Welcome to part three of a five-part feature on The 25 Worst Fans in Sports!
Since this series began on Monday, there have been quite a few guesses as to which fans will fill the number one spot. No one’s gotten it yet, as most of the guesses for number one have actually been for the fans who finished number two.
Again, thanks to everyone for their feedback. Keep the emails, IMs and forum discussions coming.
Here are the first ten inductees to the list of bad fans:
25.) San Francisco 49ers
24.) Toronto Raptors
23.) American Olympic Viewers
22.) New York Islanders
21.) Florida Marlins
20.) Anna Kournikova/Maria Sharapova
19.) Sacramento Kings
18.) Oscar De La Hoya
17.) New York Yankees
16.) University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball
We continue our countdown to number one with”¦
#15-San Diego Chargers Fans
In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that I’ve lived in San Diego for just over 10 years.
As a city, you won’t find a better climate, culture or chimichanga in the country. Its football fans, on the other hand, are as awful as the team. You might remember when the Chargers went to Super Bowl XXIX in 1995.
Well, this town is still waving that banner like the white flag that fluttered after the first few minutes of that Super Bowl’s opening quarter which saw the 49ers take a two touchdown lead on their way to the eventual annihilation of the Chargers. Two years after that humiliation, Charger fans pressured local politicians, all the way up to the mayor, into a ticket buy-back program.
In a nutshell, the city of San Diego would buy any tickets the Chargers couldn’t sell, thus guaranteeing no TV blackouts. It took another 12 months before San Diegans realized that NFL tickets are expensive and “the city” that was graciously buying the unused ducats was using”¦here’s a shock”¦taxpayer monies to do so.
Today, Chargers fans are living off of the team’s latest once-a-decade decent season. But, ask any true fan, and he’ll tell you that the Bolts could go 2-14 this year, as long as those two wins come against the Raiders. Nowhere else in America could a .125 winning percentage be something to shoot for.
Welcome to San Diego.
#14-Philadelphia Eagles Fans
So, when do perpetual sell-outs and season ticket waiting lists equate with bad fans?
C’mon”¦surely, you’ve heard the legend of the stadium full of Eagles fans who booed Santa Claus, right? OK, that story has been grossly exaggerated into a terrific tall tale over time, but, as with most myths”¦there is some element of truth somewhere in there.
And, the “truth” was on display for a nation to see during a Monday Night Football game in 1997 when fans fought with one another in the stands, culminating in one of these bulbous Rocky Balboa lovers firing a flare gun at the bench of the Eagles’ opponents (San Francisco) that evening.
But, really”¦what’s a little weapons charge amongst morons?
In 1999, more “Iggles” ignorance was on display when a representative contingent of fans infamously booed Philadelphia’s selection of QB Donovan McNabb in the draft. Seems that they would’ve rather had holistic practitioner, Ricky Williams, instead. Sorry, guys, but when Mel Kiper, Jr. is able to make fun of you, then you deserve to be on this list.
The worst is saved for last as, later that year, the Philadelphia faithful cheered while injured Dallas WR Michael Irvin lay motionless on the field. Irvin would be diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury and, in an awful display of ass over class, the cheers reached their crescendo as Irvin’s neck was placed in a brace and the trainers’ cart rolled onto the field.
Hey, maybe T.O. is a good fit here, after all.
#13-Atlanta Braves Fans
First off, anyone who remembers Rick Camp and what he did on the Fourth of July, 1985 is exempt from this list. Ditto for anyone who remembers Joe Boever’s corny nickname or the name Larvell Blanks.
As for the rest of you”¦well, the good thing is that Ted Turner and Jane Fonda are off the bandwagon. The bad news is that the “tomahawk chop” is still alive and well. It’s been close to 15 years, guys. Are there any Native Americans left to offend or are y’all hoping for the return of Chief Noc-A-Homa?
