We were sitting on it.
As the Colorado Avalanche rolled, 9NEWS was ready to pounce if the hockey team won its 9th in a row, which it did Saturday night with a 3-1 home-ice victory against the New York Rangers.
What, 9NEWS wasn’t going to list the 9 greatest sports streaks after the Avalanche won its 9th in a row? It’s hardly the greatest streak in sports history. It’s not even the longest winning streak in franchise history – the Peter Forsberg-Joe Sakic-Patrick Roy Avalanche won 12 in a row in 1999.
The NHL’s longest winning streak of 17 games (no ties) by the Mario Lemieux-Jaromir Jagr Penguins was not good enough to make our 9 best streaks in sports history:
9. Lakers’ 33 consecutive wins in 1971-72
Before LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami, the NBA’s first “Superteam” was when Wilt Chamberlain was traded to a 1968 Lakers’ team that already had Elgin Baylor and Jerry West.
Three years later, Baylor retired, Gail Goodrich was added and the Lakers dominated like few other NBA teams ever have, winning every game from Nov. 5, 1971 until losing to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-Oscar Robertson-Bobby Dandridge Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 9, 1972. The streak carried the Lakers from 6-3 to 39-3.
In the playoffs, the Lakers swept the Bulls, 4-0, knocked off the defending champion Bucks, 4-2 and whipped the Knicks, 4-1 in the Finals.
8. Martina Navratilova, 13 straight tournaments, 74 consecutive matches in 1984
The lefty won the final three Grand Slam tournaments in 1983 – Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open -- then the first three Grand Slams during her near unstoppable run in 1984 – beating Chris Evert-Lloyd in each of the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals – before losing in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Another impressive Navratilova streak: She won at least one Grand Slam singles tournament 16 years in a row (1975-90).
7. *Johnny Unitas 47 games in a row with a TD pass, 1956-60
A streak doesn’t have to be a record to be among the most impressive in sports history. When this streak began in Unitas’ rookie season of 1956, he tied for 7th in the NFL with 9 touchdown passes.
He never attempted more than 193 passes during this TD run that was set in the 12-game season era.
When Drew Brees finally broke Unitas’ record 52 years later, the Saints’ QB averaged 625 pass attempts a season during his four-season streak.
Brees still has the record with TD passes in 54 consecutive games. Tom Brady (52 games) and Peyton Manning (51 games) both went past Unitas’ old mark.
But those three quarterbacks shared dominance in the modern passing era. Unitas was the one and only at a time when the NFL was still about running the ball and defense.
6. Johnny Vander Meer’s two straight no-hitters, 1938
It only takes two to make a streak. And if this doesn’t seem impressive enough to make the top 9 streaks of all time, how come the feat hasn’t been repeated in 79 years?
Vander Meer only struck out four in his first no-hitter against Vince DiMaggio’s Boston Bees on June 11 at Crosley Field.
Four days later, Vander Meer struck out seven while no-hitting a Brooklyn Dodgers lineup that included Kiki Cuyler, Dolph Camilli and Leo Durocher at Ebbets Field.
In his next start on June 19, Vander Meer had a no-hitter broken up with one out in the fourth inning.
5. *Edwin Moses, 122 consecutive 400-meter hurdle race streak
For nine years, nine months and nine days, Moses never lost in this grueling test of speed and endurance. During his streak, Moses won two Olympic gold medals – in 1976 and 1984 – and was robbed of a third by the U.S. Olympic boycott of the 1980 Soviet Union-hosted Summer Games.
4. UConn women’s basketball team’s 111 wins in a row, Dec. 23, 2014 to 2017 Final Four
I really hated to keep the 88-game winning streak of John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins off this list. I was going to rank the Sidney Wicks-to-Lew Alcinder-to-Bill Walton streak ahead of the UConn women’s 90-game winning streak from 2008-10.
But 111 in a row gives Gene Auriemma’s dynasty 23 more wins than Wooden’s. Breanna Stewart was the Huskies’ star from beginning to end in this remarkable streak.
3. Cal Ripken Jr. plays in 2,632 games, 1982-98
For much of this streak, I kept rooting for Ripken to sit. Lou Gehrig was the Iron Horse, whose 2,130 consecutive games played was stopped by ALS.
But Ripken played the far more demanding positions of shortstop and third base and he wound up playing 501 more consecutive games than Gehrig, who was a first baseman.
By the time Ripken broke Gehrig’s record, he had the admiration of all, even the old-timers.
2. Undefeated 1972 Dolphins, 18-0 2007 Patriots
Speaking of rooting against record setting attempts, the 17-0 Miami Dolphins had to sweat it out in 2007, when Bill Belichick went for the undefeated season achievement for his New England Patriots.
The ’72 Dolphins, who were 14-0 during the regular season, did lead the 26-team NFL in total offense, scoring offense, and total defense.
They went 11-0, including two AFC playoff wins, with backup quarterback Earl Morrall. They were truly a great team.
The 2007 Patriots, though, were the crown jewel of the post-free agent/salary cap/parity era that began in 1993. Thanks to a pass-happy offense engineered by quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots went 16-0 during the regular season, winning by an average of 19.7 points per game.
The pressure of the undefeated feat got them, though, and after struggling to win home playoff games against Jacksonville, 31-20, and Philip Rivers-hobbled San Diego, 21-12, the Pats were stunned by the New York Giants, 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII.
1. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, 1941
It is the most romantic of all sports streaks. It was the summer before the Pearl Harbor attack started World War II.
Ted Williams hit .406 – the last .400 season in the majors -- led the majors with 37 home runs and finished fourth with 120 RBIs, yet finished second to DiMaggio in the American League MVP voting.
As it should have been. The Yankees were in fourth place with a 14-14 record when DiMaggio’s streak started on May 15. They were in first place, 7 games up, with a 56-27 record when DiMaggio’s streak ended on July 17.
DiMaggio’s Yankees won the AL pennant – 17 games ahead of Williams’ second-place Red Sox – then beat Brooklyn in the World Series, 4 games to 1.
Incredibly, DiMaggio immediately followed his 56-game streak with a 16-game hitting streak, meaning he hit safely in 72 of 73 games.
*Sugar Ray Robinson’s 90 bout unbeaten streak (88-0-2) from 1943-1951.
*9 consecutive NCAA women’s soccer titles for North Carolina, 1986-94.
*Wilt Chamberlain 65 consecutive games with at least 30 points, 1961-62 season. He also has NBA records of 126 consecutive 20-point games; 14 consecutive 40-point games; and seven, 50-point games in a row.
*Rocky Marciano won all 49 of his heavyweight fights, the first 16 by knockout or technical knockout.
*Orel Hershiser 59.1 scoreless innings streak in 1988, which broke Don Drysdale’s run of 58 2/3 innings set in 1968.
*The Flyers’ 35-game unbeaten streak in the 1979-80 season.
*Roger Federer’s 23 consecutive Grand Slam Final Four appearances.
*Eric Gagne’s 84 consecutive saves between 2002-04.
*Wayne Gretzky 13 consecutive seasons of at least 100 points. Next best is six.
*The 1916 New York Giants won 26 games in a row.
*Atlanta Braves win 14 consecutive National League division titles, 1991-2005 (1994 season canceled).
*New England Patriots eight straight seasons of at least 12 wins, 2010-17.