I wrote a solid five-worst gimmick piece two months ago. Hey, who doesn’t love to hate stuff? Why not continue? This time, instead of the previous “five worst” moniker, I’m going with “Five most hatable.” On a sports list, this only makes sense. Obviously, I won’t be talking about teams and players that are bad, as in can’t play, as that would be really dull. Statistically, I think Tommy Maddox’s 1992 season for the Denver Broncos was the worst of all time, but who wants to read an article on the Tommy Maddoxi of the world? No, this list is fully subjective. No statistic will back up my statements. This piece is solely my inarguably correct opinion.
Whenever possible, I will specify the most hatable year for the given team. Once I get to World Cup countries, baseball and individuals, stating a specific year will become impossible.
The five most hatable college football teams ever:
5. Kansas State Wildcats (1998). I’m no fan of Bill Snyder and his cupcake scheduling. They moved up the rankings feasting on the Texas Pan-Americans of the world. Their fans were insufferable, a usual trait of most teams listed here. In retrospect, I somewhat regret hating on the Cats so much, as they were never nearly as good again and clearly never will be.
4. USC (2005). A team so good it was against the law. Literally. I was particularly angry at their defeat of Notre Dame on a totally horseshit (and I’m pretty sure illegal) play. Had the Irish won, they would have gone on to the Rose Bowl to play Texas for the chip. Sure, ND would have been crushed by Texas, but at least the game wouldn’t have been vacated.
3. Colorado (1990). The Bill McCartney Buffaloes were really contemptible. For fuck’s sake, McCartney went on to found the Promise Keepers after this. Anyhow, Orange Bowl, January 1, 1991. Rocket Ismail returned a punt for a touchdown. Game over, Notre Dame wins. Oh wait, flag on the field. Clipping. Who committed the clip? Must have been an angel McCartney prayed for, since no humans on the field actually did. Have fun in the PAC 10, Fauxlarado.
2. Missouri (2007). Missouri is always easy to hate, but this team dashed KU’s national title hopes at Arrowhead. I’d be amazed if the Kansas Football Jayhawks are a national title contender again in my lifetime. At least justice was served - we went to a BCS game and they didn’t. Plus, the next year, a so-so KU squad beat a contending MU squad on the same field.
1. Florida State (1993). I can’t even discuss this rationally; I could go on for pages. At the end of the 1993 season, both Notre Dame and Florida State had one loss. Florida State’s loss was to Notre Dame, and it was decisive. Somehow FSU went to the championship, largely because Bobby Bowden cried like a little girl after losing to the Irish, begging the poll voters not to drop his team too far.
The five most hatable NFL Teams
5. Dallas Cowboys (2002). The 2002 Cowboys were nothing special. In fact, they were more notable than, say, the 2002 Seattle Seahawks, as neither team was interesting in any way. However, since the Cowboys are “America’s Team,” they were on national TV like every week, despite the fact that they went 5-11 and their only stars were on their helmets.
4. Los Angeles Raiders (1990). I kinda hated the Raiders more when they were in LA. I really hated their 1990 team because they were lucky enough to win the AFC West and get a first round bye despite losing to the Chiefs twice. At least I have the lasting image of Deron Cherry crushing Bo Jackson at Arrowhead. (Bo, BTW, is a strange study for me. In those days, he was simultaneously my favorite baseball player and my least favorite football player).
3. Miami Dolphins (1971). It’s tough to pick a year here. I hate the ’72 Dolphins for being arrogant douchebags. I hate the ’85 Dolphins for giving the ’85 Bears their only loss, and then folding in the playoffs to avoid getting crushed by the Bears in an awesome display of vengeance in the Super Bowl. Still, I’d really have to go with ’71. Despite this happening well before I was born, this team beat the Chiefs in the longest NFL game ever played, setting the table for two decades of Chiefs mediocrity.
2. Washington Redskins (1987). Beat the Bears in the playoffs in what turned out to be Walter Payton’s last game ever. Unforgivable.
1. Denver Broncos (1997). Again, tough to pick a year. Picking the Broncos’ most offensive year is like picking the year that Stalin did the most damage. I’ll go with ’97, simply because that was the Chiefs’ best year in my lifetime. Unfortunately, the two best teams in the NFL that season were in the same division, which meant they played in the divisional round of the playoffs rather than the Super Bowl. The Chiefs could have won the whole thing that year, if not for a horrible 4th down play at the end, and if only the Broncos had refrained from cheating earlier.
The five most hatable college hoops teams:
5. Bucknell/Bradley/Northern Iowa/VCU/UTEP/Rhode Island/Kentucky/Illinois/Maryland/Memphis/Holy Cross. As a KU fan, it seems I get new teams to hate every year.
4. Syracuse (2003). As my buddy Jack presciently wrote on the wall of a Florentine bar a couple years prior to this mess - Fuck Syracuse. Every day, I peruse the papers hoping to see something along the lines of “Gerry McNamara Found Stabbed in Delaware Rest Area.” So far, no such luck.
