Let’s get greedy.
While a win for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII will launch them into rarefied NFL territory, shouldn’t we want more?
It would be the sixth Super Bowl title for the team once destined for St. Louis, a task only the Pittsburgh Steelers have been able to accomplish thus far in NFL history. A win over the Philadelphia Eagles would kickstart the 11th victory parade to wind the streets of downtown Boston since 2002, a 16-year era of title dominance that has made us the envy and target of fans populating other sectors of the American sports landscape. As if you didn’t know.
Yet only once over that same span has New England been able to crow about a pair of teams’ historical markers within the same year; 2004, when the 2003 Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers in that February’s Super Bowl (Title No. 2), which the Red Sox followed up with their first World Series championship in 86 years only eight months later (No. 3).
Maybe 2008 held the most potential for utter dominance, except the 18-0 Patriots gagged in their most important moment, the defending World Series champion Red Sox couldn’t get over the hump of the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS, and the Bruins weren’t quite back into our hearts just yet (although their vibrant opening playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens that year hinted of what might come).
Only the Celtics raised a banner a decade ago (Title No. 6), when three of the four major professional franchises in town were at least knocking on the Duck Tours door. It would take the Bruins three more years (No. 7) to claim the Stanley Cup, seven more for the Patriots to shed a pair of Super Bowl disappointments with a win (No. 9).
There will be men and women graduating from college this spring who were in kindergarten the first time Tom Brady and Bill Belichick led the Patriots to Lombardi. A sixth Super Bowl title?
Cool. Another T-shirt to buy.
But what’s next?
How about proposing that this could be the year, a span of 10 months that has the potential to deliver the first grand slam of championships for any city in American history?
Patriots in February. Bruins and Celtics in June. Red Sox in October.
Has it ever had a better possibility of happening than it does in 2018?
The Patriots are four quarters away from beginning the cycle. Despite some recent bumps, the Celtics are still the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and proved on Saturday night how entertaining — if not maddening — a seven-game series against the Golden State Warriors might be.
The Bruins are only five points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, which will resume the season, post-All-Star break, with an NHL-best 71 points. The Red Sox potentially have the fiercest starting rotation in Major League Baseball. And Mitch Moreland.
The Patriots are 4 1/2-point favorites over the Eagles as we lurch toward the weekend. According to VegasInsider.com, the Celtics face 10:1 odds to win the NBA title, fourth behind the Warriors (1:2), Cleveland Cavaliers (6:1), and Houston Rockets (8:1).
The Bruins are also listed at 10:1, third in the NHL behind only the Lightning (6:1) and surprising expansion Vegas Golden Knights (8:1). Despite not addressing their power issues, managing to only flirt with J.D. Martinez while watching the Yankees pick up Giancarlo Stanton during the offseason, the defining AL East champion Red Sox come in at the same 10:1 odds, sixth-best in baseball behind New York (5:1), the Houston Astros (11:2), Los Angeles Dodgers (6:1), Cleveland Indians (15:2), and Chicago Cubs (9:1).
In other words, get greedy.
Of course, we can debate the true nature of the grand slam seeing as it is the 2017 Patriots that could kick off the title run, not the 2018 edition, but as long as you consider Tiger’s consecutive slam over two years a worthy enterprise, we can still talk.
But this probably isn’t even a discussion that we can truly have until June, should Brad Marchand not get suspended for any more lengthy stretches of time and if Tuukka Rask can go on a postseason run similar to his predecessor in 2011. If the Bruins somehow win what would have been considering an unlikely Stanley Cup back in October, then the pressure is on Kyrie Irving and company. Bring Gordon Hayward back. Whatever it takes.
The Red Sox have time. Maybe with Martinez. Maybe with a possible Rookie of the Year at third base in Rafael Devers. Maybe with a revived, yet disgruntled, David Price playing for free agency. And Mitch Moreland.
Four sports, four titles. Everybody would hate us.
The Super Bowl is only the beginning, the opening to a year that we should expect historical achievements from each corner of our local sports chokehold on the world.
In the conceivable words of Joe Buck on some October evening only months away, while calling the final out of the October Classic “Boston has its slam.”
Anything less at this point is just more of the same.