Watching the Dallas Mavericks battle the Miami Heat on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it became apparent that America has not been this united in a rooting interest since the World Cup (you remember that month you cared about soccer, right?). Everybody is rooting for the Mavericks. Well, everybody with a heart, that is.
There are just some teams people love to root against. The Yankees and Red Sox in baseball, the Celtics in basketball, Duke men's hoops, all of SEC football, you get the picture.
In fact, there are some people who don't even follow a team but just like to root against certain squads. (And in the irony of ironies, I feel that most Americans will be rooting for the Vancouver Canucks over the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals.)
This whole notion of hating on other teams isn't a bad thing, either. Believe me, "Star Wars" becomes a whole lot different if there is no Darth Vader.
But we will count down the most vilified teams in the NFL.
Considered: Both New York teams. People in Los Angeles love to talk about getting that extra game on Sunday because we don't have a team. Instead, we get the Giants every week. This is reason enough for people to want the NFL to return. And the Jets for obvious reasons, too, but their boasts are considered humorous until they win a Super Bowl.
And without further ado ...
6. Philadelphia Eagles
This is no knock against the awesome Philly fans. If you read Nick Bakay's entertaining NFL.com columns last season, you would know there are a number of football fans who will never forgive Michael Vick. And I thought I would be in that class, too, until I won the majority of my fantasy football leagues with Vick as my quarterback.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Surprised? The Steelers have long done things the right way, so it makes it easier when they break your heart as a kid (Super Bowl XIV). But just like Vick, people are still strongly rooting against Ben Roethlisberger. And then there is the constant whining about not being able to play by the rules. Nobody likes excuses.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have been known to take on players with -- how to put this delicately -- off-the-field troubles. And yet, people still have found Chad Ochocinco worse. The good thing about rooting against the Bengals to lose is that you end up getting that wish fulfilled seemingly weekly.
3. New England Patriots
The Patriots were completely loveable when they knocked off hated St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, one of the biggest upsets of all time. But then Tom Brady married a super model as the team continued to win Super Bowls, and the Patriots were involved in that videotaping scandal. Eventually, people turned on the Patriots and actually rooted for the Giants in the Super Bowl. Not me, but most people.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Here are a few things that unite our country -- Thanksgiving, the Cowboys losing and Blake Lively photos. Two of those can happen on the same day, three if you're Leonardo DiCaprio. The Cowboys have earned the nation's ire with this America's Team business by always winning and always beating your favorite team. Or they used to. Now, their quarterback is more famous for wedding rings than Super Bowl rings.
1. Oakland Raiders
Al Davis has always embraced the outlaw image, but it's the Raiders fans who make things like Super Bowl XXXVII one of the greatest days in our nation's history. And you not only root against the Raiders in the big games but the preseason, too. Raiders fans clogged the phone lines of sports talk radio making Super Bowl predictions after JaMarcus Russell played well in the 2009 preseason. In good years, or even bad years (like the last decade), the Raiders are always fun to root against.
And besides, when you have Darth Raider in your fan base, you have to root against them.