The Most Insufferable Fanbases in Sports
Sometimes, it’s hard to separate your hatred for the team from your hatred for the fans.
In most of these cases, though, it’s not.
Often, the two come hand in hand. The most detestable teams come with the most detestable fans. They are the people who make parents wary of bringing their children to the stadium. They are the people who set cars on fire when the team loses a big game.
They are the people who won’t stop yammering about how much better their team is than yours even after you’ve gouged your eyes out, but they are suddenly nowhere to be found when their team loses.
They are the people who live in some alternate universe where their team is still relevant and achieved success sometime in the last century.
Meet the most insufferable fans in sports.
20. Tampa Bay Rays
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Where were all the cowbells when the Tampa Bay Rays were god-awful for the franchise’s first 10 years of existence?
Fans in Florida often get a bad rap for being nonexistent until their team is awesome, but this is the most extreme case. The Rays (and Devil Rays, in their earlier incarnation) were one of the most consistently embarrassing franchises in the sports landscape until 2008, and as such, they had no fans.
Then, suddenly, they won the pennant in 2008 and the fans acted like they’d been there all along, despite the fact that we had visual evidence to the contrary in the form of a consistently empty stadium.
It’s fine to jump on the bandwagon when your team suddenly gets good (well, actually, it’s really not). But real fans weather the bad times and are thus rewarded for the good times, of which the Rays have had many over the last five years.
But these fans—they literally only show up for the ALCS and the World Series. Even the players know it.
Back in 2010, team poster boy Evan Longoria called the fans “disheartening” and “embarrassing” for failing to show their support during a September—September!—game in which the Rays clinched their second playoff berth in three years.
Most of the time, when a team is in the midst of a down-to-the-wire playoff race, the team has to beg fans not to kill each other for seats. In Tampa Bay, they have to beg fans to fill them.
19. USC Trojans
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Here is a fanbase that lets its arrogance get in the way of reality.
There was a time—somewhat recently—that the Trojans were a very good football team. They own 11 national titles, but of the recent ones, one of them is shared with LSU, and the other has been vacated because of NCAA violations.
And since then, the Trojans have zero national titles, yet those fans still talk about this team like it’s a perennial champion. Save that for the Alabama fans.
The Trojans are often competitive, but the championships just aren’t there. For a while, they had a penchant for winning a big game, but this year? No way. Huge, season-defining losses to Stanford, Oregon and Notre Dame will do that to you. And those sanctions? The fans would just rather pretend those didn’t exist.
Perhaps the worst thing about USC fans is their defensiveness. If you try to call this football team anything less than a dynasty, the fans will be all over you, despite the fact that all evidence is in your favor.
Then there was the way they reacted to Notre Dame’s loss in the national championship (despite the fact that they lost in the Sun Bowl (!) to an ACC team) and the Manti Te’o scandal (despite the fact that if Te’o hadn’t spurned USC for ND, these fans would doubtlessly be defending him to the death, just like they did Reggie Bush).
18. Oakland Raiders
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A very, very long time ago, the Oakland Raiders may have been a respectable team. But not anymore. It hasn’t been that way in a long, long time.
Raiders fans still live in the glory days simply because present-day reality is too painful. What reality tells us is that the Raiders haven’t won more than eight games since 2002.
They haven’t made the playoffs since then. They have endured a long stretch of hilariously futile quarterbacks. The glory days for Raider Nation are long gone, but hey—you have to admire their passion.
No longer is the Oakland Coliseum one of the most intimidating road sites in the NFL. Instead, when opposing teams see Oakland on the schedule, they breathe a sigh of relief.
But still, the fans love to dress up, taunt and heckle like Ken Stabler is still going to be coming through that tunnel.
17. Baltimore Ravens
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When you really love a team, it’s very easy to overlook its flaws. Even when those flaws include a face of the franchise who was once on trial for murder.
Those who support the Baltimore Ravens will steadfastly claim that the fact that Ray Lewis escaped unscathed from a murder trial means he’s innocent. What we know is that there was a brawl outside a bar in Atlanta after Super Bowl XXXIV, and plenty of witness testimony points to Lewis as the bad guy.
The evidence wasn’t good enough, though (where is that white suit, anyway?), and Lewis got off after agreeing to testify against his co-defendants.
That’s not the only reason why lots of people hate Ravens fans. It’s not because they refuse to hold Lewis and his guys responsible for stabbing two people to death. It’s a big part of the reason, but not the whole thing.
