Nine championships in a decade bring a lot to a city. They bring jubilation and an irrational sense of happiness and self-worth that inevitably makes you realize that sports mean a little too much to you, and they also bring millions of annoying bandwagon fans, unfortunately. But they also bring a sense of hatred for whichever team that our guys face in their sport’s championship game or series. There have been eight different franchises that have lost to Boston sports teams in the 21st century (I’m combining the 2004 and 2013 Cardinals, because I’m referring to franchises and not specific teams here), and for some, that hatred is temporary. it lasts only as long as the lead up and the duration of the championship itself. For others, that hatred will last until the day we die.
Before ranking the ones that we hate the most, we need to analyze what makes such hatred permanent. There’s no clear objective formula with regards to measuring either your own personal feelings or the city’s general feelings, but some characteristics consistently stick out like Tharold Simon stuck out in Tom Brady’s mind in the Super Bowl. In no particular order, they are: How whiny the team is, how much the team’s fans are sanctimonious about them, how hateable specific players are for the other team, how much of a worthy opponent the team actually was, and how much the championship meant to us Bostonians. Ok, now let’s get on with it. And here we go.
8. Carolina Panthers
You know how I know that the Panthers are last on the list? Because when people in Boston talk about the Panthers this season, they actually talk about Cam Newton, The Dab, Josh Norman, how awesome of a kick returner Ted Ginn is, how horrendous of a receiver Ted Ginn is, and finally, the one time every conversation when the Boston College alum knocks over 17 people to enter the conversation to ask, “Did you know Luke Kuechly went to BC?????!!!!!!” We don’t bring up the Super Bowl against the Panthers unless we’re talking about the Pats’ dynasty as a whole, which Super Bowl performance of Brady’s was the best, or Janet Jackson’s nipple.
Why are they ranked 8th? First of all, the Panthers weren’t in the same class as the Patriots, and we all knew it. They knew how to play well against contenders that year, which is how they manhandled the Eagles on defense in the NFC Championship game, but it just felt like the Pats were supposed to beat them. Hard to breed real contempt there.
7. Colorado Rockies
I recently went to Colorado for the Pats-Broncos game where I also saw the Winnipeg Jets play the Avalanche the night before, and I have to say that I’m glad that Boston sports fans and Colorado sports fans didn’t develop any real hatred from the 2007 World Series. Denver’s fans were very gracious to outside fans like me, if not soft in many respects. It’s a city that’s low on diversity, which is an underrated attribute of a city, but at least Denver is full of chill white people who mind their business and don’t bother anyone but are still very polite. That’s probably just the weed, but still, Denver sports fans don’t deserve our full hatred. That could change if the Pats face the Broncos in the playoffs this year for the final Brady-Manning matchup ever, but not after 2007. Add in zero abjectly hatable players on the Rockies and a team who was clearly inferior to the Red Sox, and they clock in just ahead of the Panthers.
