Given the electric race the Braves just completed for the NL East with the Mets and the Phillies on their way to the World Series, it got me thinking — who are the most hated teams by fans of Atlanta sports? Here are my top 5:
5. Philadelphia Phillies
Typically, I might have the Phillies higher on this list. Because I do think their fan base is as obnoxious as they come. It’s like they take pride in making you feel as uncomfortable as possible, but until this year, the Phillies have been so irrelevant over the last decade that I haven’t had much reason to hate them.
“But they knocked us out of the playoffs,” I know what you’re thinking. However, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I’m having a hard time hating this Phillies team. Bryce Harper is one of my favorite players, and unlike some other teams in the NL East (more on them later), most of their guys have some swag and are just likable dudes.
While I just criticized their fans, they look like they are having the best time on what’s been a magical run thus far in the postseason. It reminds me a lot of what the Braves did last year and what went on in Atlanta. I’m jealous, but I don’t hate these guys as much as maybe I should.
4. Boston Celtics
The Hawks, and the NBA in general, don’t have many rivals, but the Celtics are a team I have always hated. I wasn’t old enough to remember when Larry Bird constantly stopped the Dominique Wilkins-led Hawks from reaching their ultimate goal year after year. Still, one of the first playoff series of my lifetime was when the 8-seed Hawks met the top-seeded Celtics in the first round — a series that went seven games and delivered this memorable feud.
Why don't you ask Kevin Garnett if Zaza is a dirty player pic.twitter.com/Jwgxitknkw
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) May 15, 2017
The Hawks and Celtics have met several different times in the playoffs since then, and each time, I am reminded of why I hate Boston and their fans so much.
3. Tom Brady
I didn’t want to say the Patriots or the Bucs because I really don’t have a problem with either of those franchises, even if the Bucs are in the Falcons division. I hate whoever Tom Brady is playing for, and there are several reasons why.
First and foremost, I don’t think there’s been a more blessed player in the history of sports. If there is a break needed to go his way, he finds a way to get it like clockwork. For all his greatness, this guy has been the beneficiary of egregious calls; you would need 100 hands to count them on. On top of that, he’s also benefitted from incompetent coaching staffs (see: Falcons/Seahawks in the Super Bowl) making brain-dead decisions.
It’s funny because Brady used to be one of my favorite athletes. But after the Falcons Super Bowl collapse and him joining the NFC South, I can’t wait to see him retire. You’re 45-years-old for god’s sake; please leave us alone.
2. New York Mets
Ah, the Mets — AKA the Braves’ little brother. This is a legitimate rivalry that actually has a lot of hate between the fan bases, and I love every second of it. The Mets can’t stand how much success the Braves have had, and it often comes at the Mets expense. New Yorkers shove any success they have in the faces of Braves fans, but it usually comes back to bite them, just as it did this season when the Braves came back from 10.5 games down to win the NL East for the fifth consecutive season.
But beyond the feud between the two fan bases, the Mets have an incredibly unlikeable team. There are a couple of guys I adore, like Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz, but players like Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo make me want to pluck my eyeballs out. Despite all of that, the Mets still finish in second place on this list, a position they’ve become accustomed to over the years.
1. New Orleans Saints
This one, frankly, isn’t even close. No team pisses me off quite like the New Orleans Saints. This rivalry has become one of the best in the NFL over the years, and we have Matt Ryan and Drew Brees to thank for that. Because before both of them got to their respective franchises, these two teams were abysmal. However, with how close these two cities are, the culture, and both of them peaking at the right time, it created the perfect formula for a bitter rivalry.
Falcons and Saints fans alike can deal with losing seasons. They’ve done it plenty of times before. But what they can’t live with is losing to one another. Annual bragging rights are on the table each time these two teams meet — records be damned. What makes this rivalry even more personal to me is I went to LSU, so all of my friends are Saints fans. When Atlanta loses to New Orleans, nobody hears about it more than me. But don’t worry, I ensure they get it all back anytime the Falcons come away with the W.
Photo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire