Not too long ago, the words “Chicago” and “Championship” were considered oxymorons. In 1981, the Chicago Sting won Chicago’s first championship since the 1961 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship, when they won the Soccer Bowl, and did so again in 1984. The Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985, and it was clear that Chicago was a championship city again. The Bulls would win the NBA Championship in 1991, 1992, and again in 1993, and would repeat the three-peat in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Chicago didn’t wait long for another, as the expansion Chicago Fire won the MLS Cup the same year. In 2005, the White Sox would bring home the city’s first World Series since they had won it in 1917, and the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1961, ending a drought of 49 years (which unfortunately isn’t the worst this city has seen).
Of the aforementioned champions, the Chicago Sting no longer exist and the only team not listed that is still in existence today is the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a championship since 1908.
Now that Chicago is a proven championship city, and has several teams that are somewhere between decent and great, which team has the best chance to win it all in 2012?
We must first run down the list and see which teams have a conceivable chance of doing it this coming year.
The Bears: Unfortunately, for them to win a championship in 2012, they would have to win their final two games and hope that a wild card team loses both of their final two games, and then they likely would have to get by the Packers. Verdict: It is a pretty safe bet that the Bear won’t be doing it this season, but have a decent chance if Cutler can stay healthy next season.
The Blackhawks: The Blackhawks are currently ranked the best team in the National Hockey League and are 8-1-1 in their last ten games. The Blackhawks at this point are a pretty clear championship contender. Verdict: They have a pretty good chance.
The Bulls: The Bulls did last year what the Blackhawks are doing so far this year, boasting the best record in the league. They couldn’t get past Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, but remain one of the best teams in the NBA, and have the most complete starting five. Verdict: They have a chance, but maybe not as good as the Blackhawks.
The Cubs: The Cubs just traded Sean Marshall and are headed towards a complete rebuild. Verdict: As Patrick Kane said when told to behave himself at the Championship parade, “Not a chance!”.
The Fire: The Fire missed the playoffs in 2011 after a miserable start, but went 7-2-2 in their last eleven games and proved themselves to be capable of beating anyone in Major League Soccer after acquiring Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, and Dan Gargan, with Dominic Oduro (who was acquired for Calen Carr after the first game of the season) having a huge comeback year. Also going the Fire’s way is that the cross-over rule was eliminated in the new playoff format, therefore they will not have to face a Western Conference team in the playoffs before the MLS Cup Final. Verdict: The Fire may be the best team in the league, and barring a major rebound by New York, should be the clear-cut favorites to win the Eastern Conference and maybe the MLS Cup.
The White Sox: Pretty much the same scenario as the Cubs, except they aren’t quite as bad. Verdict: A very slim chance.
My Personal Rankings (one being most likely to win):
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago Blackhawks (pretty close between them and the Fire)
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Bears (if this was for the season that starts in 2012, they’d be higher)
- Chicago Cubs