Being a sports fan is exhausting. As my mom likes to say, as a fan, you need to play offense, defense, and special teams.
But when you’re living in Boston as an opposing fan, you have to endure a particular burden. Boston teams are especially annoying, but as a native of (equally obnoxious) Steelers Nation, I say that from a place of understanding. Today I’m going to share with you a list of Boston athletes (past and present) who have been detrimental to my well-being over the years.
5. Brad Marchand
If you remember the 2012-2013 NHL season, you’ll recall this was the year that the Bruins lost to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. But you might not remember that the Penguins were incredibly stacked that year, finished the regular season as the top team in the East, and were favored to go all the way.
That is, until they squared off against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.
Brad Marchand has been annoying me off and on for well over a decade now, but he was particularly aggravating during that series. (Though, at least he wasn’t licking people yet.) After scoring two goals in the first period of game two (which led to a 6-1 defeat, putting the Bruins up 2-0 in the series), the Pens never did recover. It was an embarrassing sweep for a team favored to win it all.
4. Kyrie Irving
Hey, we’re probably in agreement on this one!
Is there anyone out there who loves a conspiracy theory more than Kyrie Irving? I won’t elaborate on some of his more outrageous claims, lest I contribute to the spread of disinformation, but I sure wish someone would steer him to more reputable websites. Or at the very least, true crime podcasts. That would be a healthier alternative.
3. Adam Vinatieri/Stephen Gostkowski
Let’s talk about the Patriots. It wasn’t enough to have the Brady, Edelman, Welker, Gronk, Randy Moss… I can go on and on… No, you needed an incredibly clutch kicker too.
Oh wait, I mean two clutch kickers. Rude.
It’s wild to me that Gostkowski – the team’s all-time leading scorer – is sometimes considered a dud among the Foxboro Faithful, at least when compared to Vinatieri. Gostkowski’s highly successful 14 years with the team still pales in comparison to Vinatieri and his legendary kicks (the tying/winning field goals in the Snow Bowl, the game-winning kicks in the Patriots’ first two Super Bowl wins, etc etc.) When your team is already down 55-10, every extra PAT is just salt in the wound.
2. Bill Dinneen
Did you know that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Americans squared off against each other in the first ever World Series back in 1903? During this best-of-nine series (lol can you imagine), “Big Bill,” as he was known by manager Jimmy Collins, won three games for the ol’ Americans, securing victory over the Pirates in eight games.
This was the first time Pirates fans would know heartbreak, but it would certainly not be the last.
1. Tom Brady
You knew this was coming.
No Boston athlete has brought me more pain and suffering over the years than Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. I used to pray for this man’s retirement.
But even when he wasn’t busy crushing the Steelers’ hopes and dreams, I lost track of the number of snoozefests I had to endure on Sunday afternoons watching Tom beat up on the Jets or Dolphins. Even when a game was close, you always knew how it would end. Oh, the Pats are down by 10 with two minutes left and only one time-out? Yawn.
And yet the amount of drama surrounding Brady was really something to behold. Spygate! Deflategate! Nightshades!
But here’s the truth that all sports fans know, even if few will admit it: You always hate the best, and there’s no denying that he was the best. When I saw 80 for Brady a few months back in theaters, I really was rooting for him during that 2017 Super Bowl in a way that I could not as it happened live. Now that he’s finally officially retired (or so we think…), I can admit that he is the GOAT, and that Deflategate was probably bogus.