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Boston Red Sox fans have a reputation that precedes them. Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

Duke hoops to 'Bama football: The most annoying fan bases in sports

Ponder this question: When you say you hate a particular team, are you actually talking about the team itself, or its fans? The players are just doing their jobs on the field, and while there are some whose play engenders blind rage from opposing fans, the real bad blood is created by those cheering for them from the stands (or on social media). From college to the pros, let's take a look at the most annoying fan bases across sports. 

 
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Duke basketball

Duke basketball
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cameron Crazies are still the gold standard of infuriating by which all other fan bases are measured. The smug self-satisfaction and overwhelming air of intellectual superiority, the camping out in tents, the lengths they'll go to troll stars on the opposing team — all of it is utterly enraging. They're so annoying that once in a while, they even manage to make Mike Krzyzewski angry. What is most annoying about them, of course, is what’s hardest to admit: Duke is a great program, and, annoying or not, it has hyper-loyal fans.

 
New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台It must be tough to cheer for the team with the deepest pockets in American professional sports — the team with 16 more World Series titles (27) than its closest competitor. That’s the only way to explain the magic mix of aggressive anger and chest-puffing superiority that defines Yankees fans. They’re loud, obnoxious and impossible to please but also want you to know that they “really know baseball.” The only saving grace is that the Yankees went without a World Series for the entirety of the 2010s, which is an eternity for some of the most annoying fans on earth.

 
3 of 25

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Bears fans really are the characters from the famous "Saturday Night Live" skit. They’re still living off the accomplishments of the 1985 team, and despite the fact that Chicago usually isn’t a serious threat, owing to its abysmal quarterback situation, fans still assume that every year is the one that will signal the team’s return to glory. The blind, unwavering, loudly expressed belief in the Bears would be exponentially more annoying, if it wasn’t so sad.

 
4 of 25

Notre Dame football

Notre Dame football
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Notre Dame hasn’t won a national championship in 32 years. Interestingly, there are probably around 32 million fans who claim Notre Dame as “their team” despite not having attended the school. Of course, it’s fine to cheer for a school without having gone there, but it’s practically an epidemic when it comes to the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame fans will lecture you about how this year, it’s going to be different, and how Touchdown Jesus and the rest of the game day experience border on mystical. The only thing that makes all the unearned arrogance bearable is the fact that the Irish reliably get their teeth kicked in anytime they play a truly great team. But hey, I’m sure they’ll get ‘em next year!

 
New England Patriots
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to put into words how annoying Patriots fans are. The franchise was a complete dumpster fire. Then Tom Brady arrived. Six Super Bowls in 20 seasons later, you’d think they would be happy, right? Wrong. Pats fans still think the NFL is out to get them, that the powers that be want them to lose, and that every one of their wins is somehow a victory for the little guy over the establishment. Of course, the opposite of all of this is what is actually true. As with any bad sports behavior in Boston (redundant, I know), I blame Bill Simmons. Just an awful fan base, which will jump ship en masse at the first sign of trouble.

 
Pittsburgh Penguins
Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had, with the exception of perhaps two seasons out of the last 36, either the best hockey player on the planet, or someone in the top three. Some seasons, they’ve had the two best players on the planet. They’ve won five Stanley Cups since drafting Mario Lemieux way back in 1984 and three this century with Sidney Crosby. Do their fans seem happy? Of course not. If you want to go to the scariest place on the internet, just do a Twitter search for “Pens” while the team is losing. Spoiled doesn’t begin to describe this group, who are the Patriots fans of the NHL.

 
Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

On one hand, Toronto Maple Leafs fans are incredibly devoted. Their team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967, which would be akin to the Yankees or Lakers suffering a similar drought, and still, Leafs tickets are in major demand. On the other hand, they scrutinize everything that every player on the team does and try to ascribe meaning to all of it. It’s a desperate, off-putting habit, and one imagines that playing for the Maple Leafs isn’t all that fun, because the very fans you’re trying to win for are the ones who hate you the most. Good luck, Auston Matthews!

 
Los Angeles Lakers
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Vapid celebrities attending games just to be seen? Check. A glorious history of success that gives every fan a superiority complex? Check. Those same fans freaking out when things aren’t going well? Also check. That’s basically Lakers fans in a nutshell. Los Angeles is a Lakers town through and through, but while the team and its fans aren’t as annoying as some other flagship organizations, they are still incredibly tough to tolerate, even with the eminently likable LeBron James as the face of the franchise.

