12 Ways to Tell You're a Boston Sports Fan
There’s little debate that the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins have owned the new millennium. Between the four franchises, they’ve captured 10 championships since 2002 — five for the Pats, three for the Red Sox, one each for the Celtics and Bruins.
With those exciting events have come moments that every Boston sports fan never will forget.
However, there’s 12 memories, specifically, that stand out over the last two decades.
Simply put, you’re not a die-hard fanatic if these topics don’t stir up some emotion.
1. You Know Where Were You When the Curse Was Broken.
If you were watching on television, you heard Fox broadcaster Joe Buck react after Keith Foulke unleashed the final pitch of the 2004 season: “Back to Foulke ... Red Sox fans have longed to hear it! The Boston Red Sox are world champions!”
You’re not a Boston sports fan if you don’t get chills hearing that. Even today, 14 years later, any Red Sox fan will remember their exact location when the “Curse of the Bambino” was snapped and their team finally won the Fall Classic for the first time since 1918.
2. Dave Roberts Is Your Hero.
We got ahead of ourselves. Before we celebrate the 2004 title and breaking free from 86 years of misery, there was the stolen base. You know which one.
Three outs from being swept in four games in the American League Championship Series by the New York Yankees, outfielder Dave Roberts beat Jorge Posada’s throw to second and set up a run that tied the game and prolonged the series — at least for a few innings.
The two rivals remained knotted until the bottom of the 12th inning, when an emerging legend named David Ortiz blasted a walk-off home run. The Red Sox still trailed 3-1 in the series, but it suddenly felt like everything had changed and maybe, just maybe, the tables turned in Boston’s favor.
You know how the rest turned out. Go up to any Red Sox fan, say the words "Dave" and "Roberts," and you’ll probably receive a warm smile and a high five.
3. A Bloody Sock Does Not Disgust You.
Oh, wait. We’re not done talking about the 2004 postseason. After all, three occasions on this list of sacred subjects unraveled in a matter of a week or two. Crazy, right?
As for the bloody sock, any Boston sports fan will defend Curt Schilling and praise him for his efforts basically on one leg the night he shut down the Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS. The right-hander had been dealing with a lingering ankle injury and, prior to the game, had his wayward tendon sewn back into his ankle.
He surrendered just one run over seven innings and helped the Red Sox even the series 3-3, before cruising to a Game 7 win and punching their tickets to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
4. Boston Strong.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, David Ortiz proved that a baseball player’s finest moment throughout a long career doesn’t have to be at the plate. The beloved slugger took the microphone before a game and addressed the crowd in need of healing and inspiration. He delivered 54 words from the heart that still resonate today:
"All right, Boston," he said. "This jersey that we wear today, it doesn't say 'Red Sox.' It says 'Boston.' We want to thank you, Mayor [Thomas] Menino, Governor [Deval] Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our f------- city. And nobody's going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
Needless to say, the city of Boston shook from the ovation he received after delivering that speech. A top-notch moment for any New England sports fan, undoubtedly.
5. 2007 Was a Good Year.
Sure, the 2007 Red Sox were — and always will be — living in the shadow of the historic '04 bunch, but many people forget how likable this club was.
Boston was down 3-1 in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians. Then, Josh Beckett struck out 11 batters and surrendered just five hits and one run over eight brilliant innings in Game 5 to keep the series alive.
The Red Sox outscored the Tribe 23-4 over the next two games to punch a ticket to the World Series.
There, they rolled past the Colorado Rockies in four games. Jon Lester, who returned to baseball following successful treatment for lymphoma, won the deciding game in his first postseason start.
6. 'Anything Is Possible.'
The history of the Boston Celtics is a loaded subject. The 17 championships make them the most successful franchise in the NBA. A bevy of legends wore the green and white, such as John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and Larry Bird. Coach Red Auerbach. The Boston Garden. The notable rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s safe to say Kevin Garnett’s emotional postgame interview can be thrown into the conversation as one of the more memorable and touching moments for any Celtics fan.