A bigger reason is that they laud the Ravens as one of the elite teams in the NFL despite the fact that they’ve only won a single Super Bowl, and it happened 13 years ago.
Yeah, they get to the playoffs, and yeah, they make some good runs, but by the way their fans talk about this team, you’d think they were a dynasty.
16. Chicago Cubs
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In some regards, these people deserve to whine. They are fans of the most cursed team in sports. What are you supposed to do when your team hasn’t won a World Series since 1908 and has only been a significant playoff contender once in the last 23 years?
You complain incessantly.
First, though, you claim that every year is The Year. With the dawn of every new baseball season comes the hope that it will finally mark the end of the longest championship drought in sports. You have to hand it to them for their optimism.
The problem, however, is that it’s delusion disguised as optimism. No matter how weak the team is, no matter how little reason there is to be mildly hopeful, these fans will ceaselessly tell you that this year is the year.
And if you get in the way of fate like Steve Bartman did in 2003, these fans will make you wish you never existed.
Maybe they should just take it up with management for failing to put a viable product out on the field for about 20 years running.
15. Boston Celtics
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Boston fans are the worst, but in the grand scheme of it all, Celtics fans are probably the least offensive (aside from Bruins fans, if only because those are so few in number). Still, they can be grating.
We’re far removed from the days when the Celtics were right up there with the Lakers as the most feared franchises in the NBA. We’re far past the days of Larry Bird and championship after championship.
And while the Celtics have gotten much better over the last several years—they raised Banner No. 17 in 2008 and have consistently made the playoffs since—but are they better than the Heat? Of course not. Not even close. Just don’t ask the fans, though.
Celtics fans are blind when it comes to this team's abilities and their favorite players’ worst traits. In a sense, that loyalty is to be admired—but there comes a certain point when you can no longer defend Kevin Garnett’s trash talk, or when you have no excuses for Rajon Rondo’s immaturity.
The fans, though—they always have excuses.
14. Dallas Cowboys
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Do not know jack about football and the majority of their fans are not even from Texas. Their fans and organization live off their “Glory Days" in the past. Since the Mid 90's, this team has not been able to succeed and win playoff games.
Back in the 90s, bandwagon-jumpers rooted for the Cowboys because the payoff was supposed to be huge. Now, the team isn’t even good enough to warrant bandwagon-jumpers—a fact that those in Dallas, of course, refuse to acknowledge.
To them, Tony Romo is a good quarterback, despite the fact that all evidence (three postseason appearances, one win in four games) points to the contrary. To them, Jerry Jones’ dictatorship is a matter of such grave importance that it warrants a petition to the president of the United States.
These fans live in a time when the Cowboys were still relevant—when they were still America’s team. Neither is true anymore, but still, they refuse to acknowledge reality.
13. Montreal Canadiens
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The most vicious NHL fanbases are mostly located north of the border, and one of them resides in Montreal.
In some ways, you have to hand it to Canadiens fans: They make themselves heard, and the team doubtlessly appreciates the home-ice advantage they provide. But sometimes, enough is enough.
Riots are somewhat (and sadly) commonplace these days when teams either succeed or fail, but in Montreal, they’re bad. As in, they take life-size posters of opposing players and light them on fire. Is that really necessary?
Between the blatant disrespect toward the other team and the incessant booing of the U.S. national anthem, this is a hard fanbase to contend with—even when you’re the GM of the team. In 2011, Bob Gainey told GQ he thinks his team’s fans are “a bunch of gutless bastards.”
12. Penn State Nittany Lions
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You know it’s bad when you’re trying to defend a sports institution against the most devastating, infuriating sex scandal in recent history.
Sometimes, it’s not about football. It’s about people who have been wronged, and it’s about justice and fairness. When Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno went down after an investigation revealed that Sandusky—a longtime member of the football staff—had sexually abused 10 young boys during his time at Penn State, some fans actually tried to defend Paterno’s role in covering it up.
Paterno may be heralded as one of the greatest college football coaches ever, and Penn State may have stood for a long time on its reputation of success, but none of that matters now.
What matters is that Paterno tried to cover up Sandusky’s transgressions. What matters is that he put the well-being of young boys at risk for no reason other than the fact that he was trying to protect someone whose actions are indefensible.
The fans who still try to claim that a statue of Paterno should stand proud outside the stadium, or that the coach was treated unfairly—that’s just as indefensible.
11. LA Lakers
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There’s a reason that most of the world is pumped to see what’s happening to the L.A. Lakers right now. It’s because it’s funny to watch this happen to fans who haven’t had to deal with this type of adversity maybe ever.