 
Golden State Warriors
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台The Warriors’ mid-2010s run produced some of the prettiest, most dominant basketball in recent NBA history. It also revealed to the general public how awful Golden State’s fans are. Everything bad about the tech industry is manifest in the Warriors’ fan base. Tech bros paying obscenely inflated prices for courtside seats, the idea that somehow everything Golden State does on the court is revolutionary — all of it is just bad. It’s kind of nice that the team is suffering through a brutal first season in their shiny, comically expensive arena. Perhaps that will bring the fans back to earth.

 
St. Louis Cardinals
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals fans didn’t invent baseball, but they’d like you to believe that is the case. There are few things in sports more infuriating than passive-aggressive friendliness from opposing fans, and Cardinals fans have that market cornered. I bet it’s easy to appreciate great performances from opposing players when your team is a perennial contender. The patronizing attitude from fans in the ballpark is bad enough, but Cardinals fans on Twitter? They’re a phenomenon unto themselves, and not in a good way. An astonishingly infuriating fan base.

 
11 of 25

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Away from the stadium, or when not discussing their favorite team, Broncos fans are probably pretty chill and fun to be around. However, they make the cut for one reason, and one reason only: They pioneered the worst cheer in sports history. That cheer? “!” I don’t care how long it has been going on. I don’t care that it’s a little routine with the public address announcer. It makes my blood boil. The guy who used to wear the barrel to the games was pretty cool, however.

 
Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

DID YOU KNOW: The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls, tied for the most in post-merger NFL history? If not, their fans will tell you. And lest you think you’re safe from this annoying phenomenon because you’re reading this piece in, say, Flagstaff, let me assure you that you are not. That's because Steelers fans are everywhere. And they’re about where they’re from, or who they root for. As a born, bred, and currently residing Pittsburgher, it gives me no pleasure to write this, but the truth hurts.

 
13 of 25

New York Jets

New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台In big cities, usually it’s easier to root for the “little brother” team than the established powerhouse. The fans also tend to be more tolerable. The Clippers, White Sox and Mets are all examples of this. The Jets are not. Jets fans have started to embrace their fatalism and lean into the franchise’s futility too much. The booing of every top draft pick is played out, and the mere existence of Fireman Ed is enough to make any person hate a fan base that could produce such a clown. Giants fans might be elitist, but those who cheer for the J-E-T-S really S-U-C-K.

 
14 of 25

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Red Sox fans were borderline likable? Incredibly enough, I do. Then came their 2004 rally from down 0-3 to the Yankees in the ALCS, a subsequent World Series romp, and friends, everything changed. Released from the Curse of the Bambino, Red Sox fans were free to embrace their true, infuriating nature. The Red Sox have won three more World Series since that 2004 curse-breaker, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to their fans whine all day, every day. Nothing is ever good enough in Boston, and no fans are more deserving of success; just ask them. You know what? I’m glad Mookie Bettsnb游戏平台 got traded.

 
15 of 25

Penn State football

Penn State football
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Full disclosure: I went to Penn State. And I never rooted for the football team. Why? Well part of it was my bizarre affinity for the Tommie Frazier Nebraska teams of the mid-1990s, but the much larger part was the jaw-dropping arrogance from fans of a program that hasn’t won a national championship since 1986. There is a lot of smug self-satisfaction from Penn Staters, and while James Franklin clearly has the program knocking on the door, it still feels like there is a major gulf between the Nittany Lions and the sport’s true blue bloods. If I have to hear one more time about the unique energy at a prime-time “white-out” game, I’m going to puke.

 
16 of 25

North Carolina basketball

North Carolina basketball
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Duke fans deservedly get the most venom of any college hoops fan base, but North Carolina isn’t exactly filled with humble, “aw shucks” types. Carolina fans are arrogant, hardly a unique quality for a bad fan base, but there’s almost a detached sense about them at the same time. They want their team to win, but if they suffer an upset, no big deal, because they’ll be back with a bevy of top recruits the next season. If you’re a fan of a program that can’t just rely on five-star recruits year after year, that can be tough to take.

 
17 of 25

Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Raptors fans seem pretty cool. And then there’s .

