Miami’s Streak Ranks Atop Greatest Across U.S. Pro Sports




No offense to the puck set, but that Chicago Blackhawks’ points streak that got so much attention over the first half of the post-lockout NHL season has lost a little of its luster lately.

The hottest thing on ice so far in 2012-13 melts in comparison to what the Miami Heat have done in winning 26 consecutive games.

It’s not the Blackhawks’ fault that their sport allows for ties, awards and aligns its standings according to points rather than victories or winning percentages. It’s not their fault, entirely, that they have the gimmickry of the shootout as a less-filling way of determining outcomes. If you can earn a point when you lose – something Chicago did three times by shootout in its season-opening streak of 24 games with at least one point – it’s not quite the same as an undefeated streak, now is it?

The Miami Heat cannot tie. Overtime periods in the NBA accrue until the scoreboard shows someone ahead at a horn. There is no wacky dunk-off to sorta, kinda declare the winner, nor is there any tangible consolation to losing.

This is no kiddie sport where you get a trophy simply for showing up.

About the time the Blackhawks stretched their streak to its max, right wing Patrick Kane traded Tweets with LeBron James, whose Miami team was just matching the Clippers’ mark of 17 games for the NBA’s longest run this season. “Hey Chicago Blackhawks, u guys are AWESOME!! #streaking” James sent out to his followers. Kane responded: “Back at you LeBron. Keep rolling.”

The Heat did just that, even as the Blackhawks got stopped in Denver on March 8. With nine additional victories, the Heat have matched the longest winning streak in the other three major U.S. professional sports. Baseball’s 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row from Sept. 7 through Sept. 30.

If Miami beats the Magic in Orlando Monday night for No. 27, only six foes and 12 days will stand between it and the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record of 33 consecutive victories. After two days to savor that, the Heat would go for No. 34 at home April 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Then they would have five regular-season games left to push the record further, rest some players for the postseason or –- who’s to say they couldn’t? -– do both.

Here is a look at the longest winning streaks in major U.S. sports history (we’ll set aside for now those staggering marks in NCAA Division I basketball — 90 by  the UConn women and 88 by the UCLA men back in the day):

Major League Baseball

Managed by the legendary John McGraw, the Giants of 1916 traded away a couple of future Hall of Famers — pitcher Christy Mathewson and outfielder Edd Roush — before the streak began that season. Another, George (Highpockets) Kelly, turned 20 that month and was just getting started. New York had a 17-game streak earlier that season — a whole lot of consecutive winning for a team that finished fourth in the National League and never once sat atop the standings. In fact, even though the Giants went from three games under .500 (59-62) to 23 over with the September streak, they didn’t budge from fourth place the entire time. This one has an asterisk, too, because of a tie — the Giants had won 12 in a row when the nightcap of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh was called at 1-1. (If you’re a stickler on this stuff, the 1935 Chicago Cubs won 21 in a row with no ties.)

National Football League

Pro football can come at the Heat’s streak in three different ways. If you’re looking for the longest winning streak, period, then look to the New England Patriots, who started a run of 21 triumphant outcomes on Oct. 5, 2003 and kept it going through Oct. 24, 2004, spanning both regular season and playoff games, including a Super Bowl.

The NFL’s longest streak of regular season games — that’s what Miami is doing, after all — belongs to the Indianapolis Colts, who won 23 in a row across the 2008 and 2009 seasons but stumbled in their wild-card game against San Diego at the end of 2008, losing in overtime. Then Peyton Manning & Co. went 14-0 in 2008 before losing again, this time to the Jets two days after Christmas.

Of course, if you want a winning streak fully contained in one season — which we presume will be the case with the Heat unless they pull off fo’, fo’, fo’, fo’ dominance in the playoffs — then it’s back to the Patriots. In 2007, New England won every game from its opener through the AFC championship — 18 straight — before faltering in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. And, memorably, the Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season and rolled through the playoffs on their way to a Super Bowl title and a perfect 17-0 season in 1972.

National Hockey League

The Blackhawks’ consecutive points streak of 24 games to start the season — and 30 if you go back to the end of the 2011-12 regular season — left them shy of the NHL’s longest by those standards. In 1979-80, the Philadelphia Flyers recorded at least one point in 35 consecutive games.

But if you have a distate for ties when the talk turns to winning streaks, then the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins is your team to beat. Led by Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, that crew of defending Stanley Cup champions won 17 in a row — no small feat when the opponent at least has the option of playing for a tie, unlike in the other sports. The previous record had been 15 set by the 1981-82 New York Islanders en route to the third of their four straight championships.

21 Comments

  1. akhet says:

    LOL at aschburner comparing 2 incomparable sports. Hockey is more physically cahllenging. Hockey players cant keep playing minutes before beeing subbed out and they are not able to play amost full game minutes (80% of full gametime for nba players compared to 50% of nhl players). Also basketball is highscoring game and hockey is not. Therefore it is more probable that in nba game there will be diffenrece in points after 1 or 2 OT is quite high in nhl game this chance is lot lower. Please use your brain before drawing funky comparisons while creating the “heat myth”.

  2. LebronKingOfNba says:

    heat are the talk of the town. i was watching golf, and they were talking about the heat. and they were comparing lebron to tiger woods. hahaahaha lmfao

  3. The Pooch says:

    Guess all these haters forgot the Heat already beat the Pacers Thunder Grizzlies Celtics and Knicks during the streak. The want to try and pretend they only got by beating >.500 teams just cause their schedules easier now… SMH.

