Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: TOP 10 PHILLY SPORTS VILLAINS


by DMtShooter, Five Tool Tool

Such is the nature of Philly Fan that you could easily go to 50 or 100 on this list. Hell, there's barely any hockey on it, no players who played for long in town (hello, Von Hayes, Shawn Bradley and Todd Pinkston!), and we're even taking a miss on the unrepentant press box slugs that make even sportswriters look bad. (When I'm King of the World, Bill Conlin better go into hiding... probably in an unused airplane hanger. Howard Eskin will be easier to find, in that everyone who knows or sees him will grab a torch or pitchfork and join in the fun.)

No, today's list is (mostly) confined to people who made money from our misery, and haunt our highlight films along with our dreams. It's also mostly limited to the 80s and beyond, because while I am old, I'm not ancient. Anyway, let's go to the slime...

10 - Bill Belichick. Is this an overstatement for the coach of a team that has only one meaningful win over the hometown Eagles? No. Or, well, it would be if not for Spygate, and the lingering, never going to go away suspicion that the game was a fraud. (And yes, we all know this sounds like and probably is sour grapes, but when you look at the tape -- and yes, we do -- it staggers the imagination of just how often the Patriots had the exact perfect play call on offense in the second half... after not being able to a damn thing in the first half. Yes, we are still bitter.)

9 - Joe Morris/Tiki Barber. If it's a small blue football playing smurf that's making some large green person whiff in a game that, even if the Eagles win, Eagle Fan will still regret watching... well then, who really cares what the name on the back of the jersey is? On some level, Eagles Fan is a big fan of Brandon Jacobs, just because he looks different. (Ward and Bradshaw, not so much.)

8 - Tommy Lasorda. There's really no reason to explain the hate here, other than the fact that all right-thinking Americans hate Tommy Lasorda. Sure, he managed the Dodgers when they won a few playoffs against the Phils, but everyone's mostly forgotten about those; we just hate him because he's so damned hateable. Bonus points to the Philly Phanatic for getting especially under the old pussbag's skin.

7 - Joe Carter. Some might have him ranked higher, but I contend that his World Series-ending home run, that we will all get to see on replays for the rest of our natural lives, had something of the feel to a mercy killing. Fifteen years later, Philly Fan has yet to see anything as maddening as Mitch Williams again, although Jose "Joe Table" Mesa tried very, very hard.

6 - Norman Braman. Could I have put Harold Katz, Bill Giles, Joe Kuharich, Ed Snider, Leonard Tose and Bob (not Bobby) Clarke in this slot? Of course. But only Braman had the ability to make a coach who never won a playoff game (Buddy Ryan) into a martyr, then inflict Rich Kotite on the masses. For his next property, Eagles Fan hopes Braman acquires a crippling case of the clap.

5 - Kobe Bryant. Would they love him if changed laundry? Probably. Has the animosity towards him faded as the memories fade on the 2000 Allen Iverson year? Sure, a little. But to Philly Fan, whose ability to hold a grudge is damn near pathological, Kobe is still the ender of dreams and the rapist who walked. Such is the distaste that most people in town were rooting for the Celtics in the Finals. That, or a plane crash. Multiple plane crashes.

4 - Michael Irvin. The prototype of today's Lookit Me! Wideout, and a man who, according to Eagles Fan, pushed off on every single play of his life. It wasn't Tim Hauck and the vaunted Vet Stadium turf that ended his career; it was the sheer and extraordinarily focused rays of our collective hate. Irvin gets some small amount of cred for cheerfully embracing the role and excusing the fans who cheered his demise, but he could still make huge bank as a wrestling heel at any Philadelphia-area house show.

3 - Larry Bird. One town's Basketball Jesus is another town's dirty cheap-shot artist, and Bird's cocksure attitude and undeniable productivity made him the star that Sixers Fan loved to hate. The fact that the national media could never stop polishing his knob (and haven't to this day - consider, if you will, how little heat he's received for his disastrous stewardship of the Pacers) made the hate even more fervent, and you can start a bar fight to this day between Sixer and Celtic Fan over who started the Bird-Erving brouhaha. (I won't get into the dirt of that here, but consider, if you will, how many people expressed their happiness over Erving finally getting a ring in 1983, and that Doc never seemed to get into any ugliness with anyone but the Prick from French Lick.)

2 - Jimmy Johnson. As a big city on the Eastern Seaboard, Philly Fan has never much cottoned to rednecks. Nor have they gone for guys who seem to have been born to preen and bray when a camera fires. Finally, we're always obliged to hate the Cowboys coach if he shows any kind of ability at his job.

JJ managed to check off every box, and continues to plague Eagles Fan every Sunday on Fox. (Along with, of course, Troy Aikman and Darryl Johnston. Is it any wonder so many Eagles Fans refuse to listen to the television feed of any game, opting instead for the lovable propaganda of Merrill Reese on the team's radio broadcast?)

If and when you want to play the roll of Philly Fan Sports Infamy - booing a drunk Santa, cheering Irvin's injury, throwing batteries, etc. -- some might feel shame about various incidents. But no one, to a man, feels bad about hitting Jimmy Johnson with snowballs. As a matter of fact, the only thing we might feel bad about is not joining in.

1 - Terrell Owens.
What, you were expecting Drew Rosenhaus?

7 comment(s):

Dirty Davey said...

As my brother once said of Michael Irvin: if an all-pro wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys can't party with hookers and cocaine in a motel room, then who the hell CAN?

Jeff Clark said...

where is JD Drew?

DMtShooter said...

Considered but not included, since he never cost the Phils a playoff game. Besides, with his injuries and attitude, he probably did the franchise a favor by refusing to play for them.

otis said...

doesn't the city of Tampa get an honorable mention since their NFL and NHL teams punked Philly in their respective Championship Games en route to a Lombardi Trophy and a Stanley Cup?

Anonymous said...

Where's Santa Claus?

Anonymous said...

what about Ron Hextall? doesn't get more villainous than that..

The Prophet said...

What about Eric Lindros? Certainly he deserves an honorable mention...

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