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Streaking: How important are streaks to professional sports?

Published 11:21am Thursday, March 28, 2013

After giving it a shot, the Miami Heat fell to the Chicago Bulls 101-97 Wednesday evening ending their chance at breaking the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers 33 game winning streak, resulting in their first loss in 28 games.

This got me to thinking. What are the most important streaks in professional sports and do they really mean anything?

First off, you need to establish which streak is considered the most important in that respected sports.

In football, the 1972 Miami Dolphins undefeated season is considered the pinnacle of the sport, while baseball touts the individual record of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak.

Professional hockey has several different streaks that can be included for importance. This season’s Chicago Blackhawks set the bar for most consecutive points steak with 24 games, but that pales in comparison to the 10 straight Stanley Cup finals appearances by the Montreal Canadians from 1951-60.

But do streaks mean that your team will end the season holding the league trophy?

The 2007-08 season looked to be magical for the New England Patriots as they took a 18-0 record into Super Bowl XLII, but the New York Giants pulled a huge upset beating the Patriots 17-14.

The 1916 New York Giants hold the record for most consecutive wins during the regular season with 26, but did not make an appearance in the World Series.

Then their is the other end of the spectrum. When a streak isn’t a good thing, but something that lets you know how long or bad a team or individual has been.

The Boston Red Sox lived most of the 20th century under the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ before finally breaking through to win the Worlds Series in 2004.

The Chicago Cubs are still under the spell of a goat and continue to try to break through.

The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold a record of being the only team to lose every game in an season, going 0-16 in 1976.

The Bucs are also holders of another interesting streak, as they were unable to win a game that was played in below 40 degree weather. The Bucs had were 0-20 in such games until defeating the Chicago Bears in 2002.

These type of records teams hope someone will break, while the others measure a certain level of prestige.

In my opinion, streaks can set the precedent for greatness, but it doesn’t guarantee the results. In the end, the reigning champion Heat team will probably once again raise the Larry O’Brien trophy over the heads and celebrate back-to-back championships.

Let the new streak begin.

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