The Red Sox dominated baseball in 2018, finished with the most single-season wins in team history, and ultimately won the World Series in five games over the National League’s champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Scarcely three months later, the Patriots defeated the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3, 2019, and Boston hosted a second championship parade.
Three months after the Super Bowl, the Celtics and the Bruins are playing in their respective playoff runs.
It is no longer a question of how far a single team might take its title dreams. It’s whether all four of the city’s teams may win their league’s title in a one-year-long timespan.
The feat has never been accomplished before by four teams in any one city. In anticipation of that possibility, here is a look at the four times Boston came closest to utter sports dominance:
On Oct. 28, 2007, the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the World Series when Jonathan Papelbon struck out Seth Smith swinging. The Red Sox captured their second World Series title since 1918 just three years after the 86-year title drought ended in 2004.
Earlier that day, the Patriots scored 52 points against the Redskins for the eighth victory of their 16-0 season. Tom Brady and Randy Moss set single-season records in 2007 for most touchdown passes (50) and touchdown catches (23) and charged their way to the Super Bowl. The Patriots appeared destined to become the second NFL team to boast a perfect season.
Destiny was undermined by Eli Manning, David Tyree, and the scrappy New York Giants, but the Patriots’ 18-1 season stands among the best ever.
That spring, it was the Celtics’ turn. Danny Ainge had added stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in blockbuster offseason deals and the Celtics won the third-most games in franchise history, winning the NBA Finals in six games against rival Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
The Bruins were the one team lost in the shuffle during the 2007-08 season. They made the 2008 NHL playoffs but were eliminated in Game 7 of the first round by the Canadiens.
All four teams made the playoffs in 2004, but the Celtics and Bruins were both eliminated by April 25 of that year. The Celtics were swept by the Indiana Pacers, and the Bruins crumbled against the Canadiens late in the first-round series.
On April 25, 2004, the Red Sox beat the Yankees 12-6 at Yankee Stadium and held a 1.5 game lead on the AL East. The Sox remained in close competition for the division league through May 2004 but ultimately fell behind, drawing into the playoffs through the wild card instead. That October, the Sox orchestrated a reverse-sweep against the Yankees in the ALCS and swept the Cardinals in the World Series, breaking an 86-year title drought.
The celebration continued into winter when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles, completing three Super Bowl wins in four years for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
The Celtics fell in six games to the Knicks in the NBA Playoffs’ first round in spring 2013, but the other three Boston teams each played deep into the postseason.
The Bruins won Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in a dramatic comeback that ended in overtime and found an easy path afterward to the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks. They met their match in Chicago, though, and lost in heartbreaking fashion in six games.
The Red Sox were able to win Boston a championship in the 2013 World Series, spearheaded by David Ortiz’s MVP performance and shutdown pitching from Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Koji Uehara.
The Patriots amassed a 12-4 regular season record in 2013 and played their way into the AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos, but were beat by a Peyton Manning-led team.
1985-86 is the only other time period in which three of the four teams appeared in their league’s championship. Unlike 2007-08, though, only the Celtics walked away with a victory.
The Patriots made their first-ever Super Bowl appearance on Jan. 26, 1986, to culminate the NFL’s 1985 season. Unfortunately for them, they played the ’85 Bears, who trounced the Patriots 46-10 on their way to an 18-1 season record.
The Bruins made the 1986 NHL playoffs after placing third in the Adams Division but were swept in the first round by the Canadiens.
The Celtics won Boston’s only championship during this time frame, defeating the Houston Rockets in the 1986 NBA Finals in six games. It was the Celtics’ third NBA title in six seasons, third consecutive NBA Finals appearance, and last title before they won again in 2008.
The Red Sox’ near-miss was the last of Boston’s attempts to capture titles in 1986. They played the Mets in the World Series, and what seemed like a sure Red Sox victory was thwarted by Bill Buckner’s error that allowed the Mets to win Game 6. The Sox could not recover from the late-series rally and dropped Game 7, too.