Public Enemy No. 1: Luke Scott and 7 Sports Figures Who Are Villains in Boston
The city of Boston has a rich sports history filled with championship glory and immortal athletes. When a city has so much history, it’s only logical that villains from different franchises will be formed. These are players who will forever be met with hatred and vitriol in the city because of their acts on the field, court, and ice.
Villains are not necessarily players who are hated for their dominant play against Boston sports teams. A true villain is despised for his dirty play and arrogance.
Luke Scott has been working his way up the villains list as of late. The Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter called the team’s historic ballpark a “dump” and referred to the fan base as “vulgar.”
Scott’s comments have made him a public enemy in Boston. His newly acquired status as a sports villain in the city of Boston brings up a major question. Who are the most hated villains in Boston sports history?
7. Manning Brothers
You have to combine these two not only because they are brothers, but because neither one is arrogant or a dirty player. They are villains for the pain and suffering they have brought to the city.
Peyton Manning used to be dominated by the New England Patriots. He put up great numbers in the regular season, but crumbled whenever he came to Foxboro during the postseason.
Then something changed. Peyton’s Colts started to defeat the Patriots in big games. The most heartbreaking was in the 2006 AFC championship game in which the Patriots led by 18 points at halftime.
Peyton has always been thought of as the exact opposite of Tom Brady in the city of Boston; a quarterback who cares more about his own stats than his team’s success. The fact that Manning gained more recognition and accolades when it was Tom Brady who brought home three Super Bowl rings rubbed Boston fans the wrong way.
Eli’s villain status in the city of Boston is a little different. He has beaten the team in their last two Super Bowl appearances, and has prevented their star quarterback from being viewed as the best of all time.
Like Peyton, Eli is not a dirty player. He is hated because he stopped the Patriots from reaching their full potential. He stepped up in the Giants Super Bowl victories over the Patriots and took away two titles from the city of Boston.
6. Ulf Samuelsson
Samuelsson is the lone hockey villain on the list. He was an irritant that every Bruins fan grew to detest.
His legacy as a Boston villain was sealed when he laid a knee to knee hit on Bruins star Cam Neely during the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Many believe that hit attributed to Neely’s injury issues that plagued him for the rest of his career.
Hard hits are a major part of hockey. However, Samuelsson didn’t make clean hits within the flow of the game. He went after star players on the opposing team with the intention to severely injury them.
Samuelsson played dirty to make up for his lack of talent. His cheap shots and style of play garnered him no respect in Boston.
5. Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod has been hated in Boston ever since he first put on the Yankee pinstripes back in 2004. It’s not just the fact that he nearly joined the Red Sox prior to signing with their arch rivals. His also had his fare share of villainous moments since joining the Yankees.
During the 2004 regular season, Rodriguez got into a fight with the Red Sox beloved captain Jason Varitek in a bench-clearing brawl. The fight was thought to have sparked the Red Sox run to their first World Series title in 86 years, but Sox fans are far from thankful that Rodriguez got into it with their undisputed leader.
During the ’04 postseason, A-Rod was the center of attention once again after slapping the ball out of pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove while running to first base. Rodriguez was ultimately called out for interference, but Sox fans use the play as evidence of his bush league style of play.
Rodriguez will never be welcomed by the city of Boston. His cocky attitude and numerous altercations with the Red Sox have cemented his seat at the city’s villain table.
4. Bucky Dent/Aaron Boone
There is no way not to combine these two. Like the Manning brothers, neither was a bad guy or a dirty player. They just tore the hearts out of every Red Sox fan.
Bucky bleepin' Dent. Aaron bleepin' Boone. That’s how any Red Sox fan refers to either of the two.
Dent’s home run was so harmful to Red Sox nation because it came against their arch rival in a one game playoff to see which team made the postseason.
Boone’s came at an even worse time. It was Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Boone's 11th inning smash knocked the Sox out of the playoffs. The Red Sox were so close to finally erasing their demons and giving themselves an opportunity to win their first World Series since 1918.
No matter how many World Series the Red Sox win, Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone will always be villains in the city of Boston.
3. Jack Tatum
Tatum is a villain for one play. The Raiders safety left Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed after throwing down a vicious hit across the middle.
The hit itself assured villain status for Tatum. It was during an exhibition game and seemed to be put forward with the intent to injure the defenseless receiver.
However, it’s not just the hit that makes Tatum a villain. It’s also his response to it.
Tatum showed no remorse for the play, and never reached out to Stingley. Even if Tatum truly believed his hit was clean, it’s a heartless move to avoid approaching the man he left paralyzed for life.
Obviously, the game was played differently in 1978 when the tragic play occurred. Even so it was a brutal hit that Tatum should have shown remorse for.
Tatum’s actions on and off the field put him on the Mount Rushmore of Boston sports villains.
2. Bill Laimbeer
Bill Laimbeer played basketball like an NFL linebacker. He would hit anything in his way.
Laimbeer would throw elbows at any and every Celtics player. Whenever he saw a referee’s back turned, he would drill the nearest player with a despicable cheap shot.
Laimbeer became truly detested in Boston when he clotheslined Celtics legend Larry Bird during Game 4 of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals. The hit caused a brawl which resulted in Bird getting kicked out of the game and a Pistons victory.
Robert Parish, who was as even-tempered as any, cracked during the next game of the series. He finally had enough of Laimbeer’s dirty play and sucker punched him square in the head. Parish going off like that in such a big game showed just how vile a player Laimbeer was.
When it comes to basketball, there is no player with a history of dirty plays and cheap shots that can match Bill Laimbeer.
1. Bernard Pollard
This seems like a huge upset for the No. 1 villain in Boston sports history. When you really think about it though, Pollard is the only logical choice.
Think of it this way. Has any player besides Pollard single-handedly ruined three different seasons for a Boston sports team?
2008: As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Pollard rolled into the knee of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was coming off a record-setting 50 touchdown season for a team that was coming off a record-setting undefeated regular season, and tore his ACL virtually ending the team’s season then and there.
2009: As a member of the Houston Texans, Pollard was the closest player to Patriots receiver Wes Welker on a play in which Welker tore his ACL. This occurred during the final game of the regular season and the Patriots were obliterated by the Baltimore Ravens in their first playoff game.
2012: As a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Pollard tackled Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the AFC championship game, causing him to suffer an ankle injury which severely limited him in the Patriots Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants. Many blame Gronkowski’s injury for the Patriots Super Bowl defeat.
I’ll admit that the Patriots 2009 team probably didn’t have what it took to win a Super Bowl that year. Still, there is no other player with a rap sheet against one team like Pollard has with the Patriots. He is the No. 1 Boston sports villain.