9. Boston Redsox
Yankee fans were way ahead of the curve on this one. While the NYY-BOS rivalry has always been in full affect, the Yankees dominance during the Jeter era found the whole country rooting for the lovable underdogs to the north. It turns out that America ONLY loved the Sox in the underdog role. M!!s are a scrappy, lovable bunch when they’re down in the dumps. When they’re winning, they’re like Yankees fans with less bearable accents. Further, the underdog status vanished pretty quickly when Red Sox Nation developed a payroll that surpassed the GDP of several Latin American countries, second only to you-know-who in the majors.
8. Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones. The figurehead of the Dallas Cowboys encapsulates everything that America hates about their own damn team. He’s got hubris, bravado, arrogance, and a pretty strong track record during the 90’s. The Cowboys were a phenomenal team in the 70’s and again in the mid-90’s, so everyone stepped up their game. In the NFC East, every division game is a rivalry game, so right there, the Cowboys lost votes in DC, Philly, and NYC. Then there were the regular conference rivals in the playoffs in San Fran and Green Bay. Now that Houston’s got a team, they’re a rival too. And that’s before we even discuss the impact of Michael Irvin, Nate Newton, and the other members of Bizarro Ocean’s 11. There was a time when the Cowboys were repped by Tom Landry and Roger Staubach and were loved. That ain’t gonna happen again as long as Mr. Jones is still kickin’.
7. Miami Heat
Welcome to the list, Miami. A lot can happen in a summer. Every sport has an evil empire (though hockey’s is harder to peg down) and Miami just left Boston and LA in the dust. If you listen carefully, you can hear LeBron James’ PR team screaming as the jump off the roof of the tallest building on Collins Ave. They WERE a cute enough team, with the gentlemanly Dwayne Wade leading the way. They won a championship that appeared to be handed to them by the refs, and America STILL didn’t hate them. But then they land this decades Judas and spend the rest of bank account on Chris Bosh, who has all the charm and personality of a sack of doorknobs. Even the league’s biggest optimists are vocally hoping for a train wreck in South Beach, and why wouldn’t they? Things are boring when they go the way they should.
6. New England Patriots
Oh, Boston. You used to be cool. Then you started winning. The Pats were met with the developments on this list. They got Tom Brady, the most handsome man in the history of handsome men. Not good. Sports fans hate good looks. That’s why Joe Namath was so popular. They got Bill Belichick, who smiled once in 1983 when he ran over a chipmunk. Those two acquisitions led to the third development: lots and lots of success. Accusations of cheating rocketed them up this list, and Brady started banging Giselle, which pissed off everyone cause she was supposed to be saving herself for us. When Wes Welker, a 4’8” white wide receiver can’t sway popular sentiment, you know that they’ve passed the point of no return.
5. Detroit Pistons
The Bad Boys of the late 80’s became the bad boys of the mid-2000’s during a fateful night in Auburn Hills when basketball became interactive with the fans. Detroit fans and players have always had a thuggish reputation, but the players of recent years had done a good job of keeping their noses clean until the brawl undid most of that. Couple the unpleasantness with some serious postseason success, and it’s easy for everyone to[..]ume that the recent teams haven’t been one iota different than they were in the Laimbeer era. Which isn’t really true, but this piece is all about perception, and that perception still exists, only now no one cares cause they aren’t very good anymore.
4. Philadelphia Flyers
At least one Philly team had to make the list, and the Flyers do the best job of portraying all the traits fans hate about Philly sports. Yeah, Eagles fans throw batteries, and Phillies fans are ginormous fat kids that intentionally puke on little girls, but the Flyers are the worst players in the city. There’s a reason they were named the Broad Street Bullies during their run in the 70’s and 80’s. These guys were thugs that seemed to be as happy hurting players as they did winning games. If there was a cinematic equivalent, these guys would be the Hawks in “The Mighty Ducks.” Having the hated Chris Pronger on your team probably won’t do much to help get you out of the doghouse these days, even though their worst years are probably behind them. Also, they traded for Eric Lindros. I don’t really have a point with that comment, it’s just fun to remind Flyers fans that their team traded for Eric Lindros.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Showtime! Everything people hate about LA, they hate about the Lakers. The players and fans are arrogant and dispassionate (save for Kobe), their head coach during the 80’s was too slick. And they have had tremendous success over the past 30 years. More than any other team. If you’re looking for a constant throughout all these entries, it’s success. Nobody hates bad teams. People love them. They love to play against them, and they love to root for them. Lakers fans are seemingly all celebrities that show up in the 2nd quarter and leave in the 3rd. They valet at the stadium. They eat sushi all the time. Few teams better represent their city more than the Lakers do. And few cities are more reviled for being Godless abysses than Los Angeles, home of Lohan. Do the math.
2. Oakland Raiders
If I have to explain why the Raiders are hated one more time in this column I’m going to lose my mind. I should just get business cards printed up, and on the back, they should say, “Here is why nobody outside of prison or Oakland likes the Raiders. Al Davis is the ugliest, most vile owner in sports. Their fans will st@b you and your six year-old daughter with a rusty screwdriver if either of you look at them funny. Their head coach beats women, and, what’s worse is that he LOOKS like he would beat women. The guy is the poster child for rage issues. Sebastian Janikowski. JaMarcus Russell. Todd Marinovich. Al Davis again. The guy that carjacked me was wearing a Radiers jacket.” That’s what the card would say. And you know what? The card would be right about EVERYTHING.
1. New York Yankees
Like there was any question. Years of dominance, an outspoken, obnoxious fan base, and a roster of alumni that includes Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, a defected Roger Clemens, and A-Rod all equates to a team that baseball fans outside of the Tri-State area can hardly stomach. Bill Simmons once received a poetic email from a Red Sox fan that stated simply, “Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack.” They’ve got every advantage and they’re always supposed to win, so why the hell would you root for them. I can’t put it much better than that reader. Their success has always been misery to every other team in the league, AL or NL.