“Super Teams”: Are They Actually Super?

Adam Lis, Staff Writer

   Throughout sports history, the concept of “Super Teams” has always been thrown in the mix of questionable decision by coaches and managers. Sometimes it works out, while other times teams are left scratching their heads wondering where it all went wrong. Teams spend big money on players that they hope will produce the results they are so desperately looking for; not only money, but moral is sometimes questioned. Here’s a look at some of history’s teams that were considered “Super” and others that were considered just plain messes.

   The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers were a team that many thought couldn’t be beat. Some people said that you should just hand the trophy over to them midway through the season. Looking back, you can completely understand why many people believed this was a “Super Team.” Gary Payton and Karl Malone were both free agents each at the end of monumental careers, however neither of them had an NBA Championship. That being said, they joined the Lakers and created an all-star starting five with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

   Unfortunately, the Lakers could not pull off a championship with this team. The Pistons acquired Rasheed Wallace that season and having a young Tashawn Prince was too much for the Lakers, as they lost in the NBA Finals. One can argue that the Lakers were a “Super Team” for years even before the 03-04 season, with the dynamic duo of O’Neal and Bryant. However, there have been teams who have had success with this “Super Team” model.

   The Miami Heat shocked the world back in 2010 when they not only signed Chris Bosh but also LeBron James. Everyone thought this team would win the NBA Championship easily, but they ended up falling short to Dirk Nowtizki and the Dallas Mavericks in six games in 2011. The Heat did however come back earlier this year and won the whole thing beating a very young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder. The additions of James and Bosh were crucial during the Heat’s Finals run and were a sign that “Super Teams” can work in the modern NBA.

   Moving on to baseball we look at two teams that strike everyone’s attention. First and foremost is the New York Yankees, who have been infamous for offering the biggest contracts to the best players. With 27 Championships we can truly say it has worked out for them, although Alex Rodriguez, who is the highest paid player in baseball, has been lackluster for the past couple seasons. The Yankees pay him so much to just basically strikeout. The second team we look at is the Detroit Tigers, who had a tremendous season this year. Although they lost to the Giants in the World Series they did sweep the Yankees in the ALCS. Their line-up was deadly and their ace pitcher was virtually unhittable in the post season. Acquiring Prince Fielder paid off for the Tigers and having Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera batting before him pretty much put fear in the hearts of every pitcher. However, a World Series loss wasn’t the purpose of this team, so as of right now this “Super Team” failed.

   In Europe, soccer is the sport that rules all and money is no option for some teams, just take a look at Manchester City. Once the “little brother” team to their neighbors, Manchester United, they changed the face of the English Premier League when they were bought by Middle Eastern oil tycoons The Darbi Group.

   The club started buying player after player making them a true “Super Team.” Robinho was the first big signing and was later traded to A.C. Milan. Carlos Tevez became the face of the club and other huge signings such as Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, David Silva and James Milner, who begged to stay with his hometown club Aston Villa but money talks and the big pay day brought Milner to Man City. The negative side to all these signings is that there is not enough room for all these superstars on one team. Players like Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli have to split time with Sergio Aguero and Tevez. A great player in Emanuel Adebuaro left the club after realizing that he would most likely not play because of too much competition for the starting striker spot.

   The same goes for the huge clubs in Spain like Barcelona, the team did everything they could to acquire Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal to make the ultimate Spanish Club. Fabregas plays center mid but his competition for the position, at Barcelona, is Xavi and Andres Inniesta, who are dubbed by most people to be the best in the world at that position. Instead of splitting time, Fabregas is forced to play out of position in the forward spot. He can play it, however, he is much more affecting in the middle of the field setting players up rather than finishing. Barcelona also looked to add on to the team after paying half of the contract for Neymar, a young Brazilian striker who will become the next Ronaldinho, the former face of Barcelona.

   Finishing up with American Football, the NFL, because of salary caps and contract restrictions, has limited numbers of “Super Teams.” Signings only seem to come at a one player per season pattern. The Philadelphia Eagles looked to become a “Super Team” last year when they dished out money and contracts galore with the acquisitions of Steve Smith from the Giants, Nnamdi Asomugha from the Raiders, Ronnie Brown from the Dolphins and Michael Vick, who looked to re-establish himself. The team ended up being a bust only going 8-8, having the majority of the wins coming in the second half and a failure to make the playoffs.

   So it goes to say that money talks and that “Super Teams” come and go and do not always work out as imagined.

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