10 Dominant Teams That Get No Sympathy When They Lose

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2017

10 Dominant Teams That Get No Sympathy When They Lose

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    New England Patriots fans are surely bummed when their team loses, but does anyone else feel sorry for Bill Belichick's boys? Probably not.

    The Patriots are not the only such team in sports. In fact, regular winning tends to have an inverse relationship with sympathy. The more you win, the less folks feel bad for you when you don't.

    Careful, this is not a list of hated teams—although many included are generally disliked. This is a list of teams that are either historically or recently dominant. Because of that dominance, it's very hard to feel sympathy on the rare occasion they do lose.

    And listen, if this video of sad Alabama fans don't tug at your heartstrings, that doesn't make you a bad person.

    As Luke Kerr-Dineen of For the Win put it, "Feeling bad for an Alabama for not winning its bazillionth national championship is like feeling bad for Warren Buffet because he misplaced that rouge five dollar bill he saw lying around earlier."


Manchester United

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    Since the creation of the Premier League in 1992, Manchester United has won the title 13 times. Chelsea comes in a distant second with four during that span. The Reds are the New York Yankees of English football.

    Even a few years of mediocrity (three seasons out of the league's top three and a Champions League miss in 2016-17) didn't seem to bring out much sympathy. 

    Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News wrote, "United have been an irrelevance in the title race for three seasons as teams like Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich have turned up at Old Trafford and won. The hate from opposing fans has turned into something that more resembles a smirk."

    Even with the 2016 additions of outspoken manager Jose Mourinho and international superstars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, the club still sits at sixth in the league table as of January 18. 

    Perfectly representing the non-sympathetic sentiment was the internet's reaction to a 4-0 loss to Chelsea in October.

New Zealand All Blacks

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    Like many dominant teams, the New Zealand All Blacks are polarizing. In 2014, Dylan Cleaver of the New Zealand Herald traveled with the rugby team for two weeks and discovered its was loved in places like Chicago and hated in places like England.

    Loved or hated, the All Blacks are certainly dominant. They were the first team to ever win back-to-back Rugby World Cups. In 2016, they won 13 of 14 Tests and reached a record 18 Test victories before a November loss to Ireland.

    That loss was New Zealand's first since 2015. It was also the first time the Irish defeated the All Blacks in 111 years of competition.

    It was more about the Irish victory than the Kiwi loss. Jim Kayes of Newshub wrote, "Sometimes there is no disgrace in losing. And sometimes it is more important to celebrate success, even if it's the other team that's won. Few, in fact only the most curmudgeonly, will deny Ireland their moment to savour, their day to remember."

Dallas Cowboys

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    The Dallas Cowboys are simultaneously known as "America's Team" and thought of as one of sports' most disliked franchises.

    The Cowboys won two Super bowls in the 1970s and another three in the 1990s. As Terence Moore of Sports on Earth pointed out, "Jealousy helps create unlikable teams, and the Cowboys have more than a few haters."

    The team is finally enjoying some success (a 13-3 record in 2016 and the NFC's No. 1 seed) after two decades of mostly mediocre seasons. 

    However, their return to dominance might also ignite a return to the "hate us cuz you ain't us" sentiment of the Troy Aikman days. They certainly got the Crying Jordan treatment after a January playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.  

    Arthur Raney, a professor of communication at Florida State University and editor of the Handbook of Sports and Media, told Bleacher Report's Brad Gagnon in 2014, "For some, the Cowboys will always be the heroes. For many others, the Cowboys and their owner have become the villain."

San Francisco Giants

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    The San Francisco Giants are proof even a likable team can make this list.

    In contrast to the New York Yankees, a team that is generally disliked for its historical success—the Giants are simply a team that has gotten a lot of the pie lately. 

    The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2016, the playoff hashtag was "BeliEVEN" (clever). They lost to the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series, but it's hard to imagine many casual fans felt too badly for them. 

    In 2016, the road to the playoffs was bumpy. The Giants didn't clinch the second wild-card spot until the regular-season's final day and went into the postseason as an underdog. This idea a team with impossible-not-to-like guys like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence had a mystique known as "even-year magic" was even kind of fun to think about.

    The magic ended in Game 4 of the NLDS, a disappointment to some, surely. And yet, three titles in five years? Can't feel too bad for them.

Golden State Warriors

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    Winning isn't necessarily a hateable offense. It's constant winning that seems to eventually weigh on people.

    In the case of the Golden State Warriors, the offseason addition of fourth reigning All-Star Kevin Durant didn't help.

