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The villains of any sports series or movie, the Opposing Sports Team is the number one team before the main hero's eventual victory. They seem to be made up of Designated Villains and Villainy Free Villains, but they are not: they got to this point not because of Team Spirit, but because of either cheating and/or bullying and abusive behaviour or at the best of times a grueling, soulless regimen that goes against whatever the Aesop of the show is. They almost always wear a uniform that is mostly black. These may be The Psycho Rangers to sports what the "Stop Having Fun" Guys are to video games; the types who play the game solely to win, and will resort to any means to do so.

Also seen in commercials as the side that does not endorse the main product, whom the hero defeats through Cereal-Induced Superpowers.

In 1980s and 1990s vintage sports movies, this team is the posse of bullying, snobbish, white private school rich kids, while the hero's team comprises ethnically diverse middle- to lower-class public schoolers and Lovable Jocks - making it overlap with Slobs Versus Snobs. Watch for a dirty scheme to close the neighborhood rec center, and lots of northeastern-accented trash-talk.

If the competition is international, expect the Opposing Sports Team to be either Soviet (Red Commies trained from birth in athlete factories and pumped on steroids) or German (hyper-efficient, arrogant, and we'll never forgive them for the war). For bonus points, they could be East German, combining both. Nowadays the reputation of the from birth athlete factory has largely shifted towards the Chinese, as Russia radically downscaled old Soviet youth sports programs, while China took this tactic and ran with it. In Chinese works and Cyberpunk stories however, there are chances that the opposing sports team will be Japanese, or even the white and rich kids aforementioned.

In Professional Wrestling, usually with Tag Teams, an Opposing Sports Team is usually a Power Stable full of Heels, while the hero team usually consists of the Faces.

In competitive video games, they are generally considered SNK Boss teams due to how rampant they cheat to reach their goals. A single player has to use hidden skills or even bribe with real money to defeat them.

