The History of the Los Angeles/Boston Rivalry
It is the classic East Coast vs. West Coast matchup that every sports fans loves: Boston against Los Angeles. These two cities surely aren’t strangers, having played one another in some of the biggest games that the sports world knows.
On Sunday, the two will meet once again, as the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots go head-to-head in Super Bowl LIII. If history truly repeats itself, the City of Boston has had the edge over LA and that could prove to be the case again on Sunday.
To understand the hype behind an LA/Boston championship weekend is to understand the full sports history that accompanies it.
In 11 championship matchups, the Celtics have walked away with eight NBA championship trophies when up against the Lakers.
The first championship game against these two was back in 1962, as head coach Red Auerbach was in the midst of an iconic championship run. Both teams would meet again in 1963, 1965 and 1966, and each time the Celtics pulled away with the victory.
Under Auerbach, the Celtics would play for the trophy every year between 1957 until 1966. They walked away with nine championships in 10 appearances.
This still wouldn’t be the last the two cities saw of each other. This historical basketball rivalry went on to see each other seven more times in the biggest series of the year.
In 2008, the Celtics beat the Lakers to get their first championship since 1986. The Lakers would answer back in 2010 to take the trophy in what is to date their most recent championship match up.
Baseball also brews another rivalry between the two cities.
The Boston Red Sox took down the LA Dodgers in October to win the World Series. This postseason meeting wouldn’t be the first between the two.
Babe Ruth led the Red Sox to a victory in the 1916 World Series against the Brooklyn Robins, who would later become the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. While the Dodgers were technically out of New York at this time, they still hold LA ties nonetheless.
The strength of both clubhouses in the 2018 postseason could foreshadow a future meeting of the two teams in the near future.
The Dodgers did lose the World Series in 2017 to the Houston Astros, which could be the drive that brings them to another postseason opportunity. On the other side of the country, the Red Sox will be riding their championship high horse coming into spring training, and if all the pieces are still in place, it could be another dominant run for the club.
Hockey hasn’t brought these two cities together for a championship, but it is easy to say fans would love to see it. The LA Kings have had two championship runs within the last seven years, while the Bruins last championship was in 2011.
In three MLS Cup matches, the Los Angeles Galaxy have walked away the champion each time over the New England Revolution. The LA Galaxy have had a top notch soccer club, picking up some major players in the past like David Beckham from Real Madrid and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester United.
Landon Donovan also played for the Galaxy. Donovan was a United States National Team member and the all-time leading scorer in Major League Soccer.
The New England Revolution have yet to capture a MLS Cup. They have made five appearances in the championship game. While they may play home games at Gillette Stadium, the championship success of the other home team doesn’t seem to rub off on the Revolution.
Talking about a LA versus Boston Super Bowl history is complicated. Most know that the Los Angeles Ram were, for a period of time, the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams would move to St. Louis in 1994, and in that time they had two Super Bowl appearance.
It would be the second trip for the Rams that brought them face-to-face with a young Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Adam Vinatieri's 45-yard field goal sent the game into overtime, where the Patriots would secure the victory.
Since 2002, the Rams have not seen a Super Bowl. The Patriots have seen eight more Super Bowls, resulting in five rings.
The Rams would move back to Los Angeles in 2016, and after a slow start back home, they have found what works in this team led by quarterback Jared Goff and coach Sean McVay.
Which city reigns supreme?
While Boston has been victorious in most major match ups, it can not be ignored that Los Angeles always fought back. In any good rivalry, it would not be fun if there wasn’t an even competition.
When all is said and done, Boston takes the cake.
Sunday should be the game that these two sports cities are expecting to get. The young gun quarterback and coach taking on the longtime powerhouse duo in Brady and Belichick is sure to be an intense, edge-of-your seat kind of game.
History will continue to write itself in the LA/Boston sports saga, and Sunday is just another chapter waiting to be read.
Carolyn Sistrand is a double major in broadcast journalism and history. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism, History