Bay Area Team Power Rankings
Living in the Bay Area provides one with a plethora of options: places to live, places to eat, places to work and bridges to cross. It also gives one many options in regards to which sports team (or teams) to claim as “your team”. In total, there are 6 professional teams in Northern California – the Warriors, 49ers, Raiders, Giants, A’s and Sharks (I guess you’d have to count the Earthquakes too…but I doubt many of you are MLS fans). Up until 2010 with the Giants, the Bay Area had been championship-starved since 1995 when the 49ers won the Super Bowl. With many of the teams now starting to make noise in their respective leagues, it lead me to wonder, which team is the top team in the Bay Area now?
There are a few things to consider when trying to come up with these rankings.
- How well is the team doing?
- Is there a buzz about the team in the Bay Area?
- How do the fans feel about the team?
With that, I’d like to debut my Bay Area Sports Team Power Rankings (I’ve always wanted to do power rankings).
1) San Francisco 49ers
For the first time since 1997, the 49ers will be playing in the NFC Championship game this Sunday. The Niners have quite frankly taken not only the Bay Area by surprise, but the entire country. Before the season started, no one had this team in the playoffs, much less one win away from the Super Bowl. Under rookie coach Jim Harbaugh, the Niners defense has spent the entire season stifling every offense that has crossed their path. Alex Smith has come out of nowhere to become what many thought he would never be – a decent quarterback.
While many fans are hopping on the Red and Gold bandwagon (I’ve seen a lot of brand new jerseys and hats lately), the true Faithful know that the NFC Championship game is not enough. They want to be back where the Niners of the 80′s were and watch their team hoist the Lombardi trophy for the 6th time in team history. The gold rush is back.
2) San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have been the model of consistency over the past few years in the Bay Area. They have made the playoffs every year since 2006 and have often showed that they are one of the best teams in hockey. While their regular season success is well documented, their success in the playoffs is what prevents them from being even more popular in the Bay. Hockey itself is not all that popular and most sports fans don’t really start paying attention to the Sharks until playoff time rolls around.
The constant playoff disappointment has made many disregard anything the Sharks have accomplished during the regular season. While that is understandable, they have been one of the only (if not THE only) team in Northern California to provide any sort of winning environment consistently. They have continued that trend this season posting a record of 26-12 (57 points) placing them first in the Pacific division and 3rd in the Western Conference. More than likely, the Sharks bandwagon will make it’s usual stops come May but fans need to quit taking this team for granted and appreciate the wins they are able to rack up.
3) San Francisco Giants
The Giants are coming off a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs a year after winning it all and bringing San Francisco its first World Series Championship. Pitching remains this teams strength with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong and Zito as the likely starting rotation. This staff has shown the ability to dominate and is able to keep the Giants in games and in the running to win the division. However, the offense remains extremely questionable.
This offseason has been relatively quiet with general manager Brian Sabean bringing in a few cheap names (Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera) and refusing to make a huge splash to improve their anemic offense. While they will be getting back Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez (2 of the teams better hitters who were lost due to injury last season), the Giants still lack the pop in their lineup to make them a baseball powerhouse. They will likely go into this season with the roster they currently have and try to win with the same formula they have used over the past few seasons: dominate with pitching and then cross their fingers that a runner is in scoring position when someone eventually gets a hit.
The biggest fans of “torture” seem to be the Giants front office. They’ll definitely get more of that this season.
4) Golden State Warriors
The Warriors entered this season with optimism basically coming out of their pores. New head coach Mark Jackson has been preaching defense and the playoffs from his introductory press conference and we have been able to see flashes of the Warriors improvement on defense. The optimism seemed to peak when the Warriors looked to be in the running to acquire Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler. After neither of those came to fruition, the Warriors appeared to be doomed to repeat their losing ways despite promises of change from their head coach.
Wins against the Bulls, Knicks and Heat looked to spark the optimism yet again but that was quickly diminished by a troublesome ankle that has kept point guard Stephen Curry out of the lineup for the past 8 games. They have just completed a 2-2 road trip in which they could have potentially gone 3-1 had they not lost to the Nets on Wednesday night.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Mark Jackson regrets his playoff guarantee. It’s still early, but it appears that the Bay Area’s lone basketball team will be watching from home yet again come April.
5) Oakland Raiders
The Raiders had quite the interesting season. Long time owner and overhead projector expert, Al Davis passed away early in the season. They looked to be coasting to a division title in the AFC West with Darren McFadden running wild on every defense that lined up in opposition. And then they were hit by 2 things that all football teams fear: injuries and Tim Tebow. Despite all that, the Raiders were still in the hunt when their 16th game came around. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize and it allowed the Tebows to advance to the playoffs.
Following the season, they hired Reggie McKenzie to be their general manager. He promptly fired coach Hue Jackson leaving the Raiders currently coach-less. They are entering next season with more questions and uncertainty (something they should be used to by now). The 49ers were able to break their playoff-less streak. Can the Raiders follow suit?
6) Oakland Athletics
Yes, the A’s are at the bottom of this list. Disagree? Well think about this:
1) The A’s treat their players like guests from out of state. They treat them well while they’re here, but the minute they can get rid of them, they do. I’m fairly certain that the names on the lockers in the clubhouse are written on a dry erase board.
2) No one shows up to the games. You could hide a million dollar briefcase in center field and no one would find it.
3) Half of the country actually thinks Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill work in the front office.
4) Name me 5 A’s without using Google. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
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