Welcome to Wednesday Weekly, where I go over your need-to-know water cooler talk, provide some of my favorite upcoming wagers, and have a bit of fun with things I like and dislike. If you’re not a fan of sports, gambling, politics, pop culture, or fun, then still read it anyway because I do it for the pageviews.
Welcome to the first ever pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday Weekly! One of the best sports holidays of the year. Football all day long on a Thursday followed by basketball and hockey all day long on a Friday is an excellent way to start a long weekend. (I want to send an apology to all the people who need to work Thursday, and an even bigger apology if you need to work Black Friday anywhere in the vicinity of retail. You guys are the real MVP). Luckily for you all, I didn’t earn the nickname “blog don’t sleep” for nothing. (Honestly, I just gave myself that nickname right now; I didn’t earn it at all). So without further adieu, Wednesday Weekly #4!
Top 5 of the Week
This week’s top 5 will feature the 5 most hateable franchises in sports. The way I am judging this is each franchise is graded from 1-10 (10 being the most hateable) on 4 different categories. The categories are success of the franchise (nobody cares about a losing team), how widespread the hate is (obviously the Ravens and Steelers hate each other, but is there isn’t really broad national hate), and how terrible their fans are. I know what you’re thinking: “You said 4 categories, but only listed 3!” Good point, reader. The ‘how terrible their fans are’ category will be split into 2 subcategories: how terrible their fans are when things are bad for their team, and how terrible their fans are when things are good for their team.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (28/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 8/10
Fans when things are good: 9/10
Fans when things are bad: 5/10
Before you tell me about how hateable the Red Wings or Penguins are, please remember that this is my list. And since I haven’t been around as many Detriot or Pittsburgh fans, they don’t make the cut. Plus, Blackhawks fans are a special kind of terrible.
While in college at the University of Wisconsin, people from Wisconsin would tell me that as Packers fans, they have much bigger rivalry with the Bears than the Vikings because they hate Chicago sports in part because the Cubs rivalry with the Brewers. While aggravating that they dismiss the Vikings, that logic is understandable. So I would ask them, since you hate Chicago sports rather than Minnesota sports, and there is no NHL team from Wisconsin, you’re a Minnesota Wild fan then right? Nope, 100% of them are “Blackhawks fans.” I’m old enough to remember 2009 when there were no Blackhawks fans around, and by the time 2015 rolled around they had more bandwagon fans than the Golden State Warriors. But where Warriors fans are a mere annoyance, Blackhawks fans are assholes, and act offended if you suggest their loyalty isn’t rock solid (despite them “just getting into hockey”). Combine that with winning 3 championships in 6 seasons (as they will constantly remind you), and you’ve got a recipe for a franchise worthy of hate. Luckily for us, they missed the playoffs last season, so there are significantly less of these people around. Good riddance!
4a. Dallas Cowboys (31/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 5/10
Fans when things are good: 9/10
Fans when things are bad: 7/10
The classic team that used to be good, but sucks now, and all of their fans constantly remind you about championships that happened more than 20 years ago. Styled “America’s Team” based on their widespread fandom (I didn’t say bandwagon, but I sure am thinking it loudly) their fans somehow don’t realize that they’ve sucked for 2 decades now. We’re forced to watch this team on national TV seemingly every week, despite them consistently being one of the most boring teams in league. I’ve never even had to deal with Cowboys fans when they’ve been good (they won their last championship when I was 4 years old), but based on how arrogant their fans are about those years, I’m sure they were awfully hateable in the 1990s. Everyone who isn’t a Cowboys fan hates the Cowboys, and that’s plenty to get them on this list.
4b. Green Bay Packers (31/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 6/10
Fans when things are good: 7/10
Fans when things are bad: 10/10
One of the most successful franchises in NFL history, this group is in the same boat as the Cowboys. They love to regale you of stories of their 13 championships (despite only 2 being in the Super Bowl Era). They’ve had 2 of the 10 best quarterbacks of all-time for the past 20+ seasons and have won a grand total of 2 super bowls. Ouch. But when the Packers are bad, they still have the arrogance of a team that deserves to win every game. What’s worse, is they have a history of comeback wins (Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre kinda just do that) so they feel justified in their arrogant nonsense. As if that’s not enough, they pretend they’re better than the rest of the league with their “ownership” scam. Spare me. They’ve even tried to steal the “America’s Team” nickname from the Cowboys as if to shout from the rooftops “hate us even more!” We do, Packers fans. We do.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (33/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 8/10
Fans when things are good: 8/10
Fans when things are bad: 9/10
Let me start by saying the Lakers name doesn’t make any sense. They were the “Lakers” because there’s a lot of lakes around Minneapolis, where they started. If you’re moving to Los Angeles, why would you keep that name? Also, they have 5 banners hanging in Los Angeles that were won in Minnesota. Why? Are you really proud of that history? Do you think the Oklahoma City Thunder love Shawn Kemp like one of their own? I don’t get it. But that’s the least of what makes the Lakers so hateable.