6. St. Louis Rams
These rankings just took a step up. The Panthers and Rockies comprise of the 1st tier of hatred, and now we’ve entered the 2nd. The Rams probably wouldn’t be a level up if I did these rankings a year ago, but Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk got awfully holier-than-thou about Deflategate. Seemed kinda like sore losers, and neither they nor the NFL eager to kill the (COMPLETELY FALSE) report that the Pats taped the Rams’ walkthrough before the Super Bowl. Makes me happy that they’re gonna have to remember that they lost to a 14-point underdog with a backup Quarterback for the rest of their lives.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
There was nothing really hateable about that Eagles team other than Terrell Owens, but he balled out in Super Bowl 39 in a losing effort, and you have to respect that. The reason that they’re in the same tier as the Rams is simple: It’s Philly. The city of dirty, scummy fans. Yes, that’s a stereotype and definitely an unfair one, but I really don’t care. I feel about Philly sports fans the same way I think that most people do: Realize that it’s a huge generalization of a fan base, but stick with it because it’s at least close enough to true.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Now onto the 3rd tier. There’s just something about the Seahawks. Rationally, I don’t think we should hate the Seahawks and their fans, but I can’t avoid it, either. You know how a teacher deals with a troublesome kid or a referee deal with a rat in hockey who isn’t quite breaking the rules, but absolutely deserves a penalty just for being a punk? The little rat keeps pushing boundaries and doing stuff that the authority figure shouldn’t hate rationally, but after enough time of being a prick in tons of minor ways, the teacher or ref finally decides, “Ok, you’re gone.” That’s how I feel about the Seahawks. Pete Carroll is a legitimate hatred because he tried to bury the Patriots so far that Belichick couldn’t rescue them from down under. (Just kidding, Bill Belichick could have rescued the Patriots from the earth’s core.) But i respect Richard Sherman and find him to be a really valuable asset to the NFL and the sports community. But there’s something about Sherman and his gesture about Darrelle Revis that makes this gif a never-ending source of happiness for me:
Also, Seattle finished tied for 17th in Nielsen Ratings for the Super Bowl for major U.S. markets, while Boston came in 1st. Seattle was tied with Atlanta, which is a sorry sports town if there ever was one. I was also lucky enough to attend Super Bowl 49, and I noticed that the game wasn’t a borderline religious experience for Seahawks fans like it was for Pats fans. I think that Seattle fans are more in love with being part of the “12th Man” than they love the team itself, and you could say that I sorta kinda don’t like those types of fanbases. Throw in the importance of Super Bowl 49 to Pats fans and the arrogance of the Seahawks, and you have yourself the #4 team on this list.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards are another tier up from the Seahawks. I’m not a big fan of Tony La Russa, but other than him, there is no on-field reason to hate the Cardinals. Why are they number 3, then? Well, my friend, that’s a very simple answer. Follow this Twitter account mocking the sanctimonious nature of “Baseball’s Best Fans” in St. Louis, and be sure to check in with the account’s tweets during the MLB playoffs and whenever the Cardinals sign someone in free agency, miss out narrowly on someone like David Price, or have one of their players leave for another team. Every city’s fans are too sanctimonious to some level, and Boston’s fans might be near the top of the list right now, but there’s a special level of that patheticness (Yep, I made that word up, deal with it.) that is reserved for St. Louis Cardinals fans and few other people on this planet.
2. Vancouver Canucks
Alex Burrows biting the one dude on the Bruins that you objectively have less than zero reason to hate. Maxim Lapierre mocking Bergy for that bite. Roberto Luongo being a bitch in so many ways that I can’t give you just one link for it. The Sedin twins for being such big pussies that every time you hear the debate in the Boston area over whether or not “pussy” is an acceptable or slightly sexist word to use for someone, the first reference will be to the Sedins and the accompanying mantra of “The Sedin Sisters.” Ryan Kesler for making everyone in America immediately forget how much we loved him in the 2010 Olympics where he was spectacular while playing on his NHL team’s home ice. Their fans for rioting.
That series got personal between both the players and fan bases by the end of Game 1, and it won’t stop feeling personal until one of the franchises is disbanded. After the Canadiens, the Canucks are my most hated hockey team by far, and it’s all because of 7 games. i hope that we remember to look back years later on how impressive that lone series was to cause that much hatred between the cities and teams.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
So here’s the thing. I’m already over 1500 words, and soon I’m going to publish a column about why I hate the Lakers and Kobe more than I hate the Yankees, which is rare around here. That Finals win in 2008 was a huge deal for the Celtics, and even if 2010 never happened, it would have still been the perfect continuation for the hatred that Celtics fans had fostered for the Lakers and their fans back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. For the full details of why I hate the Lakers so much and why you should feel the same, you’ll have to wait for that column. But they’re in their own 5th and final tier, and there’s no one whom a Boston sports team has beaten to earn a championship since 2001 that you should hate more than the Lakers. Not even a question about it.
What do you think of the list? Please let me know your feelings either on Twitter or in the comments of the post itself.