It's Hate Week here on Gang Green Nation. This week we will be looking at the enemies of Gang Green Nation. We'll start out with my five most hated teams.
The in division rivalries against the Dolphins and Patriots are fierce. There just isn't the same level of hatred when it comes to the Bills. Talk about the greatness of Dan Marino or Tom Brady, and Jets fans will foam at the mouth. Jim Kelly? Not so much. It's funny there isn't more intensity because of the Upstate-Downstate divide in New York. It feels like these battles should be much more bitter. The Bills still make the list because the Bills are a division rival, and that means two meeting each year. Also I've heard horror stories about trips Jets fans have made to Buffalo, and the way they were treated (although I'm sure Bills fans could give just as many stories about the Meadowlands).
I don't hate the Giants as much as most Jets fans. They're a class organization. The Jets don't compete directly with them, and the teams only play once every four years. Tom Coughlin was a great coach at my alma mater, Boston College. The reasons the Giants make the list are jealousy more than anything. They're the more popular and more successful of the two teams in town. The media always shows them more love. The Jets have played in a stadium bearing their name for decades. Giants fans also love to remind you of all this.
There's no team in pro sports that loves to be hated as much as the Raiders. The owner loves it. The players love it. The fans love it. There's still bad blood between these teams going back to the AFL days from their classic 1968 meetings in the Heidi Game and later the AFL Championship Game. It doesn't seem like Al Davis has forgotten either. Remember back in 2005 when the Raiders randomly started Marques Tuiasosopo for Kerry Collins against the Jets when the Jets had to lose for Draft position? How about when Davis overruled his head coach and didn't fire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator after 2007 because Ryan would have gone to the Jets? The Raiders also score bonus points for just giving Randy Moss to the Pats.
Now we're getting into really bitter territory. Most rivalries are really between the fans. The actual organizations have a lot of respect for each other. This is an exception. These teams despise each other. In what other rivalry does a frosty postgame handshake between head coaches make headlines? For a long time, neither team was ever good enough to inspire hate. The past decade and change has been a different story. Familiarity breeds contempt here. More players, coaches, and front office members have changed sides to count, including the two future Hall of Fame head coaches who made this rivalry what it is. The Jets stole Bill Parcells in 1997 from the Pats. Bill Belichick quit as Jets head coach just minutes before his introductory press conference only to go to New England and build a dynasty. The Eric Mangini saga brought this to an even higher level. There were bogus tampering accusations over Deion Branch. There was the time the Jets caught the Pats illegally spying on them. Somehow New England fans claimed the Jets were in the wrong because they called the Patriots on doing something illegal. There was the game when the Jets knocked out New England's starter, and the backup became a first ballot Hall of Famer. There's also the natural Boston-New York bitterness.
The Pats rivalry has been more intense recently, but this is the top rival of the Jets. Dan Marino, Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Mud Bowl, Fake Spike. Ugh. What really drives me nuts, though, are the fans. It's no wonder Jason Taylor is so loved down in South Florida. A lot (not all) of Dolphins fans talk just like him. Pats fans can be a bit much, but they've earned the right to talk. They're the model NFL franchise. They've won three championships this decade. Some Dolphins fans talk like they've won every championship for the past 20 years even though it's been almost as long as the Jets since they last won the Super Bowl. They're all around the New York area too (There are more Jets fans in Miami, though). No matter how many times their team fizzles in December and January, they don't stop. (I'll be fair. You could say a lot of the same about Jets fans. Maybe being so similar is the reason we hate each other so much). Back in grade school, one of my best friends was a big Dolphins fan. Every year, he wouldn't stop trash talking the Jets or celebrating Miami's October dynasty. Then the 1995 God awful Kotite team beat Miami in the Meadowlands. He was really quiet that day. Thinking of it still makes me smile.
What do you think? What team do you hate most?