Teams that couldn't

By Anthony Rhoads

The Buffalo Bills. The Brooklyn Dodgers. The Boston Red Sox. And the Atlanta Braves.

The Bills in the early 1990s were one of the most dominant teams in the National Football League and will certainly go down in history as one of the most blessed teams ever when it came to pure talent. They definitely were talent-laden with guys like Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Bruce Smith and Darryl Talley.

But they will be forever known as the team that lost four straight Super Bowls. They won't be remembered as a team that won four straight AFC championships and as a team that went to four straight Super Bowls but they will be remembered as losers.

They definitely weren't losers and they definitely had heart. They showed how tough they were in 1993 when they overcame a 32-point deficit to beat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime to win the AFC championship.

From 1939-57, the Brooklyn Dodgers were constant contenders. They won seven National League pennants and finished third or better in the final standings every year except for one season (1944 when they finished seventh).

But for all their success, the Dodgers could not get over the hump until 1955. That year, they finally beat the hated New York Yankees to win the World Series.

Which baseball team is more ?cursed,' the Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs? That's debatable but I once heard that Red Sox fans and Cubs fans both feel pain but it's a different kind of pain.

Things might be changing for the Cubs now, but for years Cubs fans went through season after season following their ?lovable losers' knowing that they are out of contention. There were flashes of glory here and there when the Cubs won division titles in 1984 and 1989 but for the most part, the history of the Cubs has been marked by losing.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have been close several times and have been contenders throughout the years. They've had bad seasons here and there but they haven't been cellar dwellers year after year.

They've won division titles, American League pennants and have clinched wild card playoff spots but have not won the World Series since 1918. That year they were led by Babe Ruth, who was later traded to the Yankees and the ?Curse of the Bambino' was born.

In recent years, the Red Sox have almost become experts at being second. Heading into this season, Boston has finished second in the American East six times in a row.

The Atlanta Braves know a little about finishing second. They've won 12 straight division titles but they haven't won it all since 1995 when they beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

Winning 12 straight titles beats the heck out of what the Braves were doing from 1985-90 when they last in the division four times and next-to-last twice.

Winning 12 division championships is an accomplishment; to be able to play at that level for an extended amount of time takes a lot of hard work and talent. But winning a division championship or even a league pennant isn't the same as winning the World Series.

I just hope the Braves can get things together and win another World Series. The way things are going now, the Braves are well on their way to becoming the National League version of the Boston Red Sox.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at sports@news-daily.com or arhoads@news-daily.com.