Yes, it’s that time when we can look back at the last 10 years and rank the best professional sports teams of the decade in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This includes the Golden State Warriors, the Oakland Athletics, the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, and the San Jose Sharks.
Generally, postseason performance isn’t everything, either, as we all know a lucky bounce or two can spring a relatively mediocre team to the top: ask the 2011 San Francisco 49ers how those unlucky bounces kept them from winning it all, for example.
That much being said, here are the Top 10 teams of the decade—and one honorable mention. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention. Oakland Raiders: 2016. The only Silver & Black squad to make the list, as we did it because it really was the only “Rayduhs” team of the decade to finish with a winning record. Oakland posted a 12-4 mark and lost in the wild-card game on the road when it was down to its third-string quarterback who had never made an NFL start. That’s the kind of decade it was for the Silver & Black. Maybe Las Vegas will be kinder.
10. San Francisco 49ers: 2013. This was the 14th-best overall season in the history of the franchise, according to the Simple Rating System (SRS) computed by Sports-Reference.com, and it fell one game short of the Super Bowl on an errant pass into the end zone. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was the team’s best player, leading a talented roster to 12 regular-season victories.
9. San Jose Sharks: 2014. The fifth-best team in franchise history is more famous for losing in the first round of the playoffs after taking a 3-0 lead over the eventual Stanley Cup champions from Los Angeles. That’s sad, too, because with 51 wins and 111 total points, the Sharks had a regular season that just got caught on the ice too long in the first round.
8. Oakland Athletics: 2019. Believe it or not, this last season saw the 20th-best team in Athletics organizational history, based on Pythagorean projections. A loss in a single wild-card playoff game doesn’t change what this team accomplished over 162 games in six months, winning 97 games for the second season in a row despite having a very low payroll.
7. San Jose Sharks: 2011. With 48 victories and 105 points, this San Jose squad reached the Western Conference Finals, losing to Vancouver in a series that could have gone either way. After winning the Presidents Trophy in 2009, the Sharks reached the WCFs in both 2010 and 2011 but couldn’t make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, unfortunately. This team rates out as the seventh-best team in Sharks history.
6. Oakland Athletics: 2014. This team was the best in baseball until beset with injuries in August, and it limped its way to the postseason for a notorious wild-card playoff loss on the road in Kansas City. But as the 15th-best team in a franchise history that includes nine World Series winners, we couldn’t leave these doomed A’s off this list.
5. San Jose Sharks: 2010. This team put together the second-best season in franchise history, according to the SRS by Sports-Reference.com. The 51 victories and 113 total points were also the second-highest marks in Sharks history. Alas, San Jose got swept in the Western Conference Finals by the eventual champions from Chicago.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 2012. With an 11-4-1 record, the 49ers won the NFC West Division on their way to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1994 season. However, the 13th-best team in franchise history fell just short of a historic comeback in the big game when the offense couldn’t get the ball into the end zone at the end of the fourth quarter.
3. San Francisco 49ers: 2019. Sure, the season isn’t over yet, but the regular season alone warrants this placement as the 8th-best performance in franchise history. With a 169-point differential, the 49ers won big and lost a few close ones on the way to 13 victories. Only time will tell if the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC can make its way to the Super Bowl to win it all for the first time in a quarter century.
2. San Francisco Giants: 2010. In addition to being the only team in the decade to finish in the Top 35 all-time franchise single-season rankings based on Pythagorean projections, the 2010 Giants also won the World Series for the organization’s first championship since 1954 when the team was still in New York. Utility man Aubrey Huff finished as the team’s best player (5.7 WAR) while also finishing seventh in the National League MVP vote. Both the 2012 and 2014 teams were considerably worse on paper.
1. Golden State Warriors: 2014-2019. It may seem a cop out to lump ALL these six seasons together, but in terms of the SRS put together by Sports-Reference.com, these six seasons represent six of the seven best seasons in franchise history, dating back 74 years. Why bother separating them?! These six seasons included five straight trips to the NBA Finals, three championships overall, and a lot of fun for Bay Area basketball fans.
Check back often in the new year for more Top 10 lists on Bay Area sports.