 
18 of 25

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Everything that made Cubs fans fun when the team was a loser — the drinking, the lamentations about the team’s struggles, the leaning into the lovable loser status — disappeared instantly when they won the World Series. Immediately thereafter, they became even worse than Red Sox fans, an impressive feat. Cubs fans are spoiled, entitled and whiny and somehow managed to retain a put-upon vibe. Those are the nicest things I could say about them too. I blame Joe Maddon for at least some of it, so perhaps things will improve from here on out. But probably not.

 
19 of 25

Michigan football

Michigan football
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Michigan football fans are a special kind of enraging. There’s the towering superiority complex, which is rooted in the belief that their school is Ivy League-quality, and there’s the reverential-bordering-on-creepy devotion to everything Bo Schembechler did. You’d think that some of the ugly losses the program has suffered this century would have humbled Wolverines fans somewhat, but you’d be wrong. Ohio State has lapped them, Penn State is now pretty clearly the better program, and in any given year Wisconsin and Michigan State are just as good, if not better. Maybe drop the whole “we’re better than you” bit until it’s actually true again.

 
20 of 25

SEC football fans

SEC football fans
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Are you aware that the SEC is a great football conference — the best in the land? If not, just let literally any SEC fan tell you so. SEC fans hate each other, but close ranks to defend the conference as a whole whenever any analyst or talking head has the gall to suggest that the league isn’t as good as it thinks it is. Even though the SEC is objectively the best league, the fans are so annoying with their constant reminders of this fact that it makes me root for Alabama, Georgia, LSU and the rest of the conference’s powerhouses to go down in flames whenever possible. Since these fans represents an entire region of the country, they might be loudest, worst and most unavoidable of all.

 
21 of 25

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t reached the NFC championship game, let alone the Super Bowl, since 1995. They have just eight double-digit win seasons since that their Super Bowl XXX win. Still, they receive an immense amount of media coverage, and their fans constantly expect a title whether the roster suggests one is possible or not. Cowboys fans are everywhere, and they want you to know that the Cowboys are America’s team, and they’re the best fans around and they’re hyper-loyal. Also, most of them haven’t set foot in Dallas once in their lives. The Notre Dame fans of the NFL.

 
Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost passe to say that Eagles fans are terrible. They take pride in it at this point. Still, Eagles fans are terrible. Not all of them, to be fair. There are plenty of pure-hearted die-hards that bleed green and things of that nature. There are also plenty of people who act badly because they want to live down to the city’s reputation for boorish behavior. That’s equal parts dumb and infantile and lands them here. Oh also, some of these people genuinely believe that Nick Foles is better than Carson Wentz.

 
23 of 25

Houston Astros

Houston Astros
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros fans would never have made it onto anyone’s “annoying fans” radar before this past year. However, Houston’s trash can scandal has brought out the worst in their fans, who are playing the victim card, the revenge card (though their team richly deserved their punishment, and probably got off easy) and the “we’ll win it again this year just to stick it to baseball” card. It’s mind-boggling, cult-like behavior, and it’s infuriating every time you see it. They might not be historically annoying, but Astros fans have proved to be quick studies.

 
24 of 25

Kentucky basketball

Kentucky basketball
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Kentucky basketball fans are the college hoops equivalent of St. Louis Cardinals fans. There’s a lot of self-satisfaction there plus the overwhelming sense of ownership of the sport itself. Kentucky fans will cheer a truly memorable performance by an opposing player, then make sure to point out to anyone within earshot that they just appreciate great basketball, no matter who is playing it. They expect a national championship every year, and while the team is usually at least on the fringes of serious contention, the idea that a Final Four trip can be viewed as a disappointment is nauseating. Oh, and like Cardinals fans, they’re terrible on Twitter too.

 
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Alabama football

Alabama football
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

You’d think that Alabama fans who lived through the legitimately disappointing post-Gene Stallings era would be overjoyed at the program’s overwhelming dominance since Nick Saban took over. You’d be wrong. Saban has brought five national championships to Tuscaloosa, has lost more than two games in a season just twice in 13 years, and routinely has the Crimson Tide looking so dominant that even when they suffer an upset loss or two, many still view them as the best team in the country. Alabama fans care about none of that. They just like to complain. And complain. And complain some more. Are they malicious? Not necessarily. Are they the sports equivalent of spoiled children? Definitely.

Chris Mueller is the co-host of The PM Team with Poni & Mueller on Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan, Monday-Friday from 2-6 p.m. ETnb游戏平台. Owner of a dog with a Napoleon complex, consumer of beer, cooker of chili, closet Cleveland Browns fan. On Twitter at – please laugh.


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