Well, here we are. This is my last segment and we are in a new decade. While the following teams might not have been the champions, they were the best of the best. Some of them just happened to be the best at failing.
Raiders (entire decade)- I tried to pick a year to zone in on, but the Raiders consistent ability to mess up on personnel decisions over the span of the entire decade has been funny to watch. Year after year, Al Davis has ruled over the team making all of the decisions and found a way to fail at every one. He has had six coaches in this decade alone, failed in 10 of 12 first round draft picks (only Sebastian Janikowski and Nnamdi Asomugha have managed to not be pathetic), and signed numerous low character and over the hill players. Bluntly put, any team that is nicknamed “the Black Hole” (because once you go there, you are never heard from again), isn’t one you are going to see as successful.
2001 Los Angeles Lakers- This past Christmas, they were talking to Shaq about his time with Kobe, and he told us all, “you will never see a tandem like that ever again.” While it sounds cocky, it is the flat out truth. Whether you love them or hate them, both are top-15 players in NBA history and for those three or four years, that team was sick. Kobe was content being the Robin to Shaq’s Batman, and they had an inside-out attack like no one has ever seen before. More important than any of that though, was the swagger they had. They were the shit, and they KNEW it. Normally teams that are that cocky falter, but the Lakers were actually good enough to pull it off. You could really say all of this about the LA teams in 2000, 2001, and 2002, but this year was the best in my mind because it was the first time I was even remotely aware that the NBA Finals were going on. I remember rooting them on against the 76ers and Allen Iverson1 and being happy the genie from Kazaam2 won another NBA title
2008 Lions- If this football season has taught us anything, it is that you can be the worst team ever, and still win a game by accident. The ’09 Rams, Lions, Buccaneers, and Chiefs were all terrible, but they were at least good enough to win a game or two by accident. That is what I thought was so funny about the Lions in 2008, they couldn’t manage to even win by accident. Even when teams like the Redskins tried to gift wrap a game, for them, the Lions would do something stupid like let the ‘Skins return a punt for a touchdown. The Lions lost by an average of over 15 points per game, and only had four games where they lost by seven or fewer. You have already heard how I was rooting for the Nets to lose because I wanted to see a record, so it is easy to guess I was rooting for 0-16. I was rooting for it hard, and when it happened, it was everything I thought it would be.
2007 Patriots- After it was announced that Randy Moss was going to the Pats, I remember telling my friend Austin that I was officially predicting that the Patriots would be the first team to go 19-0. They were so close to proving me right, but that isn’t why I love this team. It is because of the ruthless way the demolished opponents. The Patriots didn’t want to just beat you; they wanted to leave you crawling off the field with literally no pride. The won by an average of almost 20 points a game, and had two games where they beat their opponent by over 403. What their offense did this year was just sickening and showed everyone that we had entered the age where passing offenses dominated football.
2004 Red Sox- Everyone knows that this was the team that broke the “Curse of the Bambino” and all of that crap, but that isn’t why I love this team. The reason I was rooting for them so hard back then and still talk about them now is the way they were perfect opposites of their bitter rivals in New York. In all the ways the Yankees were uptight and seemed like there was a giant stick up each player’s ass, the Sox were fun loving and jovial. From Big Papi and Manny Ramirez joking around while giving opponents fits, to Johnny Damon looking like Jesus, you could tell they were having fun out there, something that always makes me root for a team4. Manager Terry Francona found a way to get the guys to play great ball and keep the fun loving attitude. I truly believe that this was the key to keeping the pressure of breaking “the curse” off, even when down 3-0 in the ALCS.
2001 Miami Hurricanes- I was too young to appreciate this team back then and I realy wish that they would have existed now instead of back then. The team was freakishly stacked, and was full of future pro-bowlers. The team had, Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Jonathan Vilma, Vince Wilfork, Kellen Winslow Jr, and Jeremy Shockey…and that is just the superstars. Granted, a fe of those didn’t play because of being too young, but the fact that the team had that much talent is staggering. If you watched ESPN’s 30 and 30 on them, you can only admire how dickish they were. Going back to the ’01 Lakers, they were way better than you, and made sure you were aware. The bashing on the scoreboard was only the beginning because the ‘Canes were perhaps the best trash talkers ever and made you want to cry before the snap5. In the National Championship, the ‘Canes embarrassed no. 2 Nebraska 37-14 in front of a country that thought they were a bunch of hoodlums. I mean they kind of were, but that’s what made them awesome.
If you were able to make it through all four of these blogs, I want to thank you. At over 6000 words, this was by far the longest thing I have ever written and I appreciate you humoring me. Over the past week, I had a lot of going back over all of the things I considered funny or eventful and I hope I kept you amused.
1. At the age of 11, I was still under the assumption that what my parents said was true. Because of this, I was POSITIVE that Allen Iverson was not just evil, but actually one of Satan’s henchmen. Since the, I’ve formed my own opinions which revolve around Iverson being one of the best players in NBA history and the toughest player ever.
2. Any time you can make a Kazaam reference, you should.
3. One of these games was the 52-7 beat down of the then 4-2 Redskins. I remember reading the front page of the sports section of the Washington Post the day before, which listed all of the reasons that the Skins had a shot at winning the game. In hindsight, none of them were right.
4. This theory hit me hard this year because of the Yankees championship winning team. I was torn between my hatred of the evil empire, and the entertainment of watching a bunch of guys who enjoying playing with each other so much. If it wasn’t for Texiera, I might have found myself secretly rooting for them. Thank god it didn’t come to that.
5. I’m willing to bet that at least one Nebraska player cried at halftime in the championship game. It was 30-0, and they spent all 30 minutes of that half being told that their moms didn’t love them….would’nt you.