The Top 10 Most Insufferable Sports Franchises

As the Miami Heat march toward a championship that seems pre-ordained, let’s take a look at the top 10 most insufferable sports franchises.

This is not about the Chicago Cubs. They are long suffering, not insufferable.

To be an insufferable franchise, you have to be good…really good. You also have to be obnoxious about it. You have to have fans who love you and others who loathe you.

When you get to the point that your fans are saying that you can’t lose, the rest of the league wants you humbled just to shut you up.

We all know who these franchises are.

If you win quietly and act professionally, that is fine. Yet if then start bragging about how quiet and professional you are, that is insufferable.

Villains are not insufferable. Heroes are. For example, take the Dallas Cowboys. The 1970s would not make the list because they really were clean and wholesome and quiet, at least with their most well known faces Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. The label “America’s Team” rankled many, but Landry and Staubach were impossible to hate. The 1980s Cowboys were totally insufferable. Danny White and his team by then were pure glamour boys. People were sick of them. They bragged about how angelic they were in winning despite not winning any championships. Ironically, the 1990s Cowboys won three championships but were not insufferable. Troy Aikman was quiet, and the team had enough criminals to make them entertaining. They were actually the bad guys.

Rex Ryan could have the Jets on this list one day, but it has only been two years. Besides, Ryan has embraced the villain role. Most importantly, they have backed it up in big ways.

The Red Sox went from long suffering lovable losers to darling lovable winners in 2004. Yet by 2007 they were on the verge of being insufferable.

The Islanders were insufferable in the 1980s, but they have been so miserable for 30 years that many people alive today did not know that they once were doing the “drive for five.” Watching the Edmonton Oilers destroy them in 1984 was fantastic, but ancient history.

The 1972 Dolphins are insufferable with their annual champagne popping ritual, but again that is ancient history. Don Shula himself was never obnoxious.

The 2000 Ravens were insufferable, and Brian Billick was the most arrogant man in all of sports. Yet they were one and done, and Billick is long gone, yet to be rehired anywhere.

The Oakland Raiders in their heyday were too hated to be insufferable. They were the villains. Insufferable requires a certain glamorous attitude, like wrapping oneself in the American flag. The Raiders wrapped themselves in pirate flags. They really were outlaws. There was no phoniness.

The Boston Celtics won many championships before the television era exploded, allowing them to escape scrutiny that exists in the internet age. Bill Russell was classy.

Plenty of teams win without being insufferable. The Steelers and Packers proved this. They have both won plenty of games, but with grit, honor, and toughness.

With that, here are the top 10 most insufferable sports franchises.

10.) Miami Heat–It is hard to have a new team rocket onto this list, but not since the 2004 Lakers has any team been despised by so many outside of the home fans. This team was brought together as a bunch of superhumans. Make it worse, their president may the most insufferable man in basketball, Pat Riley. He has taken everything people hated about the Lakers and brought it to the Heat. He took a party town and brought in celebrity fans. It was less sports than entertainment, which irks people in “real” sports towns. Is there jealousy involved? Sure. Yet so many people will be gleeful if this team fails.

9.) Connecticut Huskies (The women)–Most people can only name two people involved with women’s sports…Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt and Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma. Summitt is classy. Auriemma is classless, taking shots at Summitt. His bragging about “We have Diana Taurasi, and you don’t” was really insufferable. Men’s Coach Calhoun is a tough old battleax. He is cantankerous but somehow likable. Auriemma could learn form him how to win without being haughty.

8.) Duke Blue Devils–I have nothing against Coach K (last name hard to spell). Yet even ivy league schools have less snobbery than this university that brags that it graduates intelligent athletes. Until their most recent championship, Duke had been to the big dance 8 times. They lost 6 of those, but kept acting like they won all the time.

7.) All Women’s Sports–Let the women get angry. I don’t care. I am tired of hearing about Title IX. Outside of the 2 basketball teams I mentioned earlier, women’s sports does not bring in the big bucks. Women who complain that men get significantly more money ignore the fact that men’s sports brings in much bugger ratings. It is not sexism. It is based on merit. Schools are canceling football programs due to fear of lawsuits because 6 girls in some podunk town want millions of dollars to play rock, paper, scissors. Enough already.

