With the current state of the NFL and NBA labor deals, there is a possibility that one or both of the leagues will not have games this season. That brings up an interesting scenario, in cities where there is one of each team, which would the fan base miss more?
In today’s world, fandom is no longer regional. For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume the fans are loyal to their city alone.
The following list is in alphabetical order
Boston Celtics vs. New England Patriots
This is probably the toughest choice on this list. Both teams have a championship pedigree and are considered among the favorites to win it all next season. They are also aging teams whose window is quickly closing. Will Boston fans want Brady and Belichick to win another Lombardi to solidify their respective places among the greatest of all time, or do they think that the Celtics Big 3 need another ring to avoid the comparison to the Bobby Cox Braves, perennial winners who could only win it all once.
My Choice: Celtics – The Big 3 need another ring.
Charlotte Bobcats vs. Carolina Panthers
The Bobcats missed out on the playoffs by 3 games. Panthers won 2 games and had the #1 overall pick that they used to select QB Cam Newton.
My Choice: Panthers – Nothing electrifies a fan base like a number one overall pick quarterback. Question is, will he be motivated to play at a high level now that he has taken a pay cut coming out of Auburn.
Chicago Bulls vs. Chicago Bears
Both teams are coming off seasons where they lost their conference championship and both could have similar success next season. Both teams also had their key player fail them when it mattered most, one because of injury and one because of a stifling defense.
My Choice: Bulls – Some Bears fans still believe Cutler asked out of the biggest game of his career and it’ll be hard to put their eggs in his basket. Rose had a bad series, but you have to believe his game is still developing and he will make adjustments.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Cleveland Browns
Who is hated more, LeBron James or Art Modell?
My Choice: Cavs – Tonight’s #1 pick, most likely Kyrie Irving, provides hope.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Dallas Cowboys
Reigning NBA Champions vs “America’s Team”. Which billionaire do the Dallas fans throw their money behind?
My Choice: Mavs – Nowitzki and Romo were in the same boat. Dirk upgraded his to a yacht while Romo stayed behind in the canoe. Fans have so much confidence in Dirk right now, they are trying to figure out if he can play quarterback.
Denver Nuggets vs. Denver Broncos
Despite trading away Carmelo, the Nuggets didn’t fall apart and were playing well before getting booted by the Thunder in the playoffs. Broncos went 4-12 but have Tim Tebow, the most exciting back up in NFL history.
My Choice: Broncos – In Tebow We Trust
Detroit Pistons vs. Detroit Lions
Two teams headed in the opposite direction. Is this the season the Lions finally put it together?
My Choice: Lions – Megatron and Suh will carry this team to the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors vs. Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers
Both Bay Area football teams have been going through lean times. All three teams have new coaches. An analyst, a puppet for a crazy owner and the hottest college coach all vying for the attention of a fan base starved for a winner.
My Choice: Raiders/Niners – Unless the Warriors get Dwight Howard for Monta Ellis, which is less likely than Tom Brady suiting up for San Fran.
Houston Rockets vs. Houston Texans
If Yao can return, the Rockets could make it into the bottom half of the playoff bracket in the Western Conference. The Texans have Arian Foster, who surprised everybody last year and Wade Phillips takes over the defensive coordinator duties.
My Choice: Texans, much like the Lions, could this be the year they finally break through?
Indiana Pacers vs. Indianapolis Colts
Pacers had a nice run and even took 2 games from the Bulls in the first round under Frank Vogel, but the Colts still have Peyton Manning.
My Choice: Colts – Manning. Enough Said.
Miami Heat vs Miami Dolphins
Considering the Dolphins have been around a lot longer than any of the other pro teams, they are the kings of South Florida, all this despite being the only team that hasn’t made it to the championship in the last 20 years (Panthers included). The Heat are the favorites to win it all next year while the Dolphins have Henne.
My Choice: Heat – Fans aren’t giving up a year of the Big 3’s prime.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Minnesota Vikings
Rubio-mania hits the land of 1000 point guards while the Vikings have Christian Ponder as their quarterback of the future. High expectations for both, question is who responds?
My Choice: Vikings – Do the T-Wolves actually have fans?
New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks vs. New York Jets and New York Giants
The Nets will be moving to Brooklyn and have a new Russian Billionaire owner, but they don’t have the fan base the other three teams have. The Giants are the only team to have actually won anything recently but all three fan bases think they can win it all. The Knicks will be improved, especially if they score a point guard, while the Giants continue to be one of the better teams in the NFC. The Jets though, are the team with the best chance to win it all next season, so NFL stays in the Big Apple.
My Choice: Jets and Giants – Knicks are not as good as their fans would have you believe.
Orlando Magic vs. Tampa Bay
Not sure if this even a share fan base. Tampa is on the way up, Orlando is in a holding pattern until the Dwight Howard Saga is settled.
My Choice: Florida Gators.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Philadelphia Eagles
Sixers played well last season under Doug Collins while the Eagles expect another playoff run with Michael Vick at the helm. If he can repeat what he did last season, they will be in the mix to win the NFC.
My Choice: Eagles. We will see if the NFL’s halfway house takes in Plaxico as a target for Vick.
Phoenix Suns vs. Arizona Cardinals
I had to Google Arizona Cardinals quarterback. Never good. They have Larry Fitzgerald and according to John Brenkus of ESPN Sport Science, John Skelton has all the tools to be a starter. The Suns might trade Steve Nash.
My Choice: Cardinals, but not by much.
Washington Wizards vs. Washington Redskins
Two teams full of crazy people. Too bad they don’t count crazy in the standings.
My Choice: Don’t think anybody will notice either team taking a year off.
Hopefully these folks will be able to put their differences aside and save the seasons. According to sources, the NFL is close to an agreement, so here is hoping the NBA follows suit.