L.A. is title town: Dodgers, Lakers are rare feat of consecutive titles for a city

Los Angeles is title town, for the time being.

It’s not often that a sports city or metropolitan area follows up one title by also winning the next major sports championship awarded — not to mention three teams from the same city pulling it off.

With the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas, L.A., in 2020, joins an elite list.

Let’s take a look back at the rare times it has happened during the Super Bowl era, which began in 1966.

2018-19 Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots

In October 2018, the Red Sox won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers to claim their fourth title in 15 seasons. Boston won a club-record 108 games during the regular season before going 11-3 in the postseason, including 4-1 in the World Series. The Red Sox outscored the Dodgers 28-16 during the Series and Steve Pearce, who hit three home runs, was named MVP. David Price was the winning pitcher in Games 2 and 5 for Boston.

The Patriots followed the Red Sox’s championship with another title of their own, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. Julian Edelman was named MVP with 10 catches for 141 yards as New England won a record-tying sixth Super Bowl. Sony Michel’s 2-yard run in the fourth quarter was the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history. Tom Brady threw for 262 yards and became the first player to win six Super Bowls.

2008 Pittsburgh Steelers and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins

Ben Roethlisberger’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left gave the Steelers a 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Holmes, who had 131 yards in nine catches, was named MVP as Pittsburgh won its sixth Super Bowl and second in four seasons. The Steelers also became the first team to win three Super Bowls in the same state. They previously won Super Bowls X and XIII in Miami.

On June 12, 2009, the Penguins kept Pittsburgh’s success going with a Game 7 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. With the victory, Pittsburgh became the only city to win a Super Bowl and Stanley Cup consecutively. Evgeni Malkin was named MVP with two goals and six assists during the series as the Penguins avenged their loss to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final the previous season.

2004 Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots

After 86 years of despair, the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series for their first championship since 1918. Boston had to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees just to make it to the World Series. But once there, the Red Sox left no doubt, outscoring the Cardinals 24-12 in the four games. Manny Ramirez was named MVP, driving in four runs on seven hits, including a home run.

The Patriots kept Boston’s party going with a 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX on Feb. 6, 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida. With 11 receptions for 133 yards, Deion Branch earned MVP honors in the Patriots’ third Super Bowl win in four years. Rodney Harrison made two interceptions, including one with nine seconds left that ended any last-second comeback hopes for the Eagles.

2002 Los Angeles Lakers and Anaheim Angels*

The Lakers won their third straight NBA Finals in 2002 — giving head coach Phil Jackson his ninth ring — with a sweep over the Nets. Behind Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who averaged 36 points and 12 rebounds in the Finals and was named Finals MVP, the Lakers secured the franchise’s 14th NBA championship trophy.

Four months after the Lakers capped another title run, the Angels advanced to their first World Series in franchise history. The 2002 Series was the first contested between two wild-card teams. The Angels were eight outs away from falling to the Giants in Game 6, but they rallied from a five-run, seventh-inning deficit to win and force a decisive seventh game. A three-run double to right field by Garret Anderson proved to be enough for the Angels, who won 4-1 to clinch their first World Series title.

* The Stanley Cup Final ended one day after the NBA Finals in 2002, technically not making the Lakers and Angels’ titles consecutive, but we decided they were close enough that they deserved to be mentioned.

1989 Oakland Athletics and San Francisco 49ers

The Athletics swept the Giants in the World Series, but this one will go down as one of the more memorable Fall Classics in history. Prior to Game 3 on Oct. 17 in San Francisco, a 6.9 earthquake rocked the Bay Area, causing damage to Candlestick Park and knocking out power. The game was postponed and was eventually played on Oct. 27. The series concluded the following day, with the A’s outscoring the Giants 32-14 in the four games.

San Francisco also got to celebrate a championship for the 1989 sports season. The 49ers made it two straight Super Bowl titles and the fourth in franchise history with a 55-10 rout of the Denver Broncos on Jan. 28, 1990. The 55 points were the most scored by a team, and the 45-point margin of victory was the largest in Super Bowl history. Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time after completing 22 of 29 passes for 297 yards and a then-Super Bowl record five touchdowns. The 49ers also became the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls under different head coaches, with George Seifert having taken over for Bill Walsh, who retired following the previous season’s championship run.

