The Top 10 Lamest Rivalries in Sports
The only thing more widely celebrated in sports than player arrests and adultery is a well cultivated hatred of an opposing team. Any good parent will tell you that even though raising your child to despise somebody based on race or cult affiliation may be wrong, discriminating against people because they cheer for the wrong team is completely acceptable. Sometimes however, this hatred takes a wrong turn (usually somewhere in the New York area) and perfectly good disgust turns out to be a little lame. Here's 10 instances where that happened.
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10. USC vs. Notre Dame
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Individually, these schools are college football’s answer to Jon Gosselin and Al Qaeda in the popularity polls. Together, they form a perfect storm of obnoxious hubris when they meet every November in a game that not even the fame-seeking herpes enthusiasts on season 26 of The Bachelor could sit through for a chance to be on television. It’s the only game of the year in NCAA sports that replaces wheelchair parking with specialized bandwagon spaces outside of the stadium and the only time two teams feature a parade of delusion in lieu of a standard marching band at half time.
The fact that Notre Dame hasn’t won a national title in 20 years and is still shocked that top coaching prospects would rather stay in Idaho or Oregon than take over a six-win program is kind of like Scott Bakula continuously expressing outrage about his Joe DiMaggio-esque streak of Oscar snubs. (I’m also working on a theory about how the recent L.A. rainstorm is God’s way of punishing USC for the Lane Kiffin hiring – so expect to see some locusts roaming around Sunset Blvd. next week. Luckily, I’ve already got my lamb’s blood ready to smear on the door to let the Pac 10 Angel of Darkness know that I attended college in Arizona.)
In terms of the rivalry itself, let’s look at the facts:
Notre Dame has not defeated USC in their annual game since 2001, and has lost by an average of 24 points over that span.
The most memorable moment of their recent battles came when the Heisman trophy winner the team was illegally paying, illegally pushed his quarterback into the end zone for a touchdown that let his team lose to Texas several weeks later.
With the exception of people who love watching future draft busts before they destroy their franchises (looking at you yet again, Leinart), there’s far less interest in the result than both schools seem to fool themselves into thinking. Stop calling it one of the most anticipated games of the year!
9. Isiah Thomas vs. Anything He’s Touched Since Retiring
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An NBA legend known for his tenacious defense and his key role in the NBA’s “sexual harassment in the workplace” instructional video, Isiah Thomas enjoyed a successful basketball career filled with championship runs, all-star appearances, and an invite that got lost in the mail for the 1992 Dream Team. His retirement, however, has been a train wreck that Lindsay Lohan would call embarrassing if she wasn’t too busy launching her “Remember how I used to be an actress?” public relations campaign.
In his first job after hanging up his sneakers, Thomas became the Executive Vice President of the Toronto Raptors – where he decided to pass on selecting Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Estonia’s all time leading scorer Martin Muursepp (yes, the Martin Muursepp) in order to take Marcus Camby and his broken down body with the second overall pick (you’re welcome, Los Angeles). After leaving the Raptors four years after pledging to build them into a playoff caliber team (which they were the season he left), Thomas joined the NBC broadcasting team from 1998 to slightly later in 1998. Unfazed by a Jay Leno-level of failure, Thomas took $10 million of his own money to buy the Continental Basketball Association… which folded two years after he bought it.
Following a three-year stint guiding the Indiana Pacers to zero postseason wins, the New York Knicks looked at his résumé and said, “You know what, this guy has nowhere to go but up! Let’s give him a chance to ruin run our organization.” Fast-forward to 2010, and the Kicks are in complete shambles with the highest payroll in the league, one of the lowest win totals, a collection of players that have auditions scheduled for the Washington Generals, and an eight-figure payout to one of the women that Thomas sexually harassed/assaulted/tried to sign to a five-year contract to play power forward.
Currently, Thomas is coaching at the possibly fictional Florida International University where he currently boasts yet another losing record. So far, Isiah Thomas vs. Complete Failure is one-sided rivalry, but he’s bound to get a victory in here somewhere.