With a 19-0-3 start after the NHL lockout, the Chicago Blackhawks are giving… (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press )
The Chicago Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation this season. Their 19-0-3 record is quite impressive, but does it rank as the best start ever in sports?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will discuss which team they think has put together the best start in sports history. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving your opinion in the comments section.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Bulls appeared vulnerable in the fall of 1995. Michael Jordan's return from his first retirement and baseball experiment in the spring of 1995 had led to some uneven moments, including a second-round playoff exit to the Orlando Magic. The team had traded Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for unpredictable forward Dennis Rodman.
Then the 1995-96 season started. And the Bulls won their first five games, 10 of their first 11, 23 of their first 26 and on and on and on. In fact, after dropping to 23-3, the Bulls reeled off a franchise-record, 18-game win streak to move to 41-3.
And the Bulls weren't just winning games; they were crushing teams. They capped that 18-game win streak with road victories of 11 points over the Houston Rockets, 20 points over the Sacramento Kings and 15 points over the Los Angeles Lakers. In the end, the Bulls set several franchise and NBA records, including a 72-10 regular season and best record while posing 50 victories at 50-6. That they capped the historic season with the franchise's fourth NBA championship felt like a foregone conclusion.
And it led to two more championships after that, a strong start to a season that also finished a dynasty.
Matt Vensel, Baltimore Sun
I’m a huge hockey fan who watched the Blackhawks rally on Sunday to extend their streak. But while what the Blackhawks are doing after the NHL lockout is pretty ridiculous, nothing can touch what the New England Patriots did in 2007.
Tom Brady and the Patriots didn’t just start that regular season on a roll, they finished it on one, too, piling up points while posting the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history. They won their first two playoff games to start the season with 18 straight wins, but their perfect season was thwarted by Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
For that, the Patriots continue to be a punch line, but we may never see an NFL team run the table in the regular season again. That’s the best start I’ve ever seen.
[Updated at 2:01 p.m.:
Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
In 1995, the Chicago Bulls won a record 72 games on their way to the franchise’s fourth NBA championship. The team was led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. It shattered the previous mark of 69 wins set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls opened the season with a 41-3 record, with the three loses -- Orlando, Seattle and Indiana -- by a margin of less than six points per game. During that opening stretch, the team had two impressive win streaks spanning 13 games and 18 games. The final streak included a perfect 14-0 mark in the month of January.
The Bulls also went an impressive 22-0 at the United Center during that incredible stretch before finishing the season 34-2 at home. The team is considered to be one of the greatest of all time.]