6.) San Francisco 49ers–In the 1980s this team won 4 Super Bowls but was likable. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana gave us great football. Yet starting in 1990, the 49ers became incredibly pompous. George Siefert, Steve Young took over, and others were terribly full of themselves. Tim McDonald showed how to be a classless winner by saying “Same 49ers, same Rams.” The term “West Coast Offense” became code for teams bragging about having no running game. The 49ers won one Super Bowl since the 1980s but acted like they won all of them. Terrell Owens destroyed the last vestiges of what was actually a classy franchise. All the 1990s 49ers did was announce how they classy they were. They were not. What they were was a team who consistently lost big playoff games at home by getting beaten up.

5.) New England Patriots–This team sucked for 40 years, and then took arrogance to new heights. They won many games, but having to listen about “The Patriot Way” was unbearable to many NFL fans. The ultimate joy for Patriot haters was seeing the 2007 team go 16-0 and then lose in the Super Bowl. Bill Bellichick was tarnished by a cheating scandal. His assistant coaches copied his arrogant abrasive style without the results, from Eric Mangini to Josh McDaniels to the ultimate pompous coach Charlie Weis. Tom Brady is a glamour boy, and his conduct after the “Tuck Rule” game was low class. In this decade the Colts are the team that quietly goes about their business. The Patriots are the team bragging about how quiet they are. The last three years they have been humbled at home, yet they are still talking.

4.) Miami Hurricanes–This might be one of the dirtiest teams in the history of sports. For those who want to watch an outstanding documentary, check out the 30 by 30 ESPN movie about the Hurricanes. This team actually bragged about how thuggish they were. From Howard Schnellenberger to Jimmy Johnson to Dennis Erickson, the school really brought out the worst in sportsmanship. They even call themselves “The U,” as if they are the only university in America. “The U” is much more obnoxious than “America’s Team.” The low point would be the game where the players showed up in Army fatigues…and then lost. Then again, winning 4 championships in 9 years was marred by fights, and numerous off field incidents. Nebraska and Florida State were the lovable good guys. Yet villains should be likable, and Miami wasn’t. This is why the 2006 Hurricanes were such a surprise. Coach Larry Coker was a nice, humble guy. Yet he was fired, perhaps for being willing to win with decency.

3.) New York Yankees–Of course they win championships. They buy them. A few years ago they had a $200 million payroll while the Montreal Expos paid only $9 million. The Expos relocated to another city. The Yankees simply take a one million dollar player on a competitor and give them 20 million. This is what is killing baseball. Anybody who thinks this organization is classy does not know the meaning of a Bronx cheer. Billy Martin was fun the way he kept coming back, and Reggie Jackson was an all American hero kids could love. Joe Torre was likable, but George Steinbrenner won games while making enemies. Neutrality toward the Yankees is not possible. They are either worshiped or despised. Watching them lose in the World Series never gets old for Yankee haters.

2.) Los Angeles Lakers–Basketball can be an ugly game, but somehow the Lakers are always seen as glamorous. The media focuses on how handsome the players are. Even the Coach’s romance is news. This team was not insufferable until the 1980s. Magic Johnson brought “Showtime.” Larry Bird was the introvert who led the Celtics to quiet victories. The Lakers did everything loud. Despite winning nothing in the 1990s, they kept talking. Then Kobe Bryant came along, giving Laker haters rocket fuel. Yet if the Laker players were arrogant, the fans in the stands were ridiculous. It was all about the beautiful people wanting to see and be seen. Hollywood Celebrities outside of Dyan Cannon and Jack Nicholson were fairweather. Watching the 2004 Lakers try to buy a championship and get blasted in the finals was joy. Dr. Jerry Buss is very likable, yet somehow his players always seem to be in love with themselves. The media feeds this narcissism.

1.) Notre Dame Fighting Irish–Memo to this entire insufferable university: The Pope does not care if this football team wins. Listening to stories of the 4 Horsemen is beyond grating. The team even played a game in Ireland, talking about how right it felt to be there. Meanwhile the people of Ireland had no idea what the fuss was as most of the tickets went to people from Notre Dame who traveled to Europe for the game. Lou Holtz was the ultimate insufferable coach. Every year he insisted that his team was # 1, even after they would lose a game. They won 1 championship under Holtz but acted like they won 10 straight. Their independent status and fat tv contract still bothers many. The fact that they were eligible for bowl games with a 6-5 record while 8-3 teams got screwed only increased the clamor for a playoff system. It is one thing to claim the love of a nation. Yet this team acted like it was backed by God Almighty and that it spoke for an entire religion. The hiring of Charlie Weis made it reasonable to despise Notre Dame again.

This is the list of the top 10 most insufferable franchises. Have fun with it.

Now…Gentlemen…and Danica Patrick…start your engines.

Enjoy the Indianapolis 500.


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