Shortly after Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Garnett helped Boston capture the 2008 NBA Finals in six games, “The Big Ticket” was overcome with emotion during an interview on the court and dragged out the inspirational phrase on the top of his lungs, "Anything is possible!"
It never gets old.
7. 'The Truth' Never Hurts.
As if Boston fans needed another reason to love Paul Pierce, he provided one of the biggest collective sighs of relief and cheers in Boston history during the “Wheelchair Game.”
Midway through the third quarter of Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, the future Hall of Famer collided with teammate Kendrick Perkins under the basket and fell to the ground in agony. While grabbing his leg and covering his face, fans grew silent. Shortly thereafter, teammate Tony Allen and two medical staffers lifted Pierce into a wheelchair. Oh, this can’t be good, everyone thought.
Cameras followed him into the tunnel and captured disturbing images of Pierce writhing in pain, while being whisked away for further testing. But then as despair filled the arena, a miracle happened: Pierce ran back out of the tunnel and to the Celtics’ bench one minute later.
That’s right, Superman was back — and he hit a pair of 3-pointers shortly after checking back into the game.
Was it a miracle? Was the injury fake? Some conspiracy theorists wonder what the truth was 10 years ago on that night. But regardless, any Boston fan will argue “The Truth” is one of the toughest, grittiest players they’ve ever seen — and that night proved it.
8. Super Bowl XXXVI Still Gives You Goosebumps.
Tom Brady couldn’t believe it. Kurt Warner couldn’t believe it. Every football fan in America couldn’t believe it. It’s true, though: The New England Patriots were about to take down “The Greatest Show on Turf” in the Super Bowl on February 3, 2002.
With the game tied at 17 with 1:30 remaining, Brady led his team down the field and set up Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard, game-winning field goal.
After the ball went through the uprights, Brady was handed the MVP award, the Pats won their first-ever Super Bowl, and one of sports’ biggest dynasties was born.
9. Two of Your Favorite Names Are 'Malcolm' and 'Butler.'
In one of the biggest defensive plays in NFL history, Malcolm Butler preserved the Patriots’ championship victory in Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.
The Patriots claimed a 28-24 lead with 2:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson anchored a drive all the way down to the 1-yard line with 26 seconds on the clock.
Instead of running the ball in for a sure-fire touchdown, the Seahawks opted to throw — which resulted in Butler picking off the attempt and sending all of New England into a frenzy.
One of the most scrutinized play calls of all time benefited the Pats. But a win’s a win, especially on the biggest stage in sports.
10. You Don't Lose Faith.
You’d think Patriots fans had enough heart palpitations on Super Bowl Sunday, thanks to Adam Vinatieri’s kick and Malcolm Butler’s interception. Clearly not.
In what could’ve been the most exciting victory in franchise history, the Patriots erased a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons midway through the third quarter of Super Bowl LI and escaped with a 34-28 win in overtime on Feb. 5, 2017.
Tom Brady broke single-game Super Bowl records with 43 completed passes, 62 pass attempts, and 466 passing yards, and was named the game’s MVP for a record fourth time.
11. Drinking From the Cup Won't Ever Get Old.
Lost in the success of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics are the Bruins, who won their sixth Stanley Cup in Game 7 of the 2011 series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Goaltender Tim Thomas, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, was spectacular throughout and didn’t allow more than three goals in a game.
This win was the franchise’s first title since 1972.
12. You Realize the Future Is As Bright As the Past.
No, really. The future could be just as exciting as the last 16 years — which have included 10 championships between the four major sports in the New England area.
With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still calling the shots, the Patriots could rattle off one or two more Super Bowl wins.
With Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and other stars coming together to form one of the deepest lineups the NBA has seen in quite some time, the Celtics might be on the cusp of adding to their banners.
The Red Sox have some of the best young talents in the game.
The Bruins are equipped with the same core as the 2017-18 team, which made it to the second round of the playoffs.
Yes, this has been the Boston sports era. Guess what? The trend may continue.