See also Technician Versus Performer, Outclassed at the Gym. Jerk Jock is about individual athletes who are jerks, but there is some overlap, in that they have similar attitudes of cruelty, aggression, the acceptability of kicking dogs and abuse of all the privileges of being a winning athlete.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You has three examples:
    • The mayor of Kiraisugi-chou hires professional athletes to compete against Sukisugi-chou during the annual athletics festival.
    • Iku's introduction arc has the Jurassic High Baseball Team, who resort to underhanded tactics and have bad attitudes, though the Volume 5 bonus pages show them going out to eat with Rentarou's family after the game, and they later show up for the family's idol performance.
    • The most commonly seen Opposing Sports Team are the Gorira Alliance, a gang of Gonky Femme delinquents who often appear whenever Rentarou's family needs a team to compete against. After their first appearance, they're much friendlier to the family and have no issue helping the family out. When Ahko's former friends run afoul of them, the leader is willing to let them off with a warning when they claim to know Karane.
  • Averted with Haikyuu!!, where opposing teams are never villainous; they simply have different philosophies and strategies. The opposing teams and characters' own emotional backgrounds are explored enough that it is hard not to feel bad when they lose or not to cheer when they win. A famous saying in the fandom is "The best thing about Haikyuu is you love all the teams. The worst thing about Haikyuu is you love all the teams".
    • Subverted with Aoba Johsai and its captain Oikawa. While at first it seems like Aoba Johsai will be set-up as their arch-enemy "villainous" school, they are a great team on their own right with great teamwork and have compelling and empathetic characters. In his first appearance, team's setter and captain Oikawa belittles Hinata and Kageyama, and it is clear Kageyama - who has known him in middle school - does not like his personality. It is also later revealed that Oikawa was once about to hit a 12-year old Kageyama when they were in middle school. He also comes of as the intimidating super-star of his team. However, it is later revealed that his teammates trust him 100%. He is very supportive of each of them and is the best at giving them the most accurate sets. His dynamic with Kageyama also gets explored and shines a sympathetic light on Oikawa. The exploration of his character, his Backstory, and his Character Development subverts his initial "villainous"ness.
  • In Attacker You!, You and her team the 7 Fighters have quite a few rivals such as Eri Takigawa's team, the Sunlight Players, who are more of a Worthy Opponent; and more prominently the Saiei team lead by Heinz and Crosby, a duo of notoriously bitchy and contemptuous foreign girls who often take advantage of their strength to bully and browbeat their opponents.
  • Big Windup! — For the first team, It's Personal between the entire team and the main character. For the next, between another main character and just one guy. They're both hyped-up enough to invoke Underdogs Never Lose for the protagonists, but only the first one kicks the dog. Overall the series is too nice to have evil opponents, though.
  • Usually averted in Captain Tsubasa: The opposing team is almost always a sympathetic team of fair players, and when it's not, usually only a few of them are a threat... and those Can't Get Away with Nuthin'.
  • Mostly averted in Cross Game, the exceptions being the teams coached by Shugo Daimon. Most other teams seem to be enjoying the game no matter how competitively they play. During the tournament, many players on opposing teams are smiling even as they lose because of the high level of play they witness. Daimon's teams, on the other hand, are stuffed with recruits who care nothing for the school they play for or even other members of their team, just winning and impressing professional scouts.
  • Eyeshield 21 features a few of these. The Amino Cyborgs are the "soulless regimen" type, while the Zokugaku Chameleons start out as the "filthy cheaters" type. The Hakushuu Dinosaurs would be considered cheaters in most other series, as their game revolves around injuring the opposition, but they're just looked down on as unfair and mean. Lastly, the Teikoku Alexanders have the anti-aesop thing going, since the rivalry inside the team is almost bigger than that against their opponents. The series also averts this, as many of the opposing teams are portrayed sympathetically, or as rivals. The series doesn't play down the fact that the Devil Bats are crushing many, many other players' dreams, either. In some games, the opposition comes off so well, you almost root for them.
    • Agon of the Shinryuuji Nagas fulfills this trope pretty much all by himself; he manages to drag an otherwise pleasant team down by being overtly villainous, cruel, and hateful.
    • The trope is played very straight by the American Pentagram; on a team led by Clifford and Mr. Don, only Panther is remotely sympathetic.
  • Subverted by the Samezuka swim team from Free!. They're tough competition and don't play around, but most of them are perfectly friendly guys, especially their captain, Seijuro Mikoshiba. Really, the only one that directly antagonizes the Iwatobi team is Rin, and even he gets over himself and becomes a friend later on.
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu puts a spin on this with the Garasuyama High rugby team, who fit the mold for the most part. Their rivals at Jindai win not through determination and wits, but because Sosuke puts them through Training from Hell that changes them from weak-willed cowards into violent psychopaths. Garasuyama gets beaten (both in the athletic and physical sense) so badly that they become a bunch of Shell Shocked Veterans who never reclaim their former glory.
    • Not to mention, when the Garasuyama team does the obligatory Evil Gloating and trash-talking, Kaname is so frustrated with her own team's wussiness that she actually agrees with Garasuyama and laughs along with their taunts.
  • Averted most of the time in Future GPX Cyber Formula, as the racing teams are mostly sympathetic as the series progresses, while some (like Missing Link, at least in the first half of the TV series) did use cheating tactics like crashing racers' cars under the orders of Smith.
