Which teams have pulled off three-peats in North American pro sports?


It’s hard enough to repeat in pro sports, but to three-peat? Well, that puts you in rare territory, one so impressive we had to invent a whole new word for it. Who is in this rarified air? These are the professional sports teams from major sports leagues in North America that have achieved a three-peat. Note that we said “professional.” College sports are not covered here.

 

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1936-1939 New York Yankees

1936-1939 New York Yankees

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The Babe Ruth era Yankees never won more than two titles in a row. After he retired, the team went out and won four straight. For the first three, Murderers Row member Lou Gehrig was still around, but he sadly had to retire in the middle of the 1939 season due to complications from ALS. Joe DiMaggio was there for all four titles, though.

 

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1949-1953 New York Yankees

1949-1953 New York Yankees

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Four titles in a row is amazing, but it wasn’t enough for the Yankees. A decade later, they went out and won five-straight MLB titles. Sure, there weren’t as many teams in the league back then, but it’s still incredible to win for half a decade. Yogi Berra was on all five squads, with Joe DiMaggio bowing out midway through the run and passing the torch to Mickey Mantle.

 

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1972-1974 Oakland Athletics

1972-1974 Oakland Athletics

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Suddenly, the A’s became unstoppable in the 1970s. In 1972 they won their first title since 1930 when the franchise was still in Philadelphia. They didn’t want to wait very long for the next couple. While the Oakland squads maybe lack the legendary names of the Yankee squads of yore, Oakland is the only team other than the Bronx Bombers to threepeat in MLB.

 

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1998-2000 New York Yankees

1998-2000 New York Yankees

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Like we said, only the Athletics have pulled off a threepeat other than the Yankees. Thanks to the hard work of George Costanza, the Yankees became the dominant force in baseball once again at the end of the 2000s. That final title was the famous Subway Series against the Mets. In 2001, New York came close to a fourth-straight championship but were upset by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

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1952-1954 Minneapolis Lakers

1952-1954 Minneapolis Lakers

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Ah, a time when the name “Lakers” made geographic sense for the franchise. The NBA in the 1950s was weird. There were only a handful of teams, and it wasn’t until the 1955 season that the NBA introduced the 24-second shot clock and limited the number of fouls a team could commit per quarter before going into the penalty. George Mikan retired after the 1954 title, and the Lakers dynasty went with him.

 

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1959-1966 Boston Celtics

1959-1966 Boston Celtics

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No NBA team has ever dominated since the Celtics of the 1960s. They won a whopping eight titles in a row. Even in a lesser era of basketball, that’s incredible. Bill Russell is, of course, the face of these teams, with his formidable defense and rebounding leading the way for a true force of nature on the court.

 

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1991-1993 Chicago Bulls

1991-1993 Chicago Bulls

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For decades, no team could threepeat in the NBA. Not even Pat Riley’s Lakers, the team for which the term “three-peat” was coined. What did it take for an NBA team to win three in a row? Oh, just arguably the greatest player in NBA history. It took Michael Jordan a few years to win his first title, but after he did, Jordan did not let go.

 

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1996-1998 Chicago Bulls

1996-1998 Chicago Bulls

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When we said Jordan didn’t let go, we meant it. The only thing that stopped the Bulls was Jordan stepping away. While MJ was playing baseball, the Rockets won two titles in a row. Then Jordan came back and the Bulls won three more titles in a row.

 

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2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers

2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers

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Finally, the LA Lakers got their threepeat. Shaq and Kobe, along with ‘90s Bulls head coach Phil Jackson, dominated the NBA. There was one year in there where the Lakers only lost a single playoff game en route to the title. There have been some impressive runs since these Lakers, but no three-peats.

 

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1997-2000 Houston Comets

1997-2000 Houston Comets

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A WNBA dynasty was born with the league. The Comets were one of the original eight WNBA teams, and they won the first league title. Then, they won the next three as well. Houston dominated the early days of the WNBA, winning the first four titles. It wouldn’t be until the new millennium that anybody other than the Comets was able to win it all.

 

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1947-1949 Toronto Maple Leafs

1947-1949 Toronto Maple Leafs

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The NHL, famously, only had six teams for a lot of years. These Original Six franchises are part of NHL lore (and also conveniently eschew some franchises that came and went). The first NHL team to hoist the Stanley Cup three times in a row was the Maple Leafs, who did it in the late ‘40s. This included back-to-back sweeps of the Detroit Red Wings in ’48 and ’49.

 

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1956-1960 Montreal Canadiens

1956-1960 Montreal Canadiens

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The Canadiens have not won a Stanley Cup since 1993, but they still have the most Cups of any franchise. A big part of that is the fact the Habs won five titles in a row. Led by head coach Toe Blake, these Montreal teams featured Hall of Famers like Jean Beliveau and, of course, Maurice Richard.

 

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1962-1964 Toronto Maple Leafs

1962-1964 Toronto Maple Leafs

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Just a couple of years after one three-peat, or five-peat as it were, we got another one. Hey, the NHL was only six teams until the 1967 expansion. Speaking of which, the last time the Maple Leafs won a Cup was in 1967, the season before expansion happened. Before that, though, they managed to put together their second three-peat in franchise history.

 

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1976-1979 Montreal Canadiens

1976-1979 Montreal Canadiens

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After winning five Cups in a row, the Canadiens went and won four more in a row. This was in the 1970s once expansion had happened as well. The legendary Scotty Bowman was the Habs’ head coach, and guys like Richard were replaced with Guys like Lafleur. A truly formidable team.

 

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1980-1983 New York Islanders

1980-1983 New York Islanders

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Yes, the NHL had two teams win four titles in a row back to back. It was a time for dynasties, and the Islanders were the last of these NHL dynasties. New York was loaded with talent, with guys like Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, and Bryan Trottier on the squad. The Islanders actually played for a fifth Cup in 1984 but ran into an Edmonton Oilers team led by Wayne Gretzky. The torch had been passed. Those Oilers would win four titles in five years, by the way.

 

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1946-1949 Cleveland Browns

1946-1949 Cleveland Browns

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We are going to include the Browns’ four wins in a row in the AAFC because the Browns still exist as a franchise, and also because the AAFC was truly seen as the NFL’s equal in the 1940s. Three teams ended up in the NFL from the AAFC, the Browns, the Colts, and the 49ers. The AAFC existed for four years, and the Browns won the title every single time. Plus, the Browns would go on to win the 1950 NFL title as well.

 

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1929-1931 Green Bay Packers

1929-1931 Green Bay Packers

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The NFL didn’t add a title game until 1933, so these were titles won off of the regular season. Hey, if it’s good enough for European soccer, it’s good enough for us. These Packers were coached by Curly Lambeau, the man who lends his name to the team’s field to this day.

 

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1965-1967 Green Bay Packers

1965-1967 Green Bay Packers

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For all their success, the New England Patriots of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady never threepeated. The last NFL threepeat happened all the way back in the 1960s. The final two of these titles were won by emerging victorious in the first two NFL-AFL Championship Games. We now call that game the Super Bowl.





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