Nashville has opportunity to win its first major professional sports title – The Tennessean
Have the Predators finally figured out Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray? It sure looked like it in Game 4. The Predators tie the series 2-2 with another win at home.
Ayrika Whitney/USA TODAY NETWORK
Tennessean writers Joe Rexrode and Adam Vingan breakdown the Predators 4 – 1 game 4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final
Prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday, the NHL brought out hockey great Wayne Gretzky to talk about his 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers. But it was NBA legend Charles Barkley who stole the show.
Mike Organ/The Tennessean
With all of Nashville behind them, the Predators dominated Game 3 to win their first ever Stanley Cup Final game.
USA TODAY Sports
Nashville goes crazy for its Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean
Kevin Allen, Adam Vingan and Joe Rexrode analyze game two of the Stanley Cup Final
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean, Adam Vingan / USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee
Billy Ray Cyrus sings as the Stanley Cup comes to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville on May 31.
Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean
Jacob Waddell all so known as Catfish Jake talks about the event surrounding him being charged with misconduct at the Mondays Predator game
Lacy Atkins/USA Today Network – Tennessee
A fan threw a catfish onto the ice in Pittsburgh during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Pittsburgh police have charged him with three crimes, and the social media world has reacted with vigor.
Jon Garcia / USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Tennessean writers Adam Vingan and Joe Rexrode breakdown game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Predators and Penguins
George Walker IV / The Tennessean
Predators fans go wild after team scores goal late in the 3rd period of 6-3 win over Ducks to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Shelley Mays / The Tennessean
On May 24, 2007, the Predators’ frustrated owner announced he intended to sell the team to a Canadian billionaire. Ten years later, the Preds are about to play in their first Stanley Cup Final.
Karen Grigsby / USA TODAY – Tennessee
Since 2003, Nashville Predators fans have thrown catfish on the ice at Bridgestone Arena.
Autumn Allison/USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
Tennessee Titans support Nashville Predators as they try to win the Stanley Cup.
George Walker IV / The Tennessean
Artist Audie Adams talks about painting the smash car for the playoff games.
Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean
Fan reaction outside Bridgestone Arena
Kirk A. Bado
Austin and Colin’s video hyping up the Nashville Predators in the NHL playoffs
Austin and Colin
Loyal as they are loud, this section in the nosebleeds of Bridgestone Arena has earned international fame for their ability to electrify a Nashville Predators crowd.
Jessica Bliss / The Tennessean
Predators fan beg to flip the Blues Smash Car after the Predators win the second round NHL Playoff series 4 game to 2 at Bridgestone Arena.
George Walker / USA Today Network Tennessee
Nashville Predators fans celebrate as their team defeats the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history on Sunday, May 7, 2017.
Dave Ammenheuser and Jessica Bliss / The Tennessean
NBC sports analyst Mike Milbury calls P.K. Subban a clown during warm ups. During interview with USA Today Network Tennessee columnist Joe Rexrode he says he wishes he had something different.
Courtesy of NBC Sports
New York owns 53. Boston has 35. Los Angeles claims 25.
Heck, even Phoenix and Atlanta each have one.
Nashville? Zero — a number that could change next week.
One of the few missing achievements on our city’s growing and impressive resume is the lack of a major professional sports championship.
Yes, the Nashville Sounds won the Triple-A Pacific Coast League baseball championship in 2005; the Nashville Dixie Flyers won back-to-back minor league hockey titles in 1966-67.
But Nashville has never won a championship in a major sports league.
Of the country’s 33 metro areas with two or more professional sports franchises, all but four have won a championship. Buffalo, Charlotte and Orlando and Nashville are the only cities never to raise a championship banner.
That would change if the Predators claim the Stanley Cup.
“People in Nashville are completely invested in (the Predators), although they don’t receive any tangible benefit from it,” said Andrei Markovits, professor of political science at the University of Michigan. “It’s a form of religion. It’s a form of pride. A form of culture.”
Mayor Megan Barry said the Predators’ postseason success and possible Stanley Cup championship has elicited more than just pride from the city.
“The energy and excitement surrounding the Predators’ historic success is truly amazing — it has brought together the city like few things I have ever seen before,” Barry said. “Whether you were a hockey fan or Preds fan before the playoffs, I think everyone is rooting for our team to bring the Cup home to Nashville. The positive press and the expansion of the Predators’ fan base to other parts of the country will surely help to add a new dimension to Nashville’s success as a tourist destination and a major player in professional sports.”
Markovits said sports titles can give not only die-hard fans, but casual fans, a psychological lift.
“What’s interesting about sports, you really feel an added bounce in your step,” he said. “Although you have not gotten prettier, you haven’t gotten healthier.”
And it allows politicians to brag about their sports teams and their cities on an international stage.
Cleveland ended a 68-year pro title drought when the Cavaliers won the NBA title in 2016, and that changed the psyche of the city, Mayor Frank J. Jackson said.
“The strength and determination displayed throughout the season, postseason and championship game are truly the embodiment of our city and its people. A city and a people with heart,” Jackson said.
Boston has been spoiled in recent years, winning nine championships since 2000 — five Super Bowl wins by the Patriots, three World Series titles by the Red Sox and one Stanley Cup by the Bruins.
“Win or lose, Boston never stops believing in our sports teams, and that makes winning championships worth it all,” Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh said.
Markovits said the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Nashville Predators all have one major thing in common.
“Everyone loves the underdogs,” he said. “I am rooting for the Predators.”
That coveted first championship is two wins away. And then Buffalo, Charlotte and Orlando would be alone with none.
Reach Dave Ammenheuser at 615-259-8352 and on Twitter @NashSportsEd.
Title (and title-less) towns
Metro areas with the most major professional sports championships:
- New York: 53
- Boston: 35
- Los Angeles: 26
- Chicago: 20
- San Francisco Bay area: 18
- Detroit: 18
Metro areas (with two or more teams) without a professional sports championship:
- Buffalo, Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando