In Defense of the "Rangers Suck" Chant

I've noticed not a few commenters on hockey that are Devils fans (and there seem to be plenty, finally, in the media) seem to be a little embarrassed by the "Rangers suck" chant, especially when it's at a game that doesn't involve the Rangers.

They shouldn't be.

First, expecting crowd behavior to conform to some Chesterfieldian norm is silly. As long as there have been crowds, they have behaved at a slightly lower level collectively than even your average human. But, is that even the case here? To be a Devils fan is, at least for those who have lived or grown up in New Jersey (especially in the past), to be subject to the condescending and superior attitude of New Yorkers and Philadelphians. For some reason, Philadelphians are able to maintain this ruse with themselves. At least New York is a great city.

But this issue goes beyond sports. And not that I'm suggesting he expressed any opinion on the chant, but Martin Brodeur knows what the recent victory over the Rangers meant and why, not just to himself, but to the fans of the Devils:

"But I think winning against them on the big stage, not just for me, but I think for the fans of New Jersey, the people that are supporting us and always taking a second seat to these guys for whatever reason, now they're going to be pretty happy going to work and going to school and doing all their things that they do."

At work and at school. Second seat. And for no good reason, either. Marty nails it.

Devils fans have no reason to worry about what anyone else thinks in North America. But in New Jersey is where most of us live or have connections and this is what we've put up with along the way. We're not worried that the Red Wings have 4 Cups since 1995 or that the Penguins also have 3 in the last 20 seasons. We've beat them. We don't like the old stereotype of being blamed for the Trap, even though the Montreal Canadiens invented it and numerous other teams won their championships using defensive systems. We don't like that lines were painted on the ice just to disrupt the skills of our hall of fame goalie.

But none of that compares to the unjustified condescension of the Ranger fans who show up at Devils games and talk about 1994 forever.

That is why the chant is, and should be, Rangers suck. Until that reality of life changes for people "going to work and school" that should be the chant.

If your embarrassed by this, I apologize. Not everyone in the world is nice all the time. Sports fandom, especially in a crowd, is not about Ps and Qs. And in this particular case, the reason that chant is said all the time is clear: every good thing our team does is slap in the face to the geographic condescension that goes with it.

You ought to ask yourself if a team without this motivation would have been as successful over the years, too. Giving players something to prove just by virtue of their location isn't a bad thing, necessarily—and I'm sure there was just a bit more push against the Rangers than there might have been against, say, the Capitals. (The players go home and watch the local media and read the papers which always put the Rangers first.)

Don't change the chant. Don't apologize for it. Don't be embarrassed by it.

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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