After a Dazzling Decade in New England, It’s Time to Hand Out Some Awards

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After a Dazzling Decade in New England, It's Time to Hand Out Some Awards Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we fretted over Y2K computer malfunctions. The end of the decade is here, and with it comes a time to take stock at what happened during the previous 10-year span.

Speaking of which, is anyone else having a problem naming the previous decade? Some called it "The Aughts,” but that was used 100 years ago. What about "The ‘Tweens" — you know, that pre-teen period we all lived through?

Obviously, it was a remarkable decade for Boston sports fans. We saw six major championships won by our teams, including three Super Bowl victories, two World Series titles, and an NBA championship. We also saw two NCAA Division I hockey championships at the end of the decade, something I am compelled to mention as NESN’s college hockey play-by-play voice.

Here are my end-of-decade awards for Boston sports, aka the Best of the ‘Tweens:

Executive of the ‘Tweens
Danny Ainge, Celtics
With two swift moves, he turned a woeful team into a group of NBA champions. You’re not supposed to turn an NBA team around that quickly, but somehow Ainge managed to do it by acquiring Ray Allen and then Kevin Garnett. He has the Celtics poised to contend for another championship to start the new decade.

Team of the ‘Tweens
New England Patriots
By winning three Super Bowls and coming oh-so-close to a fourth (and a perfect season), the Pats established themselves as the NFL’s model franchise. They are once again in contention to start the pre-teen portion of the next decade with another championship, finishing strong in an AFC that seems wide open. 

Transformation of the ‘Tweens

Boston Red Sox 
This was a team that began the decade in the midst of an 86-year championship drought. Now, two titles later, the Red Sox are arguably the top franchise in the game. From the top down, the Olde Towne Team has been reinvigorated and has been to the postseason in six of the past seven years. The Sox enter the new decade a little lean on offense (especially now that Jason Bay is headed to New York) but have a pitching staff that can rival anyone’s.

Best Moment of the ‘Tweens
2004 World Series

Tough one to say, but I’m giving the Red Sox' title the slight edge over the 2001 Super Bowl win. Both had incredible wins to set up an appearance in the finals (the Sox win over the Yankees, the Pats’ win in the Snow Bowl) but it was the Red Sox that set church bells ringing throughout the region.

Worst Moment of the ‘Tweens
Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning of Game 7 in the 2003 ALCS
It would cost him his job, and would be a much more painful memory if not for the band of idiots who made us forget about it all a year later.

Best Home Victory of the ‘Tweens
The Celtics' Game 6 win over the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals

After all, the Pats had won three Super Bowls in neutral-site locations, and the Red Sox had won World Series in St. Louis and Colorado. KG and company were the only team to win it all here in Boston.

It was an incredible decade for a sports town that had gone through 15 years without a championship in the four major sports. Now, we have moved on from hope to expectation, and there is plenty of it to begin the next decade. It all starts with a hockey game at Fenway Park — perhaps the ultimate symbol of team cooperation in what has become the Ultimate Sports Town in America.

Happy new year!

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