Most teams go through ups and downs. Lakers fans have had the pleasure of, for the most part, only dealing with the ups. But maybe it doesn't matter.
After all, Lakers fans aren’t really the kinds of people who come to the games because, above all else, they live and breathe basketball.
They come to the games because their blockbuster movie made a lot of money that summer. Or because they have become world pariahs and have nowhere else to go on Christmas (see above).
The famous fans give all Lakers fans a bad name, but that’s the way it is. They suddenly appear when big games roll around, acting like they’d die for this team, but in actuality, they started paying attention five minutes ago.
10. Manchester United
Overseas, people take their soccer seriously. We know that. They put Americans and their football/baseball love to shame.
But it’s not always for the better.
Manchester United fans in particular are world-renowned for being arrogant and annoying. The team itself is despised by many because of its ineptitude, despite often having one of the most talented rosters.
But the fans and their tunnel vision with regards to the team—plus their tendency to go a little bit too far with their celebrations—is another reason to hate the franchise entirely.
This guy (above) as an example. Upon seeing Robin Van Persie's game-tying goal in the FA Cup, he goes so ballistic and is so ignorant to his wife’s pleas to calm himself that she is nearly compelled to walk out of the bar in which they’re watching.
Because this happened in public. Seriously.
In a sub-two-minute nutshell, this is why people hate Man U fans.
9. New York Yankees
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There is cocky, and then there are New York Yankees fans.
To be fair, they are one of the few fanbases that can back up their arrogance with victories. The Yankees have won 27 World Series titles. Dating back to last century, many of the greatest players in the history of the sport have worn pinstripes, from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter.
But for a franchise that prides itself on being one of the classiest out there, its fans really leave something to be desired.
Classy fans don’t chant “Who’s Your Daddy” at one of the greatest pitchers ever. They don’t direct expletive-laced taunts at 16-year-old fans who dare step foot in their stadium wearing a Red Sox shirt, because yes, that happened to me, and the perpetrator was a middle-aged man wearing a business suit, and he wasn’t being funny or good-spirited.
They should let their team’s performance do the talking, but that has never been a Yankees fan’s strong suit. They rub it in when you lose to them, and so many of the fans don’t even live in New York. They support the team because it’s easy.
That’s why no one in the world (outside of New York) was sad to see this team lose in the most embarrassing possible fashion back in 2004—even when the loss came at the hands of the Red Sox.
8. Duke Blue Devils
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The Cameron Crazies are, by a million miles, the most hated fans in college basketball.
Like several of the others on this list, most of the reason Duke Blue Devils fans are hated so much is because their team is so good. It hasn’t won a championship in a while, but it has long been one of the most feared teams in the NCAA because it consistently is one of the most competitive, year in and year out.
The student and alumni fans—they’re fine. They’re not necessarily likable, but they’re at least tolerable. It’s the bandwagon fans that are the insufferable ones.
They’re the ones who have no connection to the school or program but decide one day to become a Blue Devils fan for no reason other than the team wins a lot and they want a piece of the pie.
Being a fan is about character-building or, at the very least, personal connections. It’s not about choosing the team with the highest probability of success and declaring yourself a lifelong devotee.
7. Boston Red Sox
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To be fair, Boston Red Sox fans were far more insufferable before their team won its first World Series in 86 years back in 2004. Before the Curse of the Bambino was broken, they were like a broken record.
Sometimes, you felt bad for them, but most of the time, you just wanted them to stop whining about how the baseball gods would never smile upon them again. And you really, really wanted them to start pronouncing the R at the end of Nomar.
Since then, they’ve become slightly more tolerable—though now, they seem to have swung to the opposite end of the pendulum. Just because they’ve won two championships since 2004, it’s like they expect to win every year.
They have unrealistic expectations of the team, and when players don’t perform up to those expectations, the fans run them out of town faster than they arrived via the media and talk radio.
Red Sox fans only like the team if the team’s in the World Series. Anything less than that, and the Sox are dead to them.
6. Vancouver Canucks
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People love to debate whether the Vancouver Canucks even have the most hated fanbase in Canada, let alone in the NHL—but they are definitely up there.
These are fans that support players who bite and hair-pull their way to victory—literally. They are arrogant. They publicly blame their futility on officials. They don’t make the team take responsibility for its own failures.
