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The dirtiest teams of all time

The Korean short-track skating team got disqualified so often at the recent Vancouver Olympics they must qualify as one of the dirtiest teams in Olympic history – not including issues with drugs, anyway. They may have even eclipsed Bonnie Blair of the US in the annals of short-track skullduggery, which is saying something!

This got me thinking, where would the Koreans rank in the pantheon of all-time dirty teams. I’m not sure I can place them, but where do you think they fall in this less than illustrious list, arranged alphabetically.

The Argentinian National Football (Soccer) Team
Even if you don’t include the “hand of God” (yes i’m still bitter, deal with it!), the Argentinians have dived and cheated their way to legendary status on this list. I’m still bitter about Simeone and Batistuta too.

Charlestown Chiefs (from the movie “Slapshot”)
Did i say they all had to be real teams? They were loosely based on the Johnstown Jets after all. The Chiefs, led by Paul Newman as player-coach Reggie Dunlop, are certainly one of the funniest teams of all time too, but don’t let that fool you. With the Hanson Brothers leading the way, the Chiefs made the fans happy, and started winning, when they turned to goonery. Easily one of the funniest sports movies of all time – “puttin’ on the foil coach!”

Detroit Pistons – circa 1990
The Pistons had some really great players, but they also had three of the toughest players ever in Lambier, Mahorn & Rodman. When Rodman was seen as the nicest of the three, you know what we’re dealing with. Ted Davis, longtime announcer for the Milwaukee Bucks, on Lambier: “Dirtiest player: Bill Lambier. The dirtiest of the dirty. Actually tried to hurt his opponent. Actually tried to hurt his teammates in practice. Was WWF before WWF was cool.” 😀

The Italian National Football (Soccer) Team
The don’t have a single defining moment like the Argentinians, they have a series of them! Ask the French and Aussies most recently, but you could make a good case they deserve the top spot. They have defined diving in world football for a long time, and have an amazing ‘pedigree’ in this category.

Los Angeles Raiders – NFL
The Raiders have long been known as a tough team, but Al Davis instilled a whole new level of belief in various iterations around Southern California. Davis was always the glue, and really built up the reputation. The fans, the “Raider Nation” also bought into it, and are some of the most fervent in the NFL.

New York Islanders – circa Early 80’s
While the Islanders were nowhere near as tough as the Chiefs or the Flyers (see below), having Billy Smith in net more than made them eligible for this list. It was a very dangerous job skating even CLOSE to the Islanders net with Billy around. Bashing the back of players in front of net is one thing, but anyone who remembers him felling Gretzky lumberjack style while he was skating BEHIND his net knows why this team made the list.

Philadelphia Flyers – circa 1972-1978
The ‘Broad Street Bullies’ era in Flyer’s history loosely parallels the Charlestown Chiefs, with a mediocre team rising to prominence once they started getting physical. Dave Schultz led the team in penalty minutes, but the whole team bruised and bashed their way to success throughout the 70’s, and on into the 80’s.

Wimbledon – circa 1980’s/90’s – Football (Soccer)
The original Wimbledon, most often remembered as “the Crazy Gang” didn’t have a reputation for playing a beautiful brand of football, they were one of the first recognised ‘long ball’ teams. They were tough though, and one of those teams no-one wanted to play against. Now a Hollywood movie actor, Vinnie Jones summed up the Wimbledon approach with one of the most infamous marking jobs of all time on Paul Gascoigne (see picture). Best sports picture of all time!

I’m sure I’ve missed some other classic nasties, both real and fictional, perhaps “The Bad News Bears” deserved a spot? The original crew anyway, with Matthau. Another honourable mention to the Mean Machine from the movie “The Longest Yard”, with Burt Reynolds.

After reviewing this list perhaps those Koreans aren’t as bad as I first thought!

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