In Sports Commentary

Does any city have a better combo than Rodgers, Giannis and Yelich? We turned to SCIENCE to figure it out. (PHOTO: Milwaukee Brewers Facebook, Dave Bernacchi and Evan Siegle/Packers.com)

Does Wisconsin have the best trio of stars from the NFL, NBA and MLB?

After watching high-level performances nearly every night from Aaron Rodgers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich throughout October, I got to thinking: Does Wisconsin have the best trio of football, basketball and baseball stars in the nation?

So I decided to break it down and build the top triumvirate from each city. In doing so, I established a couple of rules:

  • I included a team if it is within three driving hours of another city that will complete the trio. Example: The Green Bay Packers paired with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers, or the Portland Trail Blazers with the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.

  • Los Angeles and New York both have six teams apiece, but there is a clear hierarchy within those two cities. So the Los Angeles 'A' team includes the Rams, Lakers and Dodgers, while the 'B' team selects from the Chargers, Clippers and Angels. In New York, the split goes Giants, Knicks and Yankees versus Jets, Nets and Mets. You can decide which is the 'A' team there.

  • In choosing players, I selected who I believed was the face of the franchise.

  • And finally, I created a (very rough) scoring system for a guideline of the top cities: one point for an All-Star/Pro Bowl appearance, three points for an MVP award and five points for a championship. (I awarded MVP points to both Yelich and Mookie Betts this year, even though the trophy has not been officially awarded.)

And without further ado, here are the 21 trios ranked by their overall points total (individual points provided in parentheses):

  • New England: T. Brady (47), K. Irving (10), M. Betts (11) – 68

  • Los Angeles (A): T. Gurley (2), L. James (41), C. Kershaw (10) – 53

  • Oakland: D. Carr (3), S. Curry (26), M. Chapman (0) – 29

  • Detroit: M. Stafford (1), B. Griffin (5), M. Cabrera (22) – 28

  • Miami: R. Tannehill (0), D. Wade (27), JT Realmuto (1) – 28

  • Houston: JJ Watt (4), J. Harden (9), J. Altuve (14) – 27

  • Dallas: E. Elliott (1), D. Nowitzki (21), A. Beltre (4) – 26

  • Los Angeles (B): P. Rivers (7), T. Harris (0), M. Trout (13) – 20

  • Wisconsin: A. Rodgers (17), G. Antetokounmpo (2), C. Yelich (4) – 18

  • Seattle/Portland: R. Wilson (9), D. Lillard (3), F. Hernandez (6) – 18

  • Arizona: L. Fitzgerald (11), D. Booker (0), P. Goldschmidt (6) – 17

  • DC: R. Kerrigan (3), J. Wall (5), B. Harper (9) – 17

  • Denver: V. Miller (11), N. Jokic (0), N. Arenado (4) – 15

  • Twin Cities: A. Thielen (1), J. Butler (4), J. Mauer (9) – 14

  • Chicago: K. Mack (3), L. Markkanen (0), K. Bryant (10) – 13

  • Cleveland: B. Mayfield (0), K. Love (10), F. Lindor (3) – 13

  • Atlanta: M. Ryan (7), T. Young (0), F. Freeman (3) – 10

  • Philadelphia: C. Wentz (6), J. Embiid (1), A. Nola (1) – 8

  • New York (A): O. Beckham (3), K. Porzingis (1), A. Judge (2) – 6

  • New York (B): S. Darnold (0), C. LeVert (0), J. deGrom (2) – 2

  • Tampa Bay/Orlando: M. Evans (1), A. Gordon (0), B. Snell (1) – 2

So, after establishing the full list with my scoring system, a couple things are clear. First off, Steph Curry will fare much better next year when the Warriors move to San Francisco and he is grouped with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Giants ace Madison Bumgarner instead of Derek Carr and Matt Chapman.

Second, Wisconsin is only tied for ninth, mostly because the Packers have failed to surround Rodgers with enough talent to consistently compete for championships. Tom Brady earned 25 points from his five Super Bowl rings alone in this made-up exercise, in part because he is in a system that allows him to contend every single year.

Third, it turns out that my points system – the one that I created in approximately eight seconds using advanced numbers like one, three and five – is incredibly inexact. It gives way too much credence to players who are at the end of lengthy Hall of Fame careers, but are no longer anywhere near the top of their respective league. So apologies to Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the old fogies on the list, but you are disqualified. The goal of this piece is to determine who has the best athletes in 2018, not who has the athletes with the best resumes in 2018. So for that, we'll cross of Detroit, Miami, Dallas, Seattle/Portland and the Twin Cities.

In that same vein, I also crossed off any city that has a player with zero points. We want to find out which city has the best overall talent across all three sports right now. That removes Oakland, the Los Angeles 'B' team (sorry Mike Trout – always the bridesmaid, never the bride), Arizona, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, the New York 'B' team and Tampa/Orlando.

That leaves New England, the Los Angeles 'A' squad, Houston, Wisconsin, DC, Philadelphia and the New York 'A' team.

With apologies to the NFC East, the trios from DC, Philly and New York are not on the same playing field right now. The athletes from Philadelphia and New York are too young and injury prone, while DC is a star quarterback away from real contention.

Four trios remain: New England, Los Angeles 'A,' Houston and Wisconsin.

New England and Los Angeles are the clear top dogs here, but it's still tempting to move Wisconsin above Houston in this race. Rodgers is one of the America's biggest stars and Antetokounmpo is beloved by everyone around basketball. Still, Watt is one of the defensive players in football history – and yet he might be better known for his work off the field. Harden grabbed the NBA MVP award last year and came within a Chris Paul injury of knocking off Curry's unbeatable Warriors. And even though Yelich's second-half heroics carried the Brewers to the NLCS, Altuve has been doing that for five years with a World Series ring to boot.

Rodgers, Antetokounmpo and Yelich might not have the awards nor the titles to support their case as the best sports trio in the country, but they still are remarkable talents – and depending how one feels about Yelich, Wisconsin could have three players who are all top-10 players in their respective leagues.

In October, Wisconsin sports fans were treated to one of the best runs this state has ever seen. Beginning on Oct. 1 with the Brewers tiebreaker victory over the Cubs, there were 21 high-leverage games featuring three of the best athletes in the world. That is every sports fan's dream, though the stressful nights can be rough on the heart (and relationships). The Brewers, Bucks and Packers posted a combined 15-6 record over that stretch. Yelich reached base 21 times in 51 plate appearances, Antetokounmpo averaged 25 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, and Rodgers threw for six touchdowns and no interceptions.

I don't write this piece to scold Wisconsin sports fans, who certainly aren't spoiled. The Bucks haven't won a playoff series since 2001 and the Brewers are still searching for a World Series title in their intermittent postseason runs. Even the Packers – who are working on their third straight decade of Hall of Fame quarterback play – struggled mightily in the 1970s and 80s. This isn't Boston, where championship trophies seem to sprout from the earth every eight months.

But while other cities decide whether forking over a massive contract to Marcus Mariota or trading Jacob deGrom is the best course of action, Wisconsin – at least for now – is sitting on three phenomenal building blocks. Yelich is a multi-faceted star, Rodgers is a wizard with the pigskin and Antetokounmpo is an extraterrestrial being that adds layers to his game every year. Oh, and all three are in their primes and under contract into their 2021 seasons.

The hit television show "The Office" is applicable to almost all aspects of life, and as Andy Bernard so eloquently states in the series finale, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Soak it all in, Wisconsin. Because it might not get any better than this.

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