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Bidding/Winning 3 Consecutive Titles Notes

June 15, 2022

The 2022 NHL Final, the first whose entirety will be telecast on over the air United States television (ABC, of course almost all the rest of both the NHL and NBA playoffs were NOT telecast over the air, in other words sans charge), begins tonight in Colorado with the home team Avalanche hosting the two time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is I believe, the 26th time in baseball, NFL, NBA and NHL annals that a 2 time defending champion has made the league final in a bid for a third straight crown. (Maybe a chart when the series is over. At this point noting 15 times, actually only 9 teams/franchises won a third straight title while 9 were denied in the final round).

The Yankees have thrice won as many as 3 straight titles, winning 5 straight (1949-1953, thus winning a third straight in ’51), 4 straight (1936-1939) and 3 straight (1998-2000).

Only one other baseball team and just one NFL team has won 3 straight titles. The Oakland Athletics won 3 straight titles (1972-1974) while the Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team to do so, by winning title games, did so from (1965-1967).

Five times in both NBA and NHL annals a team won 3 straight titles.

The Celtics, a current final round participant, (behind 3 games to 2 vs Golden State (Warriors) (17-4) in previous final rounds, won a major North American sports league 8 straight titles from (1959-1976).

Both the Lakers and Bulls have twice won 3 straight titles, (credit must go to Phil Jackson the only coach or manager to title 3 straight years more than once and he did so thrice).

The Minneapolis Lakers won 3 straight titles from (’52-’54) while Jackson guided the L.A. “version” to that feat from (2000-2002). Jackson guided the Bulls to 3 straight titles from (’91-’93) and then again from (’96-’98).

In the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens won 5 straight titles from (’56-’60) and 4 straight from (’76-’79).

The New York Islanders won 4 straight crowns from (’80-’83) while the Toronto Maple Leafs, currently without even a final round appearance for 54 completed NHL seasons (’68-2022 with no season in 2005) twice won 3 straight Cup crowns, doing so from (’47-’49) and again from (’62-’64).

I cited the 13 years apart teams the ’63 Yankees, ’76 Philadelphia Flyers and ’89 L.A. Lakers that were swept in final round play as they bid for a third straight crown.

7 other teams/times a team was denied in final round play, seeking a third straight title.

In baseball, it happened forty years before the Yankees failed in ’63, when in 1923 the Giants were beaten by the first of 27 Yankees’ title teams, in the first year of play at Yankee Stadium.

The Detroit Lions were denied by the Cleveland Browns in 1954 after winning the NFL title game vs those Browns in both ’52 and ’53.

Additionally, the Chicago Bears, who went on to win 4 titles in 6 seasons (’40-’46) playing in all but one of the 7 title games during that span, were denied by the Washington franchise in their bid for 3 straight titles in the 1942 title tilt. (“Chi” had annihilated “Wash” (73-0) in the ’40 title game). 

In the NBA, the Spurs 5’d the two time champion Heat in the 2014 final. Also the Raptors denied the Warriors, a current final round participant in a 6 game final in 2019 after Golden State (Warriors) had titled in both 2017 and 2018.


A la the Browns/Lions, Montreal had lost a final to a Detroit team, the Red Wings 2 straight seasons, ’54 and ’55, however it was Montreal in 5 games in the ’56 final denying Detroit.

Meanwhile in 1967, the last Toronto Maple Leafs title team 6’d Montreal’s bid for a third straight crown in the final round.

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