For the last 10 years, Boston experienced the proudest era in its sports history. Apart from the Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in June, Boston teams seem to have suffered much worse luck of late.
In fact, the most memorable images for the region's other three major sports teams from the last five years involve mostly blown opportunities and drooped heads.
The first bad news in years came Feb. 3, 2008, when the previously undefeated Patriots failed to close the deal on Eli Manning's final drive in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants' victory marked Tom Brady's first loss in the big game and left a permanent black mark against what otherwise would have been considered the greatest team in NFL history.
It took more than two years for two more heartbreaking moments to happen within 35 days of each other.
Bruins fans were giddy on May 5, 2010, when their team took a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Some dared to imagine the team's first championship in 38 years. When the Flyers stole Game 4, few worried. But when the B's failed to clinch in Game 5 or Game 6, the Bruins started to sweat. The Game 7 loss was one of the most painful ever, though it was somewhat lessened by 2011's title run.
Celtics fans have not been so lucky in the aftermath of their team's crumble, which happened a little more than a month after the Bruins were toppled. As the fourth quarter wound down in Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17, 2010, the Celtics appeared capable of securing their 18th championship. But a 3-pointer by Ron Artest and an uncalled over-the-back foul as Rajon Rondo went for a rebound contributed to the Lakers' comeback.
With those disappointments in mind, September 2011 needs no introduction. The Red Sox failing to make the postseason after holding a nine-game lead over the Rays in the wild-card standings on Sept. 3 was one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. The depression was made worse by the fact that the 2011 Red Sox were predicted by several experts to be possibly the best team ever.
From 2001 to 2011, Boston collected seven championships in the four major sports. It seems like the happiest place on earth from afar, but it sure doesn't feel that way right now.
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