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5 thoughts on Mad Dog Russo’s top-5 most storied sports teams

We can be honest here: The dynamic between Stephen A. Smith and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo on ESPN First Take every week is growing a bit stale.

Don’t get us wrong. It’s still tremendous television. But once you’ve heard them argue about the NBA nine or 10 times, it all begins to run together. Which is why ESPN has to keep putting the duo in, for want of a better term, more Mike-and-the-Mad-Dog-style positions. Such as Wednesday’s rundown of Russo’s top-5 of the most storied franchises in sports history.

This is the kind of stuff that used to power a full afternoon of summer programming on WFAN back in the halcyon days. We’re talking hours of great calls and back-and-forth banter, interrupted only by commercials, John Minko’s 20/20 Sports updates and a Mets report from Eddie Coleman. It’s also a reminder that basic blocking and tackling still works in the Embrace Debate Era.

Some thoughts:

Yankees are a no-brainer No. 1. I kept waiting for the Yankee Crack Committee to be reformed live on ESPN, but it didn’t happen. Russo knows he can’t let his hatred get in the way of his objectivity.

This segment was worth it for the Canadiens names alone. I could listen to Russo say “Guy Lafleur” all day long. I am amazed that he nailed every pronunciation. That would have been set at higher odds than the Pirates winning the World Series prior to execution.

Good job by Dog not including the Patriots. There’s a big difference between having a bunch of titles and being storied. Thirty years from now, the Patriots will be storied. But right now, they are not as storied as the Packers and Steelers (and the Cowboys and 49ers, if we’re being honest).

You have to count the Lakers’ titles in Minneapolis. Because it is a continuation of greatness. I’m not saying they need to make the list — they are clearly behind the Celtics and some of the other teams — but it’s not like the Browns winning a bunch of AAFC titles in the 1940s and claiming they’re storied.

Biggest snubs. The Cowboys have an argument if you include their aura. The Niners have one as well, but it’s nowhere near as strong. You could make a case for the Dodgers as well. But that’s about it. And to the guys in the back screaming about Liverpool or Manchester United, let’s simmer down.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com





James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.