Not only do they get big free agents every time one is available (seriously, almost every title they have can be traced back to a free agent choosing – or about to choose – Los Angeles), but they act as though they deserve every free agent, and get bailed out every time a superstar chooses Los Angeles. Even when the Lakers are bad, they always have the allure of the next free agency, so they never have the franchise despair the rest of the league needs to deal with. Not only that, but I still don’t understand why free agents never get on board with the Clippers. It’s literally the same city and stadium! I understand that Donald Sterling was a trashcan owner, but with Steve Ballmer they should get more of those guys (looking at you LeBron, ya big asshole).
2. New England Patriots (35/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 9/10
Fans when things are good: 8/10
Fans when things are bad: 9/10
The Patriots have the greatest dynasty in the history of the most difficult sport to become a dynasty. The start of this amazing run just also happened to coincide with championships from all of their other professional sports teams in Boston. The expectation of winning is bad enough, but the laughable nature of when they’ve been behind (28-3 anyone?) just to come back and win is infuriating. Mix that with the fact that people from Boston are assholes to begin with (Sidenote: Boston is the worst fanbase outside of Philadelphia and I feel gross not including any Philly squads) and it’s a misery to be around Pats fans during a football game. They pout when they’re losing, complain when they don’t get favorable calls (of which they get most), and either gloat about winning or dismiss any loss as lucky or “not important.” Also, this is the most self-victimizing franchise ever. They’ve been caught cheating multiple times, and act like everything is a conspiracy against them. I’m not sure if they know how conspiracies work, but if there was a conspiracy against the Pats, they wouldn’t win so god damn always.
1. New York Yankees (38/40 hateability score)
Franchise Success: 10/10
Fans when things are good: 10/10
Fans when things are bad: 8/10
As if anyone else could take the throne. The Yankees are the gold standard for people hating them. Not only do they have the most championships in all of sports (27), but they pay more than any other team, so they’ve never even had the streak of bad seasons that every other franchise has to deal with. They have entitled fans who love to shove their titles in your face seemingly more than they enjoy winning them. This is also the franchise that hates Alex Rodriguez, a player who’s success and production any other MLB team would build a statue for, and unironically tells players that they need to win a championship to “earn their pinstripes.” No other franchise could get away with telling players that unless they are the best in the league, they aren’t worthy of the uniform they wear. Doug Stanhope said it best: Fuck the Yankees.
Overall Record: 7-6-0
NFL Record: 4-4-0
NBA Record: 3-2-0
So this past week was a real gut punch. I started out hot winning the first 2 bets, and I had the Bulls +14 for my 3rd. The Bulls were up 18 at half, so I felt pretty damn good. No way the Bucks outscore them by 32 in the second half, right? Wrong – of course they did. Combine that with losing all 3 of my NFL spread picks by a combined total of 10 points, and suffice it to say I had a rough week. But you can’t be a degenerate gambler without expecting the tide to turn after a bad week, and with Thanksgiving football this week, let’s get back on the horse.
Last week, I really wanted to bet on the Chiefs +3 (it would have been a tie, so no harm no foul) and the Saints -8.5 (it would have been a huge win) because those teams can seemingly put up big numbers against anyone (fair play – I thought the same thing about the Steelers and Falcons). I think I had the right idea, just the wrong picks and ran into a bit of bad luck. This week I’ll be better.
Detroit +3.5 vs Chicago
So this is not my most confident pick, but I wanted to give a pick for every Thanksgiving game, since you’ll probably be watching them. The Bears have been awesome on defense, and good enough offensively to win games. But they aren’t without flaws. They have been gashed on short, underneath routes, which is where Stafford (during his non-terrible games) excels. Kerryon Johnson is out, but combining Theo Riddick’s receiving out of the backfield with their bigger backs LeGarrett Blount and Zach Zenner filling in can replace what Johnson brings. With Marvin Jones likely to return, I don’t think the Lions are completely stagnant on offense. This game stays close, and I trust Matt Stafford (the all-time passing leader on Thanksgiving) more than Mitchell Trubisky to come ready to play Thursday morning.
