Once upon a time, Chris Chelios was a man that Detroit Red Wings fans wanted no part of. He was mean, snarly, and a jerk. He also wore a Chicago Blackhawks jersey.
Then things changed.
He was still mean, snarly, and a jerk, but now he wore a Red Wings jersey. And the thing Detroit fans vowed would never happen did. They cheered the man, loved the man, and drank beers and shots at his tavern outside Comerica Park.
Seinfeld was right. We don’t cheer or jeer at the men. We cheer the shirts they wear.
There has been a long list of villains who’ve made things rough for our local teams. There was Claude Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. In fact, you are not to call this man Sidney Crosby in this town. He is Cindy. Many Pistons fans grew a hatred of Michael Jordan and LeBron James while Detroit Lions fans jeered Dick Butkus. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
Strangely, the list of villains has disappeared over the years along with the decline of Detroit sports teams. Is there really anyone you hate today? Is there any figure lurking who gleefully puts his foot on the necks of our local heroes?
The answer is no.
Until these rebuilds turn into rebirths villains will be scarce. I suppose the Houston Rockets Jalen Green might fit as a villain because he believes Detroit to be a cow town that he wants no part of.
Who cares? The Pistons got Cade Cunningham.
Green is in no position to harm the Pistons because he plays on a bad team in the Western Conference. And it’s unlikely we see a Cade Cunningham vs Green showdown in the NBA Finals any time soon.
We still might be salty with LeBron for scoring 25 straight points against the Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. However, that was so long ago. Besides, Pistons fans are more likely to remember James more as a flopper than a man who was a flipper of that series 14 years ago.
Detroit Tiger fans have probably built up a hatred of Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox fans because of rude road behavior. But is there anyone on either team that gets under your skin?
The day will come when we will hate again. That, however, will coincide with our local teams getting stronger and more competitive.
Do you really hate Aaron Rodgers for beating up a 2-11-1 Lions team? Probably not. But that anger will grow if he knocks the Lions out of the playoffs a couple years in a row and screams “Detroit. I own you.”
That’s when he becomes a villain.
Follow Foster on Twitter at TerryFosterDet.