Sports Section Selects: Our Loveable Underdogs

All of the teams mentioned in this story have either never won a championship or haven't come close to one in decades. (Photo courtesy of Izaac Crayton)

Emily: For as long as I can remember, if someone told me they were a Jets fan, I usually respond with “aw, I’m sorry.” I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way either, the Jets are truly the most loveable losing team in the NFL. The Jets have currently lost the nine games they have played so far, but this isn’t just a 2020 thing. The Jets haven’t had a season with more wins than losses since 2015, and haven’t been back to the Super Bowl since 1969. But what makes them loveable? To me, it’s the fan base that won’t give up on them. It sucks seeing your team lose over and over again, but you can still count on generations of fans saying “Jets, Jets, Jets!” at every game. If there is one thing I love about New York is the loyalty spectators show their favorite teams. As long as the fans are there to support them, the Jets will keep trying. And who knows? Maybe they’ll have a decade full of comebacks.

Jared: My favorite hockey team also happens to be one of the most forgotten franchises in North American pro sports. The suspect in question? The Florida Panthers. Yes, I adore an underachieving hockey team that plays in a Miami suburb. The words “hockey” and “Miami” are two words that you likely may not have ever said together in the same sentence and I don’t blame you. Since joining the NHL in 1993, the “Cats” made it to the Stanley Cup Finals once in 1996 (getting swept in four games by the Colorado Avalanche) and have been to the playoffs just six times in over 25 years, with their most recent appearance coming in 2016 (they lost in the first round). Their cavernous, plush arena in Sunrise, Fla. is virtually half empty at every game and most of the time, half of the crowd is rooting for the opposing team. Sounds pretty miserable, doesn’t it?

Then why do I love them? Well, I don’t recall ever seeing a Panthers fan in public (in New York) besides myself, meaning that they’re a unique and niche team to follow. I went to a game in Sunrise this past January, where they miraculously crushed the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-4. Experiencing a hockey game in the winter surrounded by palm trees and 80 degree weather was so surreal yet so amazing. Their logos and jerseys are astoundingly vibrant. Things are looking up for them: breaking barriers by hiring the first Black assistant general manager in NHL history on Nov. 17, Brett Peterson, and the boys have been bordering playoff contention for a few years now. It won’t be long before my underdogs (or are they undercats?) make some waves.

Jaime: In the sports world of New York City, you have championship caliber teams like the New York Giants for football and New York Yankees for baseball, but for basketball fans, sorry to say but we have the New York Knicks.

Let’s all be completely honest, the Knicks haven’t been a top caliber team capable competing for a NBA finals appearance since the Patrick Ewing era, when he had a cast of players like Mark Jackson at point guard, Allan Houston at the shooting guard, the athletic dominance of Anthony Mason at small forward, and at power forward Charles Oakley. In this period (1988-2001) this Knicks team made it to the playoffs every year, and made the Eastern conference finals in the year of 1994 and 1999, but ultimately lost in the NBA finals both times. The last time the Knicks had actually won a championship was back in 1973, as they have a total of two championships. But sadly, this championship effort did not stay with the New York Knicks post 1990’s; in the last 20 NBA regular seasons the Knicks literally have the worst overall record (672-952).

I will say this about the New York Knicks though; their electrifying atmosphere in the Madison Square garden seems to never disappoint as the Knicks have had still one of the highest attendance in person records for stadiums in the 21st century, and they also generate a high level of profit. As I grew up watching players like Stephon Marbury, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudmaire, I always imagined playing professional basketball for the New York Knicks. The passion the fans have even if the Knicks are down 30 is incredible. Yes of course the fans will be mad and yell in anger from time to time, but that all comes from their heart and love for the game. There hasn’t been a franchise star for the Knicks since Carmelo Anthony and the last time everyone was buzzing about the team was back in 2012 when this undrafted player, Jermey Lin, came out of nowhere and played for a losing Knicks team to provide a spark of fun and excitement. But sadly, this did not last long as his spark disintegrated and the Knicks still did not make the playoffs. One of the main problems the Knicks have had in the past is trading away pieces that would benefit their team, as players like Kristaps Porzingis and company were traded away for practically nothing in comparison to the Dallas Mavericks. Now the Knicks look to their news draft at No.8, Obi Toppin to get them out of this eight year playoff drought.

Although for the past 20 years the Knicks have had a terrible team performance as a whole, terrible front office organization trades and mistakes, it is still fun to watch them play and feel the atmosphere of the game channel through the mecca of basketball which is New York City.

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About Jared LaBrecque 103 Articles
Jared LaBrecque is a fourth-year journalism major. This is his fifth semester on The Oracle. He previously served as a News Copy Editor and a Sports Copy Editor. He enjoys writing about his favorite sports, Formula 1 and hockey, as well as Coldplay and cars.