Still, it was good to see your bandwaggonery rewarded in 1995, with the city’s first world championship. Who was the hero in the World Series win over Cleveland that year? Oh, that’s right, it was David Justice”¦who was booed pretty much wire-to-wire by the hometown fans for his substandard season (.253 BA, 78 RBI).
“But, he hit a big ol’ home run against them other Indian team, so now we like him again.” Whatever. I would’ve personally thought the fans would have saved their jeers for the Braves’ wife-beating manager, Bobby Cox, but I guess a dozen playoff flameouts get you a lifetime pass down in the ATL.
Maybe they’ll react negatively to a drunk-driver on their team? Nope”¦Rafael Furcal is still almost as beloved as Chipper Jones, who cheated on his wife with a Hooters’ girl. And, here I thought Georgia was a red state with high moral fiber or bran”¦or something.
No wonder Bobby Brown loves it down there.
#12-Nebraska Cornhuskers Fans
They say, “Winning isn’t everything””¦but, “they” probably never lived amongst the 225,000 other flat-staters who linger in and around Lincoln, Nebraska. The only stars who actually make their way through Star City usually stop off for four years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Check the stats: five national football championships, including two during their 1990s renaissance, have reeled in recognition from coast-to-coast. Just make sure you check your conscience at the door.
Lawrence Phillips was a troubled, arguably mentally disturbed, Nebraska running back who ran afoul of the law throughout his college stay. Included, among the transgressions, was an eventual no-contest plea on domestic abuse charges. But, he could run with the ball and continued to play under Coach Tom Osbourne’s watch, even as allegations (both reported and unreported) mounted.
And, the fans did eventually turn on Phillips, but only after he’d outlived his usefulness to the program. Osbourne, by the way, parlayed his popularity (which took a hit everywhere, except Nebraska, during the Phillips saga) into a seat on U.S. House of Representatives.
Frank Solich, an assistant for 19 years under Osbourne, replaced him in 1998, but the ever-lovin’ alumni threw him under a bus after Nebraska won nine games or more in five of his six seasons at the helm. His successor? Former Oakland Raiders’ coach, Bill Callahan who went 5-6 in his first season.
And, of course, Nebraska fans blamed that season on the poor recruiting classes”¦of Frank Solich.
#11-Televised Poker Fans
“Hey, did you see Chad Lowe on Celebrity Poker last night? He didn’t know what he was doing?”
Well, that makes two of you.
In what is easily the most inexplicable fad since fanny packs, at some point in the last two or three years, those pasty-white guys who never leave the “pleather”-covered chairs of the casino and subsist off of unlimited French Toast and pork roast at the 99 cent buffets have become celebrities.
Believe it or not, it’s not jealousy. I actually don’t mind the “stinkin’ rich” part for these guys. Mostly because it’s nice that they can add “rich” to their previously established adjective and the obvious fact that all these guys will end up on an episode of Outside the Lines by the end of the decade having lost it all, like a Texas Hold ‘Em version of Leif Garrett.
What I do have a problem with are the people who’ve run up the ratings on ESPN 2 (and, occasionally, ESPN, Original Recipe) while watching a table full of Unabombers fondle a palm full of jacks and kings. Try and go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City with that “I’ll watch n’ stay, but I don’t play” attitude. No free drinks for you, mister. You might as well be riding in the passenger seat of your boy’s new ride. The women in the car one lane over know that you’d otherwise be riding the bus, son.
Now, the same high school kids who came together under the banner of Dungeons and Dragons two decades ago, are having their own little poker parties with stiff-brimmed visors and oversized shades covering their pubescent mugs in a seven card game”¦of shame.
Honorable Mention (Wednesday): Throughout the week, I’ll be posting one of the five teams/athletes who didn’t make the Top 25. Visit the Inside Pulse Fan Forums to see today’s inclusion and continue the discussion on The Worst Fans in Sports.
Aaron Cameron writes The Friday Music News Bootleg in Music every”¦uh, Friday and is a senior contributing writer emeritus for IP Sports”¦occasionally. AOL n’ Yahoo IM address: ajcameron13