In TheSportsNotebook’s tour of the modern era (1976-Present) looking for the best sports cities in any individual year, I’ve stuck with a consistent ground rule–a team’s championships must take place within a one sports calendar year, which runs from the Final Four through the Super Bowl.
The area that should win in 1999 would be the part of Connecticut that’s more or less a suburb of New York City. These fans saw UConn basketball win its first national title and then shared in the love with the Big Apple as the Yankees won the World Series and the Knicks made the NBA Finals. But we already paid tribute to this particular fan base in our 1990 entry. How about spreading the wealth? We can do that with a little bit of calendar juggling.
Hence, I’m going to cheat a little bit. TheSportsNotebook will honor the state of Tennessee—they got the Titans to the Super Bowl that year, but for our championship, we’re sneaking in college football and the Tennessee Volunteers. January 4, 1999 saw the Vols seal a national title run that’s in the books for the 1998 schedule. It set the stage for the Titans winning the AFC championship.
The Titans’ playoff run ironically included a win over a young Peyton Manning, in his second year since leaving Tennessee and made the seventeen months from September 1998 thru January 2000 a great time in Tennessee football history.
Read more about the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers
Read more about the 1999 Tennessee Titans