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Can San Francisco become a two-title town?

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
'Your move, Niners.' (Getty Images)

The occasion of Super Bowl XLVII presents the city of San Francisco with a most cherished opportunity -- the chance for one town to claim the World Series trophy and that honking silver football in the same "season."

The Giants of San Francisco, of course, barged to the belt and the title in MLB, and on Sunday their civic label-mates, the 49ers, will atttempt to win the Super Bowl. Over the span of Super Bowl history, that's happened just four times.

Before we peer more closely, let's establish exactly what we mean by the "same season." The calendar, you'll note, menacingly reads "2013," but we're considering this the 2012 NFL season because that's when the heavy lifting was done. That pairs nicely with the 2012 MLB season, in which the Giants ruled all they surveyed. So we're linking the MLB season with the NFL regular season that took place during the same calendar year.

With that necessary throat-clearing out of the way, here are the "two-title towns" of the Super Bowl era: Baltimore in 1970, Pittsburgh in 1979, New York City in 1986 and Boston in 2004.

So let's compare, shall we?

In the table to follow, you'll find a few simple statistical categories comparing these towering sports municipalities. Below you'll see each city's regular-season MLB winning percentage from the year in question ("MLB Win%"), NFL regular-season winning percentage from the year in question ("NFL Win%") and then a combination of the two ("MLB+NFL/2"). In the case of that MLB+NFL/2 figure, it's not, say, 16 (or 14) NFL games added to 162 MLB games and then averaged out. That, after all, would place too much emphasis on the baseball half of our pointless exercise. Instead, we'll take the MLB winning percentage, add it to the NFL winning percentage and then use our educations to find the average.

As well, we'll list the city's World Series run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) for the year in question and the city's Super Bowl point differential for the Championship Football Hootenanny of interest. Those two figures will give us an idea of how dominant each city was on the wide stage. Now let's make with the HTML ...

"Two-Title Towns"
City, YearMLB Win%NFL Win%MLB+NFL/2WS Run Diff.SB Point Diff.
Baltimore, 1970.667.786.727+13+3
Pittsburgh, 1979.605.750.678+6+12
New York City, 1986.667.875.771+5+19
Boston, 2004.605.875.740+12+3
San Francisco, 2012*.580.688.634+10?

Now for a smattering of observations ...

  • Baltimore's case is helped greatly by the fact that the Orioles won 108 games in the regular season before taking care of a 102-win Reds team in five games. The Colts subsequently prevailed over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
  • The "We Are Family" Pirates came back from down three games to one to nip the Orioles, while the '79 Steelers handled the Rams in the Super Bowl. Let's also not forget that the rousing and unlikely basketball successes of Pittsburgh Pisces that same year made the Steel City a three-title town.
  • At first blush, the Gotham resume looks impressive. The Mets won 108 games, and the Giants went 14-2. However, consider that NYC has two NFL teams and two MLB teams. Immediately, their odds are doubled. No fair! Also consider that, as of 1986, the Giants and Jets didn't even play their home games in the same state as New York City. So points off for the easier road to "two-title" status and because the name "New York Giants" is a big lie that poops its pants.
  • The curse-wrecking Red Sox swept the 105-win Cardinals in the Fall Classic, and the dominant Patriots nipped the Eagles in the Super Bowl. However, now we must revisit the geographic dilemma. The Patriots don't actually play their games in Boston, but, unlike the Giants and Jets, at least they have the decency not to feign residency in the city of interest. Ding them for not being a true Boston team.

In the end, give the high honor of "top two-title town" to 1970 Baltimore. The '79 Pirates don't quite stack up to the '70 Orioles, and the urban pretensions of the '86 Giants and the self-indentified regionalism of the New England Pats bust them down a notch or two.

Although a local-television field reporter would call it irony, it's really a coincidence that Baltimore will on Sunday try to bar San Francisco from the ranks of two-title towns. Even if it fails, though, San Fran won't stack up to the 1970 baseball and football triumphs of Charm City.

Take a bow and have a crabcake, Johnny Unitas and Boog Powell.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

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