Championships. It’s what we crave as sports fans and what we measure our teams by. The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, but none in the last 20 years. The Stars filled a huge void in the Dallas sports scene with a Stanley Cup in 1999. The Mavericks finally broke through in 2011. The Rangers came so close in 2011, themselves, but then… No, we’re not going to rehash Game Six at St. Louis again.
Most of our teams have been winning a lot over the last few years. But which team is in the best shape to make a run and win the next title in DFW?
Year-in and year-out, the Mavericks are easily the team in our area that you can count on for winning, and winning a lot. They’ve won 50-or-more games in 12 of the last 15 years, setting a standard that they live up to every year, no matter what the roster looks like.
Yet they’re probably the furthest of the big-four Dallas teams in winning a title, which is too bad, especially with Dirk at the end of his playing career. There are several reasons for this; well, three in the Western Conference alone. You think anyone is competing for the conference title besides Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City? Think again. Then there’s the inconvenient but true fact that the Mavericks have never really drafted well since Dirk came along. Seriously, most of their talent has come via free agency and trades. At some point it’s going to catch up with them. Maybe it has. Cause they aren’t competing for a title again soon. But, at least they’ll win 50 games.
One Collar Bone Away?
How about the Cowboys? A year ago right now, we were all picking them to win the division and compete for the NFC. Then Tony Romo’s left clavicle decided to crack. Twice.
The truth is that the Cowboys’ desperately missed Bill Callahan coaching the offensive line, they had no horse in the backfield once DeMarco Murray left, and it’s clear they need another wide receiver to compliment Dez Bryant.
Are they close? Yes – to competing. Simply because they will be in the running in the NFC East once again. Get in the tournament and anything can happen. Just ask the Broncos.
Well, They Do Have the Best Record
What about the Stars? They currently lead the Central Division and the Western Conference with 37 wins and 80 points with 24 games left. Dallas boasts two of the best young players in the league in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and a roster that is balanced and dangerous.
But this is the NHL, where it is not odd to see a number-seven or eight seed go deep into the playoffs and maybe even win the Stanley Cup (see the 2012 LA Kings). What that boils down to is this – the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the hardest post-season to navigate, no matter how strong a team is. It comes down to special teams and goaltending, which the Stars do have. But winning 16 games in the post-season is quite a challenge. The best news is that we’ll see what they are made of in about two months.
Built to Win
Then there’s the Texas Rangers, who deserved a better fate than the last time we saw them in that heartbreaking Game Five in Toronto. That team would have given the Royals a run for their money in the ALCS and certainly the Mets in a possible World Series.
The Cole Hamels trade was genius on so many levels, the main reason being that he’s under contract for the next two seasons. Thus, the Rangers open 2016 with an ace that is ready to go. Add in Yu Darvish returning to action (knock on wood) after Tommy John surgery, and Derek Holland having a healthy campaign (double knock on wood), and you have a formidable stable of starting pitching.
Now, can Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre repeat another successful campaign? Can Elvis Andrus prove that his three-error seventh inning in Toronto was an anomaly? And will we ever see Jurickson Profar play again?
The answers to most of these are yes, which makes the Rangers the best bets as the next Metroplex team to win a championship.