the playoffs in the NBA, longest active streak in the league, and second to the Red Wings as the longest active playoff streak in the four major pro sports.

Here’s a look at the current active streaks in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB for playoff appearances.

Longest active streak of playoff appearances

23 seasons: Detroit (NHL)

17: San Antonio (NBA)

10: San Jose (NHL)

8: Pittsburgh (NHL)

7: Atlanta (NBA), Boston (NHL)

6: Chicago (NBA), Miami (NBA), Chicago (NHL)

5: Green Bay (NFL), New England (NFL), Oklahoma City (NBA), L.A. Kings (NHL)

4: Indiana (NBA), Memphis (NBA), N.Y. Rangers (NHL)

3: Detroit (MLB), St. Louis (MLB), Cincinnati (NFL), Denver (NFL), San Francisco (NFL), L.A. Clippers (NBA), St. Louis (NHL)

Considering that the NHL and NBA have playoffs with 16 teams, it’s no surprise that several of their teams are on the list above. Major League Baseball, which has 10 teams make their playoffs (it was only eight until last season) and the NFL, which has a 12-team format (likely to go to 14 in the near future), have fewer teams appear on the list. The MLB Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals are the only two baseball teams to have played in the last three MLB playoffs, while the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots top NFL teams with five straight playoff appearances.

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NHL has the most parity in last 20 years

The Boston Celtics are back and looking to add...

Boston Celtics NBA Championship banners (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past several years, we have heard the word “parity” thrown around quite a bit, especially in the world of sports. Professional teams like the Montreal Canadians, the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakes, and at various times in the NFL, the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers and 49ers, have all enjoyed long success in their respective league.

While the fans in those towns may enjoy the dynasties that were built, other cities and executives within each of the four major sports leagues would rather see the wealth spread around a bit to other teams.

Back-to-back titles have happened in each of the four major sports in the last two decades. The Yankees won three straight titles in the late ’90’s; the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 (there has not, however, been a team that has won three straight Super Bowls); the Lakers won three consecutive NBA titles earlier this century (and the Miami Heat are hoping for a third straight title this year); and, the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. But those days when a franchise won five or more straight championships are very much a distant past.

So which of the four major sports in the last 20 years has seen the “most” parity? Let’s start the discussion with a few numbers.

Different champions: Of the four sports, the NHL has had 13 different franchises win the Stanley Cup in the last 20 years. The NFL is close behind with 12 teams winning at least one Super Bowl in the past two decades. The World Series has been won by 11 different teams since 1993, while the NBA Championship has seen only eight franchises hoist the title trophy since 1993. Slight advantage to the NHL.

Repeat champions: Of the four sports, the NFL has had the most repeat champions (teams that won more than one title) in the last 20 years with seven (Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Green Bay, New England, New York Giants and Pittsburgh). The other three sports have each had five repeat champs in the past 20 seasons. No advantage.

Back-to-Back titles: In the past 20 years, the NHL has had the fewest consecutive titles by a team, one. That happened in 1997 and 1998 when the Red Wings won back-to-back titles. It has happened only twice in major league baseball in the last 20 years; it has occurred three times in the last 2o Super Bowls. In the NBA, there have been seven times when a team won back-to-back titles (on two occasions, those teams won a three-peat). Advantage NHL.

So based on these three factors, the NHL, in my opinion, has had the most parity over the past 20 years.

Your thoughts?

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Game Sevens: Will the NHL finals series match the NBA and go 7 games?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals at the ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs took their NBA Finals series to a Game Seven with the Heat winning their second straight title. Now the question is: Can (or will) the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins take their Stanley Cup series to a seventh and deciding game?

Here’s a trivia question for you: When was the last time the NBA and NHL saw their finals series both go to a deciding seventh game in the same season? Answer to follow…

For the record, this was the 18th Game Seven in NBA Finals history and the first since 2010 when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games. If you compare the three professional leagues that have a seven-game finals playoff (major league baseball, the NBA and the NHL), the NHL has had the fewest Game Sevens since 1947 (when all three leagues were in existence at the same time) with 14. Major League Baseball has had the most Game Sevens with 26 since ’47.

Only once since 1947 have all three sports had a Game Seven decide their champion. That happened in 1955. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in seven games to win the ’55 World Series; Syracuse won the NBA title in 1955 winning the championship in a seventh game victory over Ft. Wayne; and Detroit won the ’55 Stanley Cup playoffs over Montreal by winning Game Seven.

Other than 1955, there have been a handful of times when two of the three sports saw their title series go the distance with seven games. Major League Baseball and the NBA have gone seven games in the finals in four seasons (1952, 1957, 1960 and 1962… note it hasn’t happened in over 50 years); the NHL and MLB have gone seven games in the finals in six season (1964, 1965, 1971, 1987, 2001 and 2011).

Trivia answer: The last time the NBA and NHL final series both went seven games in the same year was in 1994. The Houston Rockets won the NBA title with a Game Seven win over the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers won the NHL title in 1994 by defeating Vancouver four games to three. That’s the only other time other than 1955 that the NBA and NHL have seen their championship series decided in seven games in the same year.

One more stat: Although the NHL has had the fewest Game Seven final series since 1947, they have had the most since 2000. Since 2000 the NHL has had six finals series go the distance with seven games (it could be seven years if this year’s Chicago-Boston finals goes to a seventh game). Both the NBA and Major League Baseball have seen a seventh game finals series in three years.

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