Top 10 Professional Sports Teams of Arizona
10. Arizona Cardinals
The gods of American football didn’t smile on the Arizona Cardinals until the 2007 season. Dismal finish after dismal finish, the Arizona Cardinals struggled through each season after their promising playoff run in 1998. After almost a decade of posting some of the National Football League’s (NFL) worst records, the Arizona Cardinals suddenly found themselves as playoff contenders in 2007. They eventually finished second in their division as their core group of players continued to improve. The main reason why this team made it to this list is because of their steady rise from bottom dwellers to playoff contenders. Their perseverance may even win them a championship in the years to come if their winning trend continues.
9. Phoenix Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes are relative newcomers in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Coyotes were officially added to the NHL’s team roster in 2001. Immediately, they showed potential as they managed to enter the playoffs during that year. They gave perennial contenders, the San Jose Sharks a good fight as they eventually succumbed to their more experienced rivals. Unfortunately, the Coyotes lost a few key players that paved the way for several underwhelming finishes in the next few years. The Coyotes’ management team decided to acquire the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, as the coach of their team. From there, the Coyotes began to show signs of life as their record steadily improved. In the course of the ongoing 2008 season, they are placed fourth in their division. Now, they look poised to insert themselves in the playoff picture once again.
8. Phoenix Roadrunners
The Phoenix Roadrunners were a struggling team in the NHL as they were far from making the playoffs during their inaugural season in 2005. After several key players were injured, the Roadrunners had their worst record. The following year came as a surprise to the entire team as they made the Division semi-finals. Now, they have a fighting record in the ongoing 2008 season and are threatening to go deeper into the playoffs this year.
7. Tucson Sidewinders
The Tucson Sidewinders ended the 2006 season with the league’s best record and a minor league baseball title. They have faced the odds of a dwindling crowd attendance and the lack of support from their home state but still managed to bring the state championship home. The major leagues have begun to show interest in acquiring the Sidewinders in their roster for their brilliant performance. Unfortunately for the city of Tucson, the Sidewinders are planning to move to a different city by 2009.
6. Arizona Sting
How appropriate is the team name of the Arizona Sting? They have been stinging the competition ever since their inclusion in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). In their 5 year existence in the NLL, they have made it to the playoffs three times and appeared in the NLL Finals twice. Such a dominating start came to a sudden halt in the 2008 season as the team decided to be inactive due to the shortened season. They may not be currently playing, but little do their rivals know that they are gearing up for the championship next season.
5. Arizona Sundogs
The Arizona Sundogs are the newest team in the Central Hockey League (CHL) and they aren’t too bashful about making an impact in the league. Included in the league’s official team roster in 2006, the Sundogs immediately raced to a decent finish during their debut season. The year after, they managed to make it to the CHL playoffs and gave the New Mexico Scorpions a seven-game scare. The 2008 season looks even more promising for the Sundogs as they hope to grab their first championship in only their third year in the CHL.
4. Phoenix Suns
With a plethora of hall of famers and numerous good finishes, the Phoenix Suns is one of the most competitive teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Reaching the playoffs hasn’t been too hard for the Suns as they constantly made it past the first round since 1988. They appeared in the NBA Finals in the 1992-1993 season, but lost to the Chicago Bulls led by the great Michael Jordan. Twelve years after, the Suns find themselves back in the title chase as they managed to grab the triumvirate of Amare Stoudamire, Shawn Marion and two-time most valuable player award winner, Steve Nash. They may have not won the NBA Championship, but with the way things are going for this squad, it’s just a matter of time.
3. Phoenix Mercury
It’s a bit surprising to see the women’s basketball squad of Phoenix faring better than their male counterparts. The Phoenix Mercury may not have been as consistent as the Phoenix Suns when it comes to playoff appearances, but they have done something that the Suns never have, winning a league championship. In 2007, the Mercury dominated the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) en route to their very first championship. Having their core players intact, they are poised to once again grab the WNBA title in the coming 2008 season.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks is a perennial force in Major League Baseball (MLB). Through the years, the Diamondbacks enjoyed consistent playoff success and a World Series championship as they fielded two of the finest players in the league. They had consistent hitter Luis Gonzales and perhaps one of the finest pitchers that MLB has ever seen, Randy Johnson. The Diamondbacks eventually traded both baseball greats in favor of younger players. Call it a stroke of luck, but the team managed to grab a talented bunch of young athletic players. Just when everyone started to doubt the chances of Diamondbacks entering the playoffs, their young players performed and led them to the second round of the playoffs. If this team maintains its main core of players, they’re bound to grab at least one championship this decade.
1. Arizona Rattlers
For a little known team, the Arizona Rattlers has been pretty impressive. This team takes the number one slot in this list due to the fact that they have been dominant ever since their inclusion in the Arena Football League (AFL). For the past two decades, they have been consistently reaching the national finals of the AFL and have won themselves a couple of championships. The Rattlers immediately barged into playoff contention in only their second year in the league in 1993. The following year they went on to grab their very first Arena Bowl. From there, the Rattlers went on to become consistent title contenders as they booked themselves a slot in the playoffs in almost every year. They appeared in the Arena Bowl four more times and grabbed another championship in 1997.
Arizonan sports teams have displayed exemplary finishes in both the minor and major leagues of various sports. Some of them may have not won a lot of championships but they have been consistently competitive throughout each season. At the rate that some of these teams are going, it’s just a matter of time before they become household names in their respective sports.
If the thrill and drama of sports is what keeps you hooked on your athletic Arizonians, then you’ll surely enjoy our list of the The Ten Most Explosive Boxing Knockouts in History.