There are a lot of teams that Seattle sports fans hate. Whether it’s because of the players, the front offices, the fans, or just the team as a whole, there are any number of reasons why we dislike certain athletic franchises. Which is why here at SSN, we’ve taken the liberty of picking out a handful of the biggest culprits in this week’s Top 11: Teams we love to hate.
11. Oakland Raiders. Ever since the Seahawks were realigned into the NFC, the rivalry has become fairly tame. But rewind to the AFC days and you’ll find a a feud as bitter as any in the NFL. Fueled throughout the 1980’s, the matchups between the Hawks and Raiders were characterized by a deafening Kingdome roar, a frenetic Raider fan base, and Bo Jackson steamrolling Brian Bosworth on his way to the end zone. The relationship may have cooled, but the mutual disrespect will exist forever.
10. Boise State Football. “Boise…..State!” If you’re a Husky football fan, chances are you’ve heard that dumbass cheer before. When Boise State visited Montlake in 2007 to take on a bad Washington football team, few experts predicted a UW victory. But amidst the gloom and doom of an otherwise forgettable season, the Dawgs knocked off the Broncos, effectively ending their season in Week 2. The fledgling rivalry was mostly inspired by surly BSU fans who couldn’t handle the early-season loss and were attempting to pick fights with any and all takers immediately following the contest. Yeah, we may have rooted for them in the ’07 Fiesta Bowl, but from here on out the gloves are off.
9. New York Yankees. Yes, they’re the universe’s most hated sports franchise, but the Yanks also have the distinction of being the first team to devirginize the Mariners in the postseason. In the miracle ’95 season, the AL West champion M’s took on the AL Wildcard Bronx Bombers in the American League Divisional Series. After engaging in an epic five-game set that required extra frames to crown a winner, the rivalry was truly born and the Yankees became the M’s first real, despisable opponent. The fans of New York may not reflect the sentiment, but in the minds of Seattle fans, the hatred still burns…just ask the guy that got banned from Safeco Field for sporting a “Yankees Suck” t-shirt.
8. Gonzaga Basketball. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that Zags fans can be truly annoying. Parading around in their red, white, and blue, Bulldog fans have trumpeted their hardwood glory in the faces of anyone and everyone, willing or unwilling. Despite the fact that they have no football team, are part of a weak conference, and have done nothing save for one trip to the Elite Eight in 1999, Zag fans will have you believe that their team is right up there with the Dukes and UConns of the world….uh, no.
The rivalry with the University of Washington reached an apex earlier in the decade with a recruiting battle over current Zag forward Josh Heytvelt, which ultimately led to a suspension of the annual matchup between the two teams and a mutual despondence for one another.
7. Utah. Not just the schools. Not just the Jazz. No, we’re talking about the whole frickin state. If you don’t have a certain level of loathing for the state of Utah’s sports teams, then chances are you’re either from Utah, don’t care about sports, or are just as crazy as those Utah fans. And they’re pretty damn crazy. These are people who scream obscenities at opposing teams for hours on end one day, then go home and preach the word of God to their children the next. Classy.
Add to that the run-ins we’ve had with some of their teams over the years–phantom flags during BYU’s visit to Husky Stadium this year, the Jazz in the Western Conference playoffs in the 90’s–and you have just the right mix of fuel and fire to brew the perfect disdain.
6. Los Angeles Lakers. “Beat L.A.!” The chant still rings in your ears if you’re a Sonics fan. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to beat L.A.? The Lakers have been the perennial showboat team of the NBA for more than two decades now, and most people are sick of it. Like the Yankees, the Lakers seemed to have attracted a plethora of the worst fans in sport: bandwagoners. That means when the Lake Show is on fire, chances are you’ll hear about it from some douchebag who doesn’t know Kurt Rambis from James Worthy (one of the two pictured left)…and that’s just wrong. We might be without the NBA (for now), but that doesn’t mean we can’t still hate on our rivals to the distant south.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers. We can debate for years whether the Steelers actually won Superbowl XL or if America’s Officiating Crew won it for them. The fact remains, however, that the Seahawks came up short in the Big Game thanks to a Pittsburgh team that eeked out a victory with a little help from some questionable calls along the way. The stinging defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of Hawks fans and had us seeing red each time we saw the Black-and-Gold on TV. Admit it, when Ben Roethlisberger fell off his motorcycle and had to get a new, weirder-looking face, the devil in you smirked a little bit. And that’s ok, that’s what rivalries are all about. Which is why for at least the next few years, until the Hawks bring home a ring of their own, the Steelers will be Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of Seattle football fans.
4. Boston Red Sox. Another example of a bandwagon gone awry, the Sox are mostly easy to hate because of their fans. The funny thing is, we can tolerate the loudmouthed New Englanders who seem to follow the Sox wherever they play on the road; it’s the local teens with “ORTIZ” jerseys, the dads with their weekend khakis and Boston “B” logo hats, and the Abercrombie frat pack that doesn’t know any better that rubs us the wrong way.
The Soxwagon has gotten so out of control that these days, if you go to a Mariners game against any opponent, chances are you’ll see at least a handful of people wearing Boston gear. When the Sox come to town, forget it; it’s not worth the hypocrisy you’ll witness at the park to go out in person and watch the game. The Yankees used to be America’s favorite team to dislike (and may have reemerged as such with their off-season acquisitions), but the Red Sox have upped their hate-ability to the point where they’re at least sharing the spotlight with their East Coast neighbors.
3. Oregon Ducks. Ah, Oregon. Technically, the Ducks should be more of a “natural” rival than the Cougars: Eugene is a mere 283 miles from Seattle, while Pullman is a whopping 285. Over the years, that proximity has created a bitter rivalry nearly as heated as the one Husky fans share with Washington State. Part of that can be blamed on the many similarities between UW and Oregon. Both schools are considered the premiere school in their state. Both schools seem to trade victories with one another (one team doesn’t necessarily dominate the modern era in any sport). Both schools seem to have a bevy of wealthy, important boosters that back the athletics programs year in and year out (the edge has to go Oregon here, though, with Phil Knight). Of course, only one school has a major National Championship, and that’s just enough to keep Duck fans from quacking too boldly when it comes to the nature of this rivalry.
2. Oklahoma City Cloudfarts. Ex-Sonics, my ass. In the eyes of Seattle sports fans, Clay Bennett’s team is one big joke (and playing like it, too). They wear the ugliest uniforms in the NBA, have the worst front office staff, play a horrible brand of basketball, and appear to have no discernable future even with a number of lottery picks on the roster. If and when Seattle receives a new NBA franchise, the team with the harshest welcome upon their visits to the Emerald City without a doubt will be OKC. There may be a number of rivalries in sports today, but few cities should have a hatred for one team the way Seattle does for the Blunder.
1. Washington State Cougars. You had to know this was coming. The Cougs are like the cold you can’t shake, the itch you can’t scratch, the perpetual thorn in the side. They’re never that good, but they always seem to get under your skin at just the right time. And their fans are everywhere. Even when they suck, passionate Coug fans cannot be kept under wraps. In a word, the Cougs are annoying.
No, the rivalry isn’t nearly as heated as some around the nation. And no, the teams don’t really trade wins and losses (the Huskies have dominated interscholastic matchups over the years). But when it comes down to it, the Cougies are the de facto enemy based on the state ties, the long-time competition (over a century), and the fact that their little brother syndrome always keeps them coming back for more. What can you do, right?