  4. dwade3 says:

    for the all the haters, just accept what the heat have done to your respective teams. everyone can beat the heat, but as usual they all failed. some coaches admitted that the heat are playing best ball games and you don’t. come on..

  5. BMW says:

    Eternal23: Your post makes no sense. By the logic you have displayed in your post, the Heat should have zero losses. As it stands, no matter how you slice it, at this posting they have the best record in the league, 56-14. 2-1 over the Celtics. Bulls 1-1. Grizzlies 1-1. Lakers 2-0. Rockets 2-0 (who beat the Spurs the other night). Spurs 2-0. Thunder 2-0. Atlanta 3-1. Knicks 1-2. Pacers 1-2. Clippers 2-2. The two losses to the Knicks were before the all-star break. Boston’s loss, before the all-star break. loss to the Grizz, before the all-star break. Bulls, before the all-star break. You kind of get the picture. The only caveat I have with your examples is the one concerning the nets; The heat won all three: 103 to 73 in November, 102 to 89 in December, and 105 to 85 in January. So your point is lost n me. As all your points are. Except, if read between the lines, you simply do not like the Heat. Not a problem. Your loss can be added to the 56 other losses experienced at the hands of the Heat.

    And if they lose another game or two this season (including the play-off), they’ll just dust off their hands, get back on that horse and ride that much harder the next games.

  6. Mike says:

    For the h8ters: In this streak they have beaten the the Lakers, the Rockets, the Grizzlies, the Clippers and OKC, and they play the Spurs at the end of this week. That would be 6/8 western conference playoff teams, so please shut up about them only playing sub-500 teams and stop overstating how bad the Eastern Conference is to make this streak seem unimpressive.

  7. Eternal23 says:

    re-posting this bit from: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2013/03/24/time-to-shut-down-derrick-rose/

    I am not at all anti-Heat, but I am anti-ignorance. They really don’t deserve all the hype, the media just talks them up because it sells. This streak they are on contains ONE, maybe TWO wins that based on the numbers they probably shouldn’t have won, nothing more.

    “The Heat are not a great team. They just happen to play gritty defense that relies on steals and run-and-gun fast break. It helps having one of the best SGs and best SFs in the league that just happen to be great closers around the basket. Both of these guys shoot around .500 from the floor. The Heat have no depth, and no size down low. Their 26 game win streak is more a result of an easy schedule that anything else. They won ONE difficult game in this 26 game win streak, it was an away game vs OKC. Their last Away game vs a team that can contend for a ring was against the Pacers, and the Heat lost. Even against the Knicks, who have injuries a plenty, they only won by 6, and it was in a lucky come back where the Knicks basically gave the game away on their poor play in the 4th quarter, not on the Heat’s good play. Take a look at their record against the top Eastern Conference teams, 1-2 against the Knicks, 1-2 against the Pacers, 1-1 against the Bulls, 2-1 against the Nets, under .500 overall… They have the best record in the worst conference, and havent even been able to beat the best teams in the East.”

    • Kobe says:

      good thing they lost some, coz if not, they’l probably 70-0? ….
      and that might give you more reason to whine more …
      and the worst is, 70-0 might kill you … and you are eternal no more … tsk3

  8. GO HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Enzo says:

    it all comes down to the Spurs, if the Heat can make it that far, and then we’ll see what’s Hot about the Heat

    • Rick says:

      27 games in a row is quite an accomplishment in any sport, in any conference, against any team. All these teams are professional sports teams, not little league. Any team can beat another team on any given night.To have the drive & mental toughness to do it for 27 consecutive games is quite an accomplishment. The fact that only one other team in the history of professional sports has done it speaks for itself. Props to the Heat for an incredible streak!!

  10. BJ says:

    Look at MIA schedule for the last couple of weeks. The only two teams that are over .500 that MIA will play is NYK and CHI…. the res of the teams? are you kidding me?.. lol.

    • G says:

      It’s not MIA’s fault that the teams that they are playing agianst are not above .500!

      • BJ says:

        no its not, but it doesn’t reflect how great or how AVERAGE this team may really be. I mean basically you have MIA and then the rest of the east. its a joke. too many elite teams over here in the west for MIA to have kep that stretch this long. MIA isnt standing above the rest of the NBA, thats my point. they aren’t THAT great.

    • Kobe says:

      Bj Bj Bj
      for the record, inside or outside the STREAK, the HEAT had beaten all the rest of the NBA teams
      so, whats your point?

      • The coach says:

        Exactly what i was thinking, the heat have beating every team at least once this year, and that includes every team in the west.. also during this team they beat okc memphis and the lakers who are all dominant elite teams in the west, minus the lakers but they still have kobe so its not and easy game. those are the only three i remember but im sure the’ve beat other good teams. they had a hard schedule to begin and now have an easy one and are doing what they have to do. and BTW beating the easy teams day in and day out is actually what make the Heat so great. Most domint teams in the past lose focus when they play below avergae teams to last this long and keep the same pace is Amazing. so chill out with the hate. you just sound like a salty miami hater.

  11. mo says:

    I agree but the miami heat will get closer to the lakers winning streak

  12. Willie says:

    NBA is geting boring, they have the leagues best players all on one team, then they give them this soft scheduel were they play 26 sub .500 teams in a row. smh Heat needs some compitition.

  13. W/E says:

    Rename Hang time blog to Heat Blog, it woud be more accurate.