Most Underrated Team in Each Major American Sport


May 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) celebrates with teammates after a two run home run to bat in left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

How do you rate something?

What are the metrics used? Who is doing the rating? What is the rating in regards to, and are the subjects we rate independent of one another, or can everyone affect everyone else’s rating? Does this have anything to do with the rates they talked about during the financial crisis?

The answer to the last question is no. But, we are consistently rating things, particularly in sports. Athletes, teams, coaches, etc. — all can fall victim to our ever-important judgments. Unfortunately, as a group, we’re kind of dumb. Just about everything is either overrated or underrated. There’s no science to this, and it’s completely subjective, but trust me. For the next few hundred words or so, just respect the opinion (which, for the next few minutes, should be facts).

Across the four major sports, there is at least one underrated team lurking, probably more. But there are rules to this.

If you’ve won a championship recently, or have come very close, you will not be on this list. Even if you claim to be underrated as a champion, you’re a champion, and people are rating you as such. Alternately, if you really suck, you can’t be underrated, because you suck and deserve to be on no lists until you get better. So who out there is the most “disrespected”?

Oakland A’s, MLB

Nice to start out with someone at home, right? ONE All-Star selection? Sabermetrics is just a fad, and a bunch of geeks thought this up? Whatever; though the World Series trophy hasn’t been in the East Bay for about 20 years, the A’s are still churning out consistent contenders.

They don’t quite have the talent to make it to the next level, but every year they’re counted out, expected to fall victim to the big-spending Angels or Rangers. But, as a true underrated squad, they prove the doubters wrong.

Dec 8, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey (3) and point guard Brandon Knight (7) celebrate a basket in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Pistons, NBA

Who even talks about the Pistons? No one, except when they’re giving out $50 million to head cases who should be using their 6’9 athletic body to dominate the interior, but decide that they would rather hone their shooting skills. Other than that, though, they fly under the radar.

If you saw Greg Monroe play, you could see this team has plenty of potential. He’s a 6’11 center who looks to be the inside guy for this franchise. In a league where reliable centers are the rarest of the rare, having one who you drafted and could eventually be averaging 20-10 is a HUGE win.

There is no understating this — look what happened with Dwight the Indecisive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL

Another team on the up and up, having traded for Darelle Revis to push their last-ranked pass defense to fall more in line with their first-ranked rush defense. They’ve been quietly competitive, and though they forged an uninspired 7-9 campaign in 2o12, six of those losses were in the single digits.

Plus, they’re owned by the same people who own Manchester United, a club that is very well-known for winning. The franchise has everything it needs in order, and with the signing of Revis, it will take a jump forward, possibly into the playoffs.

St. Louis Blues, NHL

Apr 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; The St. Louis Blues celebrate their 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

What do you know about the Blues? They were the second-overall seed in the Western Conference a couple years ago, led by a stout defense that has kept them “in the hunt” for years.

I can’t even name anyone on the Blues off the top of my head, but I know they’re a good team that easily beat the Sharks in five games last year. Small market and no real marquee players gives these guys the ultimate underrated tag.

But they’ll be around next year, and because the NHL Playoffs are the most ridiculous thing you’ll ever watch, don’t be surprised if they make it interesting.