One thing most sports fans can agree about is that we all hate Boston sports teams. No other city encapsulates the collective vitriol from competing cities quite like the athletes from Massachusetts. Even the most arrogant city in America, New York, doesn’t enlist the same collective annoyance. Understanding the hatred behind the New England Patriots is pretty simple. They’ve been caught cheating, their coach is smug and cocky, they run up the score on opponents, their leader is essentially a model who dates the most famous supermodel in the world, and opposing teams cannot hit said leader without securing the wrath of the referees. For full disclosure, I can’t stand the New York Giants, but I never rooted harder for a team than I did the Giants during Super Bowl 42. There was no way I could stomach the damn Patriots having a perfect season and winning the Super Bowl. Moreover, last week’s game against Buffalo was only a week 3 matchup, but I was standing on my couch cheering for the Bills like it was a playoff game. I haven’t cared about the Bills since Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, an Andre Reed were introducing the world to the no huddle offense. The funny thing about Patriot hate is that it is so new. Just 20 years ago no one could care any less about the crappy team. In fact, 25 years ago the Pats were getting stomped in Super Bowl 20 by the Chicago Bears 46-10. Things began to change in 1993 when Bill Parcells was hired as coach. He developed a winning culture and obtained favorable talent. After Pete Carroll’s wasted tenure, the team hired Bill Belichick, and the rest is history. If this nouveau hatred persists I wouldn’t be surprised, because Tom Brady is still annoying (despite not actually doing anything wrong … in many ways he’s like Tim Tebow), Belichick is still a bastard, and the former stars like Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison are always on television to tell us how great they are.
Boston Celtic hate has actually simmered in recent years. Essentially it boiled down to one factor, race. Black fans were supposed to cheer for the Lakers and white fans for the Celtics. It’s almost unfortunate that countless black fans didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate the greatness of Larry Bird and those 80’s Celtics teams because of those misguided opinions. Were the Celtics racist in the 60’s and 70’s? It’s all very possible, but what does that have to do with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Bill Walton? Not very much, but that hatred remained until the Celtics started to suck during the Rick Pitino, Antoine Walker years. Maybe that was the best thing that could have happened to the team. Not only did the jealousy hatred disappear, but the team was lead by a couple of black guys (Walker and Paul Pierce), so the racist hatred disappeared also. Fast forwarding the near present, Boston has actually captured much popularity by bringing in sympathetic figures Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. People who would have ordinarily rooted for the Lakers wanted Garnett to win his first championship after so many horrific years in Minnesota. After securing that championship, the pendulum has started to swing back in the other direction, as many fans are annoyed with Garnett’s theatrics. He’s always had these behaviors by the way, but now that he’s on a winning team all of his games are nationally televised. What keeps the Celtics quite popular is that they’re a fun team to watch. Rajon Rondo is a pure point guard so the team plays the right way. Everyone on the team plays hard and other than Garnett, everyone is quite likeable. I imagine the détente on the hatred will remain for a while because the team is fun to watch, and the one controversial figure, Garnett, will be retiring soon.
Glenn Jordan made a song titled “We All Love the Red Sox.” He couldn’t be any more far from the truth? Actually we all hate the Red Sox, always have and always will. In my generation we have them because the fans are beyond arrogant and insufferable. The loveable loser thing they and the Cubs fans had was mildly amusing, but once the Sox won the World Series in 2004 all rationale thought was lost. It didn’t seem possible, but the fans became even worse, as they now expected championship success every year. What worse is that when the team’s payroll is in excess of 200 million why should they not be in contention every year? When the world eventually found out that the teams’ two best players were using performance enhancing drugs all of America’s beliefs were validated, but it didn’t quell the haughty attitude of Bostonians. This is exactly why everyone relished in the epic collapse they went through this year to miss the playoffs. No one cares that the Atlanta Braves suffered an even worse debacle than Boston; the awesome landslide was basically Sox fan’s comeuppance for all they’ve put America through. I’m not even going to delve into how the Sox treated Jackie Robinson or that they were easily the last team to allow black players. I wasn’t alive during that time and can’t fully embrace the climate of that day, but one can’t ignore when countless elderly black people say that no one of color should root for the Red Sox. All I know is that individually none of the Sox seems like a bad guy, but since they wear that uniform, they must be hated. I’m pretty sure the disdain for the Sox will continue indefinitely. They will continue to be in an arms race with the Yankees, so 200 million dollar payrolls and regular season success will continue. With those things comes over exposure on ESPN and continued spoiled fans aka Red Sox Nation.
Let’s be honest, no one cares about hockey anymore. I honestly didn’t even remember that the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last season. Until the NHL returns to a channel that we’ve all heard of, it’s off the radar. There is no hatred for the Bruins because no one knows who they are, and that will continue for the foreseeable future.