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Opinion

Professional ‘dream teams’ fail to live up to expectations

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October 14, 2011

It all started in July of 2010 when LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade to create a “dream team” in the National Basketball Association.

Then, it was the Boston Red Sox signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal. The Philadelphia Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a six year, $120 million deal to create possibly the greatest pitching rotation that baseball had ever seen. And of course, the New York Yankees were paying their players a few hundred million dollars as well.

Then this past July and August the Philadelphia Eagles signed nearly every big name free-agent in the National Football League as well as trading for another All-Pro in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. These acquisitions provoked new back-up quarterback Vince Young to declare that the Eagles were a “dream team.”

The Miami Heat entered the NBA season with three of the best players in basketball and nearly a $65 million salary cap. Nearly $10 million more than that of the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat were crowned the title, and many more, before the NBA season even started.

Championship or bust was a slogan that was tossed around by members of the Heat as well as the media.

The end result was a bust as the Heat were unable to capture the title that they felt had been handed to them when they signed the “big three.”

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt have a combined 16 All-Star game appearances and represent possibly the greatest starting rotation in the history of Major League Baseball.

The Phillies were crowed the National League pennant before the season had even started. The Boston Red Sox added another big bat and were supposed to finally have the team to topple the Yankees.

When it comes to the money the Yankees, $202 million; the Phillies, $172 million; and the Red Sox, $161 million; have the three highest payrolls in baseball, and it isn’t even close. In fact, Alex Rodriguez, of the Yankees, makes around $25 million a season. The Kansas City Royals have a team payroll of $36 million.

Yet, here we are in the Championship Series for each league and the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are nowhere to be found.

The Red Sox didn’t even make the playoffs! The Brewers and Cardinals, playing to go to the World Series, have a combined payroll that is less than that of the Yankees. Despite having the best payroll and, theoretically, the best players these three teams were unable to deliver.

This past summer the Philadelphia Eagles went on a spending spree in an effort to get to the Super Bowl.

When the dust settled Vince Young stated that it was like playing with a dream team. Suddenly the Eagles found out what it was like to play in the shoes of the Miami Heat. There are many schools of thought in the Nflthat say free-agency doesn’t buy championships.

Out of the 22 starters on the Eagles team only half have played exclusively for the Eagles. And only two of those 11 have been with the team for more than four years.

Conversely, the Green Bay Packers 22 starters feature 17 players who have only played for the Packers, and nine of those 17 have been with Green Bay for more than four years. Currently, the Packers are the defending champions and are undefeated, while the Eagles are below .500 and last place in the NFC East.

Sure, teams can assemble talent that seemingly only a teenager could put together in a video game.

Sure, it’s fun to see the highlights that these teams can put out night after night.

However, these “dream teams” have zero championships to show for spending all of this money.

In fact, the Heat are the only ones to advance past the first round of the playoffs. I guess it’s true; money can’t buy championships.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during fall semester 2013.