1988 Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers

The Lakers capped off the 1987-88 season with their 11th NBA championship, defeating the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the Finals to become the NBA’s first repeat champions since the Boston Celtics in 1968-69. The title was the last for the Showtime-era Lakers, a team that had Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as well as head coach Pat Riley, who famously guaranteed the repeat.

The most memorable moment from the Dodgers’ win over the A’s in the World Series remarkably came in Game 1. National League MVP Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk due to injuries suffered during the NLCS, drilled a pinch-hit, walk-off home run off future Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley. Just four months after the Lakers’ repeat, the Dodgers would go on to win the series in five games behind the arm of Orel Hershiser, who set the all-time scoreless inning streak at 59 innings during the regular season. Hershiser pitched a shutout in Game 2 and a complete game in the decisive Game 5 to take home MVP honors.

1986 New York Mets and New York Giants

The Mets cruised to the postseason in 1986, earning 108 regular-season wins and capturing the NL East by a whopping 21½ games over the Philadelphia Phillies. They won the NLCS in six games over the Houston Astros, but it appeared the Mets’ run would come to a disappointing end in Game 6 of the World Series versus Boston, which led the series 3-2 and took a two-run lead in the top of the 10th inning of Game 6. The Mets were down to their final out … then the improbable happened. The Mets recorded three straight singles, cutting their deficit to 5-4 with runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored the tying run and put the winning run on second base. Mookie Wilson then hit a roller to first that Bill Buckner let go under his glove, allowing Ray Knight to race home with the winning run. The Mets went on to win Game 7 at home, denying Boston its first World Series title since 1918.

The ’86 Giants kept spirits high in New York, dominating the competition en route to the Super Bowl. The Giants went 14-2 in the regular season, then outscored the 49ers and Redskins by a combined 66-3 in the NFC playoffs. In Super Bowl XXI, Phil Simms led the way, going 22-for-25 passing for 268 yards and three touchdown strikes in a 39-20 victory over the Broncos. But the story for the Giants was their defense, which finished No. 2 in the NFL in points and yards allowed. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor, one of eight Giants Pro Bowlers that season, was the unanimous league MVP after recording 20.5 sacks, and Bill Parcells was named NFL Coach of the Year.

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers

It was only fitting that the Pirates’ theme song was “We Are Family” during the 1979 season. They had to stick together like one to capture the World Series. After sweeping the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS, the Pirates found themselves in a 3-1 hole against the Baltimore Orioles in the Fall Classic. But the Pirates, led by NL MVP Willie Stargell, won Game 5 at home, then went to Baltimore and won the final two games. Stargell, at 39 years old, was named World Series MVP after hitting .400. He went 4-for-5 in Game 7, hitting two doubles and a two-run homer in the sixth inning that put Pittsburgh up for good.

The Steelers’ dominance in the 1970s continued during the ’79 season. They captured their second straight Super Bowl and fourth title in franchise history with a 31-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 20, 1980. Experience probably helped the Steelers prevail in the game played at the Rose Bowl in what was part of the Rams’ home market in Pasadena, California. The Rams led 19-17 entering the fourth quarter, but the Steelers, led by Terry Bradshaw, scored 14 points in the fourth to pull out the win. Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP by completing 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns, overcoming his three interceptions.

1970: Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Colts

The Orioles defeated the Reds in five games to win the 1970 World Series. Both teams won more than 100 games in the regular season, something that wouldn’t happen again until 2017. MVP Brooks Robinson put on a show, driving in six runs on nine hits, including two home runs to lead Baltimore past Johnny Bench and the “Big Red Machine.” The 1970 World Series was the second of three straight for the Orioles but the only of those that they won.

The Colts overcame seven turnovers for a 16-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V on Jan. 17, 1971, in Miami. The game has been referred to as the “Blunder Bowl” because of all the turnovers and penalties. The teams set a Super Bowl record with a combined 11 turnovers. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley, who made two interceptions, was named MVP, the only time a member of the losing team has won the award. It wasn’t pretty, but the Colts kept the good times rolling in Baltimore.

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