    The Warriors became NBA champions in 2015, won a record 73 games in 2016 and look poised to make a third straight Finals run in 2017. 

    Terence Moore of Sports on Earth wrote, "Just two seasons ago, they were everybody's darlings along the way to a world championship, especially since Stephen Curry did what Allen Iverson couldn't do. He proved little guys can dominate, entertain and win it all."

    Moore went on to explain the Warriors' evolution into villains by pointing out they "became whiny" and "had the audacity to sign Kevin Durant."

    The Warriors lost one game to open the 2016-17 season and Twitter let them have it.

New York Yankees

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    The New York Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2009, but a minor rough patch probably hasn't drummed up much sympathy for the 27-time World Series champions.

    Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun wrote, "OK, we get it. You've won the World Series 179 times and every player in team history is in the Hall of Fame. Do you have to keep reminding everybody?"

    The Yankees are just one of those teams some folks will always root against, whether they are currently successful or not.

    The Yankees missed the playoffs altogether in 2013, 2014 and 2016, making them at least a bit more relatable, if not likable. Due to some rebuilding tactics by general manager Brian Cashman, however, it appears the Yankees could be back in contention within a year or two.

    In August, Deadspin's Barry Petchesky expressed a certain familiar sentiment in a piece titled, "Aw Man, The Yankees Are Going To Be Very Good Very Soon."

Duke Blue Devils

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    The Duke men's basketball team has won five NCAA titles and made 16 Final Four appearances. Their coach Mike Krzyzewski is the all-time winningest coach in the men's game.

    Scott Allen of the Washington Post succinctly wrote, "Duke has been so easy to hate under Coach Mike Krzyzewski primarily because the Blue Devils have been so flopping good since he arrived in Durham in 1980."

    From Christian Laettner to Grayson Allen, folks have spent plenty of energy actively disliking Duke players as well.

    Remember when the fourteenth-seeded Mercer Bears upended the No. 3 Blue Devils in the 2014 NCAA tournament? Sympathy was not exactly the prevailing sentiment.

    The Huffington Post's Chris Greenberg wrote at the time, "Down goes Duke! Mercer moves on! Long live March Madness!" 

New England Patriots

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    As a coaching-quarterback duo, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have won four Super Bowls and 14 AFC East titles (including eight straight).

    The New England Patriots regularly contend for the NFL's biggest prize, and that's reason enough for outside fans to dislike them. That's before adding in Spygate, Deflategate and the general suspicion the Pats have used unsavory methods to help achieve their success. 

    It's not often the Patriots lose, but when they do, they're not likely to get much sympathy from the outside world.

    When the Denver Broncos defeated the Pats in the 2016 AFC Championship Game, for instance, the internet wasn't exactly kind.

    And when Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension became official, Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams said, "I am glad they got problems. I don't care. Everybody has their problems, and I am glad they have theirs," per Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

UConn Huskies

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    It doesn't get much more dominant than the UConn women's basketball team.

    In January, the Huskies achieved an astonishing 90-game win streak—for the second time. Yes, coach Geno Auriemma's team has won 90 straight games on two separate occasions.

    Not only that, but they have won four straight national championships. One has to go back to 2012 to find an NCAA tournament defeat for the Huskies—an overtime thriller against Notre Dame in the national semifinal.

    It doesn't seem so much like the Huskies are hated, but their continued dominance, while undeniably impressive, certainly doesn't lend itself to sympathy upon a rare loss. If anything, it sometimes inspires opinions about a lack of competitiveness at the top of women's basketball.  

    David Ubben of Sports on Earth told NPR's Audie Cornish, "I think a lot of people do believe, when you have teams that are this far out in front of the pack, it's like running a marathon where the guy that's ahead is, you know, five miles ahead of anyone else that's on the track. It's kind of pointless to watch."

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Alabama football has displayed profound dominance under head coach Nick Saban. The team won four national championships in seven years and has collected three consecutive SEC titles.

    Bama won 26 straight games across 2015 and 2016, and at one point strung together a streak of 10 games with a non-offensive touchdown. Their defense held opponents to just 63.9 rush yards per game across the 2016 season, a figure over 30 yards less than their closest competition.

    So, when the Tide lost to the Clemson Tigers, 35-31, in an enthralling rematch of the previous CFP National Championship, it's hard to imagine many outside Tuscaloosa felt too much sympathy.

    Here are some photos of Alabama fans looking said—do you feel sad?

    Even Bama linebacker Reuben Foster said, per Bill Bender of Sporting News, "I probably would say we are the bad guys. We are not the good guys. We embrace that. We are the bad guys, and we have to come in and dominate by force and take over."


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