Dallas -7.5 vs. Washington
This division was flipped upside down last week when Alex Smith broke his leg, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Redskins. A quick turnaround for Colt McCoy to prepare doesn’t bode well. And even though he’s undefeated against the Cowboys, the Cowboys look ready to take the title from the Redskins as the
worst division leader in the NFL leader of the NFC East. I hate the extra 0.5 on the line, but the Cowboys are built to keep a lead. If Ezekiel Elliott gets the ball as much as he should, Dallas should take care of business.
New Orleans -13.5 vs. Atlanta
I’ve picked the Falcons each of the past 2 weeks, and both have been losses (for both the spread AND the game). I’ve talked myself back and forth over and over from Saints to Falcons, but I just can’t get over that a two touchdown lead wins the bet. The Saints are playing great and the Falcons, well, aren’t. The Falcons should not be getting blown out, and as hard as is it to admit, I finally gotta be out on the Falcons.
Atlanta at New Orleans – Over 61.0
This is a much easier pick to stomach. Neither team is known for their defense, and despite the improvements we’ve seen from the Saints defense, they’ve still allowed 24 points per game over their past 3 games. Sure, it’s a high over/under, but I don’t see this being a low scoring affair, and life’s too short to bet the under.
Carolina -3 vs. Seattle
This is a game with huge playoff implications and two of the most exciting quarterbacks in the game. The Seahawks defense has had it’s issues, but they’ve dealt with the loss of Earl Thomas better than I expected. They’ve shown life since their slow start, and except for the short trip to San Francisco in week 14, this is their final away game of the season. Still, the trip East is difficult, and the Panthers haven’t lost at home this season. I expect Cam Newton and the aggressive Panthers defense to control the game and come out on top.
Milwaukee -7 vs. Portland
The Trail Blazers have looked great, but they’re on their 5th game of a 6-game road trip, including the second night of a back-to-back flying to Milwaukee from New York. The Bucks played at home on Monday and have an extra day of rest. Despite the teams being similar, I expect a rested team with a home crowd to win most of the time.
Houston -9 vs. Detriot
The Rockets have finally returned to form. I mentioned a few weeks ago that they would. This team has won their last 4 games by an average of 15.75 points, each win by double digits. The Pistons have been their normal (completely average) selves and won’t be able to stick with a Rockets team playing this well.
Things I Like and Things I Don’t Like
Last Week’s Monday Night Football Game. If you didn’t watch MNF this week, you missed out on an instant classic. With a final score of 54-51 and over a thousand yards of total offense, this was perhaps the best (and most fun) football game of the season.
I don’t like
Ancient NFL coaches who still can’t adapt. We’ve seen what modern play-calling can do and we know the benefits of going for it more often on 4th down and 2-point conversions. Yet some coaches are still stuck in their old ways, and continue to refuse to give their team the best chance to win. I love that Mike McCarthy is the coach of the team I root against, but he’s not the only coach hindering the success of his team, and if the NFL wants to improve the product on the field, start with the coaches.
Gary Clark. Every lineup this guy plays in absolutely crushes for the Rockets. He’s the perfect addition to their rotation, and Houston fans should be very excited to have him and James Ennis taking Carmelo Anthony’s minutes.
I don’t like
Carmelo Anthony hate. Sure, he’s pretty bad today, and doesn’t provide much outside of shooting a lot. That’s fine, and you can hate on post-2015 Carmelo all you want. But since when do we judge players on the worst years of their careers? Why isn’t Shaquille O’Neal a laughingstock like Carmelo? Let’s at least remember to put our criticisms into context. He started his career with 14 straight seasons of scoring at least 20 points per game, including 7 seasons scoring at least 25 points per game. Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade are tied at 20th all-time for total seasons scoring at least 25 points per game – each with just 5! Melo might be a shell of himself, but he was a cold-blooded killer for more than a decade. Put some ‘respek’ on his name.
Watching Duke play basketball. They are far and away the most fun college basketball team I’ve ever seen play.
Maybe second most fun after those Bo Ryan Wisconsin teams with solid fundamentals that would get a 9 seed in the tournament each year. We’re watching the likely top 2 picks in the NBA draft and at least 3 lottery picks play for the same team. I stick by my prediction that this team won’t lose a game all season – despite them being down 14 points to Gonzaga as I write this.
I don’t like
The NBA eligibility requirements. They have been changed multiple times over and I still think all of the rules are dumb. If a player is good enough to get drafted, he should be eligible to get drafted. It’s honestly ridiculous to say that RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are not ready for the NBA right now. As much as this Duke team is a blast to watch, I’d much rather see these two playing for NBA teams right now.