By Travis Stahl
There is a saying in sports that everybody likes an underdog. That’s dumb. I don’t always like the underdog; I rooted for the Detroit Lions to go 0-16 in 2008, now that’s perfection. Another thing that makes no sense in sports, why does everybody root for the good guys? That doesn’t make any sense either. I might take a lot of heat for the team’s I like from time to time, but most times I really like rooting for the bad guys.
Remember UNLV in the 1980’s and 90’s with head coach Jerry Tarkanian? Everybody hated Tark the Shark because he was a “cheater.” I loved UNLV and watching the Runnin’ Rebels play. Yes, Tark probably cheated, a lot of coaches did. People who love good hard-nosed basketball never gave UNLV credit for the defense the team played. The Rebels were unfairly labeled as an offensive power house but it was really the team’s ameba zone defense that suffocated opponents.
My favorite NFL team of course is the Dallas Cowboys. I always say hello to a Cowboys fan I might see out in public wearing a Dallas shirt or hat. Most people across the football universe hate the Cowboys, and I know it is likely because of owner Jerry Jones. But come on, how can you hate Dallas? The Cowboys are America’s team, at least 50 percent of NFL fans should be required to root for Dallas, especially when the team plays a division rival. Nobody likes the Giants, Redskins or Eagles.
I’m not going to claim that I have a favorite baseball team; I don’t watch the sport enough to call a team mine. But if there was a team I had to align myself to it would be the Yankees. Yes, NY buys championships by outspending other teams in Major League Baseball. Nobody realizes though that the Yankees have one of the best farm systems in the country and consider themselves a complete organization. And they are. The Yankees are pure class.
The world of sports is not all about the good buys that ride in to save the day on a white horse. Look at how popular the Raiders were under the leadership of Al Davis and he was the original outlaw. Rooting for the bad guys is fun; it goes against the norm and is the purest form of rooting for the underdog.