Empty Washington Redskins Stadium and Sympathy Zone Teams | Grantland
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Football
Stashed in: Texas
Q: I've been a Cowboys fan living in Boston my entire life. Everyday I just wish the Cowboys could make the same decisions as the Patriots. This is the worst torture any human can endure. It kills me Bill. Every day! The worst part? Patriots fans don't heckle me anymore! They don't keep telling me that Romo is the worst QB in the league! The Cowboys have officially reached the sympathy zone (when your team is in such bad shape, that other fans feel bad for you). What are the other sympathy zone teams? I think it's the Browns, Bills and Jaguars. NBA: Bucks, Bucks, Cavs, Bobcats and Bucks. MLB: Royals.—Nick, Lynn, MA
SG: I love this idea, even though your Vikings omission inadvertently strengthened their Sympathy Zone case because every Vikings fan angrily thought, Hey, what about the Vikings? For the record, I don't think the Cowboys qualify — those three Super Bowls didn't happen THAT long ago, and most football fans root against Jerry Jones and believe he deserves anything that happens to him. The Sympathy Zone comes down to two things. First, if you tell someone you're a fan of Team X and you're embarrassed even as you're saying it, your team qualifies. Second, if the other person instinctively tries to console you, then your team definitely qualifies. Here's the prototypical Sympathy Zone conversation:
Person A: "What's your favorite football team?"
Person B: [Immediately embarrassed.] "Well, I'm from Buffalo, so … "
Person A: "Oh no!"
Person B: "Yeah, I'm a lifelong Bills fan."
Person A: "Sorry, man."
Anyway, I liked your list — the Sacramento Kings and Pittsburgh Pirates definitely graduated from the Sympathy Zone in 2013. And the Lions probably did, too. I would add the Astros, Sabres, Raptors, Maple Leafs and the Indians (so we have all three Cleveland teams). Nick's biggest miss: How did he not include the Cubs? The Cubs are the Beatles of the Sympathy Zone. I ranked them no. 1 on my "Most Tortured Franchise" list three years ago and nothing's changed. As for the no. 1 active player in the Sympathy Zone …
Q: Tony Romo is the most fascinating trainwreck in all of sports. I have never watched a player who could be equally unstoppable and self-destructive in the same game. I am in awe.