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The Tuesday Off Topic: Teams We Root Against

Welcome to the latest and greatest more than adequate feature here at The Falcoholic!

Until the season officially kicks off, Adam, Jason and I will shock and entertain you each Tuesday with something that is only tangentially related to the Falcons and football. This week's post, about teams we love to hate outside of the NFC South, is probably the closest you're going to get to football. Hell, if you've got a suggestion for a Tuesday off topic you'd like to propose, you know how  to reach us.

If you'll join us after the jump, Jason Kirk and I will destroy two poor teams who have done nothing but idly exist up until now. This'll show 'em!

Jason Kirk rages:

First, my favorite thing about the Redskins: all their personnel decisions are made via Madden message board surveys. Q: Should we trade a shutdown cornerback for a running back who succeeded in Denver, despite the clear pattern of every running back succeeding in Denver? A: RUNNING BACKS SCORE TOUCHDOWNS! Q: Should we trade our perfectly decent young quarterback for Donovan McNabb's last two years, even though we have other pressing needs? A: JASON CAMPBELL SUCKS! Q: Should we spend every offseason purchasing the All-Pro team from four years prior? A: THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS!

It's not even a punchline. It's a rule of thumb. The Raiders sign track stars, the Bengals sign convicts, and the Redskins devote their summers to building city-sized Rube Goldberg apparati that launch flaming pallets of cash into outer space where they can be fired upon by iced-out satellites that do nothing but shoot gold bricks in every direction all day long a la the spray guns from Contra.

Endless entertainment. However, Daniel Snyder's hard-on for flinging money like it's chimpanzee feces also ties into one of the three worst things about the team.

1. They're the perfect team for Washington, DC.

A team's location matters. I sort of root for the Chiefs because I like their city. Half my family hails from KC. I'm sure you feel the same way about certain teams -- despite never calling the city home, you like the city and thus the team by extension.

We like it when teams take on the identities of their cities. The Steelers always seem to be the best example -- they're tough, principled, and straightforward. Well, if you had to pick a team to represent the home of the United States federal government, which has overspent so much money that all the dollars in the world couldn't pay off its debt, wouldn't you pick the Slurs?

This is no dis to the fine citizens of the DMV or the team's world-class fans, who dominate the league's attendance record books. And I'm not trying to drag us into a politics debate here -- just being honest. I hate the Washington Redskins, and the fact that their city houses the biggest, most wasteful, and most powerful bureaucracy of all time is a big reason why. Whether you get all worked up about taxes or wars (and pretty much everybody gets worked up about at least one of the two), you can find solace in watching the Redskins lose.

2. They should've changed their nickname 50 years ago.

Redskin is an epithet in descriptor's clothing. Pretending it's a tribute to Native American nobility is a joke -- you're honoring them for having reddish skin? Oh, ok. Would we also be fine with teams called the Yellowskins or Blackskins? As Chris Rock said, "Washington Redskins? That's like having a team called the New York N*******."

Let's remember team founder/owner George Preston Marshall was perhaps the most powerful white supremacist in all of sports, refusing to integrate his roster until he was forced to, long after all other teams had done so. Factoring in Marshall's decades of vigilant racism, does it feel a little naive to call the Redskins nickname a show of respect for a minority ethnic group?

This isn't that '90s argument about getting rid of all Native American nicknames, either.

3. They're too popular in Atlanta.

A Washington fan reading this would likely suggest reason #3 is my real beef with the Redskins -- I'm just jealous of the team's disproportionate southern presence. While that would be enough to dislike the Slurs, it really is only one movement in my suite of hate.

Until the Falcons came along, football in Atlanta meant Georgia Tech, the Washington Redskins, and whoever was on TV. As the Slurs were the closest thing to a southern pro team (What about Miami? Miami is its own market. Atlanta is as close to Ohio as Miami is to Georgia) and thus had most Sundays around here all to themselves, they developed a sizable Georgia fanbase. Hopefully it will continue to fade out over time, but whenever the Slurs come to town there's always a much-larger-than-normal contingent of foreign fans.

I hate the Washington Redskins.

Dave Choate grouses:

Those of you who know my past and present home will be able to see where this is going long before I slather your screen with rich, buttery hatred. As a native Masshole who spent most of his life in Maine before moving to New Hampshire for college and work, I've seen a little bit of everything New England has to offer. One of the most powerful lessons I've learned—besides the fact that every place with the words "Chowder House" in its name serves delicious food—is how to hate the New England Patriots.

For every wonderful, dedicated Patriots fan, there's two enormous jackasses to argue loudly and less coherently. For every one Patriots fan who suffered quietly through decades of ineptitude and heartbreak, there's three mouth-breathing morons who jumped on the bandwagon less than a decade ago but love to belittle "lesser" teams. For everyone at Pats Pulpit, there's an all too-close approximation of this guy (NSFW).

I spent my formative days as a Falcons fan in a tiny podunk town in the middle of Maine. Back then, the Patriots and the Falcons both kind of sucked, so nobody really bothered me. It was actually kind of nice to be able to commiserate with fans who knew what it was like to root for a team that regularly disappointed you. My one advantage over them was that I didn't have to have my team's blinding failure seared into my retinas on a weekly, scratch that. The Patriots were so bad they put the rest of the AFC East on TV instead. Yikes.

And then it all went downhill, and rapidly. When the Patriots got Drew Bledsoe and slowly became a real team, culminating in a Super Bowl visit against the Green Bay Packers, guys who couldn't care less about the team suddenly started wearing Bledsoe jerseys. Suddenly, my Falcons fandom was hilarious. I was regularly goaded to give up my team, like Tito Twoteeth had the right to lecture me on good teams after his bottom-feeding grouper of an AFC "powerhouse" suddenly materialized in the playoffs like Back to the Future with a Boston accent.

But you can't hate a team just because of their fans, can you? Eventually, you get used to crap like that. And so life went on....until the Patriots won in 2001.

Remember, I'm not an Atlanta native. Maybe there's some direct approximation I'm missing out on here that you can educate me about. I will say this: I have never seen a team transform from NFL afterthought to America's darling in less time than the New England Patriots. Suddenly, I couldn't go anywhere without being confronted by the silent specter of Bill Belichick, Smilin' Tom Brady and their merry band of kickass players. It wasn't just that the fans were insufferable—I haven't run into so many pricks at once since my days as a drunken acupuncturist—but that the team morphed from a football team into something enormous. Boston and New England in general loves its sports legends, and they will never let you forget that team's inherent superiority.

It only got worse, of course. The Patriots were a perennial powerhouse until recently, and having a reasonable conversation with a Pats fan is still like scrubbing your eardrums with steel wool. If the Patriots are good, they're elated. If the Patriots suck, well, there's never been a worse team. It's bipolar fandom at its ugliest. And all the way through, I had to confront the very real fact that not only was I angry with a team that seemed to go to extreme lengths to make itself secretive and unlikeable, but that I was jealous of their success. Not a pleasant epiphany.

Now, of course, the Patriots are re-loading and the Falcons are a young team on the rise. Hell, the teams are even practicing together this summer. Looking back, the Patriots have a richly deserved run of success and transformed the landscape of the NFL. Someday, we'll all look back and remember them as an iconic team. One day, we may be able to draw parallels between the successes of our two franchises. For the first time in my memory, I can actually get a Pats fan to grudgingly admit the Falcons are a good team. Maybe the times are changing.

Ah, screw it. I still hate those bastards.