3.Arizona (1997). Really, I hate Lute and his hair every year. Like the ’97 Chiefs, the ’97 Hawks were gangbusters and overwhelming favorites to win. I saw this loss in Colorado surrounded by Missouri fans, which left me somehow hating Missouri even more.
2. Duke/North Carolina. These teams are bitter rivals, but they are equally scummy. I started hating Duke in 1986 when they beat a loaded KU squad in the Final Four. It was my first college basketball memory. Carolina and their 2000/2003 shenanigans were pathetic. At least KU murdered them in 2008.
1. Missouri (2002). I hate Missouri every year, but in 2002 they had it all going on. Horrible fans. Terrible coach. Overrated early, then underseeded despite their talent. Rush. Johnson. Stokes. Clemons. Nobody could miss a dunk like Arthur Johnson. KU defeating them in Columba on their senior night in 2002 is still my favorite regular season college game of all time.
The top five most hatable NBA teams:
5. San Antonio Spurs (1999) - lead to years of boring basketball and the dullest “dynasty” of all time.
4. LA Lakers (2010) - I liked the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of the early 2000s. However, this championship put Kobe within striking distance of Jordan’s 6 rings. I can’t get down with that.
3. Heat (2011) - no brainer here.
2. Phoenix Suns (1993) - Charles Barkley got MJ’s rightful MVP. The Suns completely ripped off the Bulls’ pre-game introductions, down to the Allan Parson’s Project. Coach Paul Westphall was a pussy, best summed up by my mom - “he reminds me of Dan Quayle.” Danny Ainge was prominently involved, though Scotty Pippen clowned him in game 3. Justice was served.
1. New York Knicks (1992) - one of only two teams that had the audacity to take the 90s Bulls juggernaut to 7 games. I still loathe John Starks.
The top five most hatable Word Cup countries:
5. Sweden - And Anderson passes to Larson! I dunno, I just don’t trust the Swedes.
4. Ghana - How the hell does America get knocked out by Ghana in two consecutive Cups? They’re like Bucknell and Bradley rolled into one.
3. North Korea - Sure, it was funny that they brought in random Chinese people to South Africa to wave their flag and “cheer” for them. I like a good totalitarian plot as much as the next guy, maybe more. On the other hand, I don’t really have to worry about any other country on this list personally gunning me down.
2. Germany - their efficient precision concerns me.
1. Switzerland - If you’re neutral, than what the fuck are you doing here? Oh yeah, there’s money to be made.
The top five most hatable professional baseball teams:
5. Chicago White Sox - I didn’t hate the Sox before I moved to Chicago, even though they were in the same division as the Royals. Sox fans made me hate the Sox. During inter league play, Sox fans would come to my neighborhood and act like high school kids with fake IDs. I don’t care for any fan base that can’t hold their drink.
4. Colorado Rockies - a fake team with a fake fan base.
3. SK Wyverns (Incheon, Korea)- SK has won the KBO championship 3 of the last 4 years. They play boring, inelegant baseball. They also hail from Incheon, South Korea’s dullest major league town.
2. St Louis Cardinals - As a Royals fan, a Cubs fan, a Kansan, and an American, it’s easy to hate the Cardinals and everything they stand for. They play in a stadium named after shitty beer. They play in one of America’s worst cities. They still bitch about Denkinger, even though the pinch runner who replaced Jose Orta was thrown out at third so it really made no difference in the game anyway.
1. New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox - It’s the same thing!
Top five most hatable individual sportsmen:
5. Eric Chenowith - Kansas Basketball is elite, particularly over the last 30 years. Unfortunately, Chenowith happened to be about the same age as me. It may not be all his fault, but it is notable that my years at KU coincided with his, and that KU was unseasonably bad throughout my college career. The Chenowith Jayhawks were seeded 1, 6, 8, and 4 in the NCAA tournament, and lost in rounds 2, 2, 2, and 3. By comparison, the following 4 years featured seeds of 1, 2, 2, and 3, and losses in rounds 5, 6, 4, and 1. The previous 4 years involved seeds of 4, 1, 2, and 1 and advancing to rounds 3, 3, 4, and 3. Chenowith - Average seed 4.75, average round 2.25. Post 4 years - average seed 2, average round 4. Pre 4 years - average seed 2, average round 3.25. The Chenowith effect - 2.75 worse seeding, 1.5 games worse in tournament performance. Fuck, I actually used concrete stats.
4. Neifi Perez - okay, here’s where most hatable player and worst player could mesh. The Royals’ trade of Jermaine Dye for Neifi in 2001 is one of the worst in baseball history. Neifi couldn’t field, couldn’t hit, and he was an asshole.
3. John Calipari - as an Italian America with an open relationship with the law, I feel like Calipari gives us a bad name.
2. John Elway - only two or three ex-girlfriends have caused more misery in my life than Elway has.
1. Johnny Damon - again, I’m going to have to quote my buddy Jack, who stated this best: fuck Johnny Damon.