Oh, and when they do fail? They make the streets of Vancouver look like a war zone. Back in the summer of 2011, when the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, fans set cars on fire and looted stores—a repeat of what happened in 2004, when the team lost the Stanley Cup, according to the BBC.
It’s one thing to support your team through thick and thin (and biting), for better or worse. It’s another to set your city on fire when the team doesn’t live up to expectations.
5. New York Jets
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Talk about living in denial. These fans practically define an inferiority complex.
New York Jets fans are desperate to believe that their team is better than the New England Patriots—despite the fact that they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1968, despite the fact that their head coach is on his last straw, and despite the fact that Mark Sanchez is their quarterback.
These fans live by their relationship to the Patriots, and when they beat New England, they act as though they’ve just capped off an undefeated season with a championship.
But at least the Patriots have played in the big game sometime this decade. Or, you know, sometime in the last four.
The quarterback situation—that’s the other thing about Jets fans. They were the first people to turn on Tim Tebow, but as soon as someone outside New York dares to question his skill, they jump all over you.
Same goes for Sanchez. This is a guy who made sure the term “butt fumble” got onto Urban Dictionary. This is someone who has been embarrassingly ineffective over the last two seasons. And the fans want to talk about him like he’s, well, Tom Brady.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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We all know that Notre Dame was good, once upon a time. How could we forget? The fans won’t let us.
Never before has there been a fanbase so blinded by its long-outdated success. Notre Dame was good, was being the operative word. This team, however, hasn’t won a national title since 1988. Before then, it had experienced an 11-year championship drought. Sure, this team has been frequently competitive—but lately, not so much.
2012 was a good year for the Irish until they were royally embarrassed in the national championship by a real football team, but in 13 bowl appearances since 1995, they’ve won two. Two! And the fans still want to talk about a dynasty like it’s a relevant point.
There’s also the whole Catholic school superiority complex thing, and the fact that the fans are so desperate to hold Manti Te’o’s reputation intact that they are willing to defend the fact that he is either a) one of the dimmest, most naive 22-year-old people on the planet or b) a raging sociopath.
Across the board, these fans are just in denial.
3. New England Patriots
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Everyone knows Patriots fans are among the most irritating in sports. That’s what happens when your team has won three Super Bowls since 2002.
Before the Patriots got good, the New England region was starved for excellence, as far as sports go. That’s why the Patriots’ renaissance was so exciting: Finally, Boston had a team that wasn’t the laughingstock of the league.
This team was far from it—it set the standard. It became the Yankees of football from 2001-2005, and opposing teams hated coming to Foxborough to take on the men in red, white and blue.
Part of the reason people outside of New England hate the Patriots is because they’re good; the other part is the fans, who will tell you the second their team ekes out a close win over the best team in the league that the Pats are Super Bowl-bound once again.
They’re cocky, plain and simple; they ignore the team’s deficiencies and instead overstate the excellence of a team that hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2005. By the way Patriots fans talk, you’d think they won every championship this decade.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
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Props to Pittsburgh Steelers fans for making Heinz Field one of the least desirable venues in sports to play a road game. The Terrible Towels, the nastiness, the heckling—this is not something opposing players want to deal with under any circumstance, but especially in the playoffs.
They also invade other cities on game day and make the hometown fans wish they’d never been born. They’re ruthless, they’re vulgar and they refuse to acknowledge that they built a dynasty upon a bunch of cheaters.
Sure, lots of players cheated back in the 70s, but not all of them won multiple Super Bowls and then had a bunch of fans who tried to pretend they did it the right way.
These days, fans try to claim that people hate their team because the team is good. In actually, most people who hate the Steelers and their fans do so because they support a franchise led by a degenerate who’s been accused of sexual assault more times than he’s won a Lombardi Trophy.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
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It would be easier to stomach Philadelphia Eagles fans if they were a little less emotional and a little more rational. But those will never be characteristics that describe the Philly faithful.
Vicious and vindictive are a bit more appropriate.
To be fair, it’s not just Eagles fans. It’s Philly fans, in general. These are people who pelted J.D. Drew with batteries because he dared to not want to play there (and we wonder why!). They boo Santa Claus. They cheer career-ending injuries.
They are disrespectful—to the game, to each other, to opponents. No, it’s not a necessity for football fans to be the most lovey-dovey, happy-go-lucky people on the planet, but these fans consistently take it a step too far.
And on top of it all, the Eagles are awful. As in, no wins in the Super Bowl era-level awful. You know that when Hollywood makes a Best Picture contender with a plot that revolves around mocking your city’s fans, something is wrong.