Which teams are the biggest posers in professional sports?
By Ryan Decker
Professional sports give us a few basic things every year, no matter the sport.
A villan – normally the team every other team is trying to beat, or the team with the biggest attitude. The contenders – the teams with the best chance at winning their league’s title. The non-contender and basement dwellers – the teams that definitely aren’t making the playoffs that season. And the posers – the teams that analysts say that can make some noise, but never do.
The villan, the contenders and basement dwellers normally change year to year. Sure some teams stay in their classification longer than others, but a lot of teams stay in a revolving door of classification.
Posers are different. Posers stay in their lane for a few years, sometimes even up to a decade. They’re fun to poke fun at, but generally speaking, are actually kind of annoying.
They muddy up the divide between, depending on the level of poser-ing they’re at, villan and contender, or between contender and basement dweller.
What teams in pro sports are muddying up the divide the most? Which teams are the biggest posers?
5. Dallas Cowboys
And a hush falls over the crowd.
How are the Dallas Cowboys posers? They were just an Aaron Rodgers-led drive away from going to the NFC Championship Game. How dare you?
Yeah, you’re right. They Cowboys were just an Aaron Rodgers-led drive away from going to the NFC Championship Game. Which is exactly why they are posers.
Sure, Dallas went 13-3 in the regular season, the team’s best mark since 2007. However, after a first round bye the ‘Boys looked no better than the four-seeded Green Bay Packers, which were a game away from being a Wild Card team.
And it’s those same Packers than you can easily make the argument that never should’ve beaten Dallas in the playoffs. Let’s not mix words, this wasn’t a Packers team destined to win a championship. Dallas, given the regular season it had, should’ve won by at least a touchdown.
The defense that gave up the aforementioned Rodgers-led drive late in the fourth quarter ranked 26th in the NFL in passing yards given up per game. Dallas’ defense, which got praised more and more as the season progressed as continuing to get better, never got better defending the pass.
Also, there’s a little thing called a sophomore slump. And Dallas’ two more important players will both be entering their sophomore years in the league this fall.
When Dallas has been as consistently average as it has been over the last nearly two decades – a winning season one year, a bad losing season shortly after with an 8-8 campaign somewhere close by – I’m not ready to say the Cowboys are a sure thing for 2017.
4. New York Knicks
All I want for Christmas this year is for everyone to stop treating the Knick like a glorious organization.
Historically speaking, the Knicks are an average franchise. New York entered this season with an all-time win percentage below .500, has endured a losing season 12 out of the last 15 years and is well on its way to another let down year this season.
Historically speaking, what happened last week between owner James Dolan and former Knick Charles Oakley is one of the more embarrassing things to happen in the NBA during the 21st century.
We use this saying a lot of times in sports, “Things like this only happen to bad teams,” and there’s no better way to describe the incident, and practically the entire Carmelo Anthony era in NY, better than that. Things like that only fail or happen at all on bad teams and bad organizations.
Enter the New York Knicks.
While plenty of other teams in similar markets – the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat – have been able to bring superstars together to compete for and win a championship since Anthony has been in New York, the Knicks have failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs (and that’s if they even qualify).
Once again this year, the Knicks were pegged as a team that should make the playoffs. Instead, Dolan and company are nearly a lock to be part of the NBA Draft lottery.
The Knicks don’t deserve The Garden, and if they were actually any good they’d be higher up on this list.
3. Washington Nationals
The Nationals have finished either first or second in the NL East each of the past five years, and will likely do it again this coming season.
Two years ago, they assembled what at the time looked like possibly the best rotation ever of Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez.
Washington has one of the most popular players in baseball in Bryce Harper.
And what have they done? …… Nothing!
A trio of bow outs in the NLDS.
But oh boy, twice the manager has been Manager of the Year, Harper was Rookie of the Year and Scherzer won a Cy Young Award.
Once again, the Nats will likely win the NL East in 2017. Only really the Mets stand in their way.
And once again, they’ll likely make a first-round exit from the playoffs.
There’s a reason the growing opinion in baseball is that Harper won’t be back when his contract expires in two years. Not because of the money (although it’s a LARGE factor) but because he wants to get a ring. And it’s not happening in Washington.
2. Toronto Raptors
I’m done thinking that this is the Raptors year. I’m done with it.
We as basketball fans have been led down this train of thought for the last two or three years and we’ve basically gotten the same result every time.
The current makeup of this team is not of one that can beat the Cavaliers in a seven-game series. Nor do I think they’d beat Boston in a series, and I think the Wizards would also beat them.
Since Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have gotten together in Toronto for the 2012-2013 season the Raptors have: missed the playoffs, suffered back to back first round exits including being swept, and then took advantage of one of the easiest routes to a conference finals ever and then got wrecked by the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And then they got arguably worse in the offseason.
To me, at best they’re the 4th best team in the East, and I’m not buying them at all as a team that could make the Finals.
Even the recent addition of Serge Ibaka doesn’t propel the Raptors to any higher than second-best in the East.
At least Toronto can say it only has one superstar-caliber player is DeRozan. This next team doesn’t have that same excuse.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Ever since the Clippers Big 3 of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan was assembled in the 2011-2012 season, the Clippers have been picked to be the team that can contend with whatever team is the top team in the West.
And every year, they’ve underachieved.
The best LA has finished is 3rd in the West, and they’ve never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
As a franchise, the Clippers have never been to the conference finals, let alone the NBA Finals.
A couple things to also consider:
1. This team still has to hang selfies instead of banners. If that doesn’t scream poser to you, you’re either a life-long Clippers fan, or just haven’t been paying attention.
2. The Clippers franchise has a .395 winning percentage. Entering this year they had 800 more losses than wins. I know we’re in a time period where title droughts go to die, but let’s stay within reason. This isn’t a championship team.
Currently battling for fourth place in the West with the Utah Jazz, there’s no way the Clippers are going to the NBA Finals. But that doesn’t mean analysts won’t pick them to be a team to watch out for in the playoffs.
Sure, we can watch LA. For the first round. After that, they’ll be watching with us.
Make sure to listen to Thursday’s episode of Mo0se-Talkas, presented by U-92, as Joel Norman and I will be going through our list of the five biggest posers in pro sports.