By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 11, 2007 at 5:26 AM

I was reading something the other day and the writer referred to the Packers as a "storied" NFL franchise.

That got me to wondering about the word "storied," and how and where it applies in the world of sports.

The first problem, of course, is what the word means. The dictionary says it's something "celebrated in history." But as it relates to sports, it's something even more. It's not just celebrated. It's remembered and admired and almost worshipped.

I don't think there's any doubt about the Packers being a storied franchise.

Vince Lombardi and television arrived on the scene at about the same time. People began watching the NFL and the team they watched was the Packers.

Green Bay won. The Packers had memorable players. They had a long history, almost from the beginning of the league. And, of course, they had Green Bay, the only small town in America that is home to a major sports franchise.

So, Green Bay is an easy choice for storied.

But what other teams or franchises can wear that word and deserve it? It can't be too many, or else the word doesn't mean much. But let's look at those who are storied and see if we can figure out just what it means.

You don't necessarily have to be a winner to be a storied franchise. Look at the Chicago Cubs. Clearly, this is a franchise with a storied history but their trophy case is empty. They've become storied because of the players who have played there. And losing has played a big part in the creation of the Cubs story as has the city of Chicago itself. So let's add the Cubs to our list, but strike championships as one requirement for the storied designation.

Baseball is a difficult sport to figure because it is so intimately ingrained in the fabric of our society.

I think it's easy to say the New York Yankees are a storied franchise. They have the city of New York. They had Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Maris and Yogi Berra. They won titles.

But are the Boston Red Sox a storied franchise? Are the Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers or the San Francisco/New York Giants? What about the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest team in baseball? Although you can say good things about all of them, I don't think they qualify as storied.

Look at the National Basketball Association.

I don't think there is any doubt that the Boston Celtics are a storied franchise. They won all those titles. They had Red Auerbach. Think of how many of their players the average fan can name. The list seems endless.

What about the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers? They had both George Mikan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Great teams, but not storied. How about the Bulls, with Jordan and so many titles? I think not.

The New York Knicks? This one is a tough call. Willis Reed and Clyde Frazier. Red Holzman. And New York as the backdrop. I'm not sure whether to give it to the Knicks or not, and since I'm not sure, I guess the answer is no.

Now, on to football. After the Packers there are candidates like the Giants, Browns, Steelers, Bears, Lions, Redskins and, maybe the Cowboys.

They can't all be storied, right? The Bears might have a slight edge because of George Halas. But what about the Giants and Wellington Mara, or the Rooney family and all those Super Bowls for Pittsburgh?

I think there are lots of great and honorable franchises. But storied franchises? Four of them. Green Bay, the Celtics, the Yankees and the Cubs.

Three of the four have a lot in common. Titles. Media exposure. Famous players. Great coaches and managers.

And then there are the Cubs.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.