  • Kuromorimine (the protagonist's former team) and Pravda High Schools in Girls und Panzer, the former more than the latter. Kuromorimine is a German-themed school with black uniforms that emphasizes efficiency and winning at all costs, which is why Miho actually left it. Pravda, a Soviet-themed team, is much more laidback, and aside from their captain being a bit of a jerk,note  is portrayed far more sympathetically. They are also apparently on a good terms with the very sportsmanlike and proper St. Gloriana Academy, one of the most sympathetic opponents in the series. What they share, though, is that they're much better equipped and funded than the protagonists' team.
  • Gundam Build Fighters and its sequel Gundam Build Fighters Try typically subvert this, mostly by showing that Sei, Reiji, and Team Try Fighters' opponents might be serious about winning, but they're still decent people who love Gundam and Gunpla Battle as much as they do. In fact, most of the time, said opponents end up becoming the heroes' friends after all is said and done. Two straight examples of this trope include the Renato Brothers from the first series (who treat the game like real war and want to destroy Meijin's good public image with a humiliating defeat) and Team SRSC from Try (who fit the "soulless regimen" version of this trope and aren't prepared to deal with anything that doesn't match up with their grueling statistical analysis of the opposing team).
  • As a basketball manga, Harlem Beat is of course loaded with these.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Subverted in the baseball story — the SOS Brigade enters a tournament and immediately gets paired against the reigning champions, who are actually perfectly decent fellows who've spent long hours practicing. The Brigade resorts to cheating in order to win the game, leaving the other team in tears at the degree to which they got pummeled. Yeah, that's right, Our Heroes are the Opposing Sports Team.
    • Played straight in the Day of Sagittarius III story, where the computer club fills the role.
  • Averted in Hajime no Ippo, where the opponents usually are just as sympathetic and dignified as Ippo himself, and the anime does not shy away from spending at least one entire episodes to flesh out the character of Ippo's current opponent. Even dirty Mashiba is shown as an orphan who fights to give him and his little sister Kumi a decent life.
  • From IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix, Teams Sledge Mama and Velshtein in the first season. Sledge Mama is made up of a bunch of violent thugs who aren't above cheating to get ahead. Team Velshtein, meanwhile, are the arrogant reigning champs whose coach treats them like soldiers. The second season introduces Team White Snow, who are even worse, cheating more often and more flagrantly, and being meaner and more arrogant.
  • Renko's slate of Student Council candidates in episode 1 of Kujibiki♡Unbalance.
  • Kuroko's Basketball:
    • The Kirisaki Daiichi team is full of unrepentant cheaters. They are led by Makoto Hanamiya, who tells Kuroko that he plays the way he does for no other reason besides liking to see the faces of the players whose dreams he has crushed. They are also responsible for injuring Teppei Kiyoshi a year ago and compromising his career. They don't regret it even a bit.
    • Zigzagged with the Fukuda Sōgō team. Their ace player is Shōgo Haizaki, an arrogant and violent delinquent who pushes his own captain around. Said captain and the rest of his teammates are actually decent people, but powerless to put a leash on Haizaki, so they let him run amok on the court. Haizaki's special ability is an Evil Counterpart to Kise's Power Copying; whereas Kise just copies his opponents' abilities, Haizaki is considered to steal them, since the players become unable to use their abilities once he copies them.
    • Zigzagged with the Generation of Miracles. When they were together at Teiko, the discovery of their talents made them very arrogant and they didn't take their opponents seriously since they could win without even trying. They were never as awful as the above examples, though. When they entered high school, they went their separate ways and joined different teams, resulting in their new, more down-to-earth teammates offsetting them.
    • The antagonists of the movie Last Game are the American team Jabberwock, who are contemptuous towards Japanese players to the point of racism, calling them "monkeys" and saying they have no right to play the game. They're not shown to repent at the end after they are beaten by the Vorpal Swords.
  • These are ever-present in Major, but especially in the 3rd season, where defeating Kaido High is the motivation for almost everything the protagonist does. However, in a bit of a subversion, his team doesn't win.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi gives this treatment to a group of high school students during a dodgeball game early in the manga.
  • There is a solid ton of these in The Prince of Tennis, though most of the members of these teams are made just sympathetic enough to allow for mountains of Slash Fic. Special cases are Higa (whose coach is a Evil Teacher and are portrayed almost textbook Jerkasses at first) and Rikkaidai (tennis-playing Knight Templars... as well as a particularly strong set of True Companions led by a Delicate and Sickly whom they genuinely care for).
  • Kituragi Academy's boys' baseball team in Princess Nine.
  • Subverted and downplayed in ViVid Strike!. The Frontier Gym seems like this due to Jill's belief that only Born Winners can excel in competitive martial arts conflicting with Nove's belief of hard work, but it's revealed very quickly that their supposed animosity was due to a slight disagreement they had during an interview getting blown out of proportion by the media. Also, several members of Frontier Gym were already friends with Team Nakajima back in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid.
  • Not a sports team, but in Wake Up, Girls!, I-1 club is essentially this, being Japan's top Idol Singer group (and an AKB48) Expy) enduring a soulless training regimen where members can be fired for a single screwup (and in the backstory, Mayu was essentially fired for standing up for her friend).
  • In Uma Musume, Team Rigil is a Lighter and Softer example of the trope. They are the best of the best in racing, with an extremely strict coach that has a harsh training regime. Silence Suzuka felt too restricted by these methods, and decided to switch teams out of concern that she would lose her love of running. But no one resents her for this decision, and several of the Rigil girls are close friends with Team Spica. Their coach, Hana, even turns out to be a stern Team Mom, and is hinted to have romantic feelings for Spica's trainer.
  • Zoids: New Century has the Backdraft Group, an illegal organisation which subverts the "noble" sport of Zoids battles and forces the hero team into unsanctioned battles. Fortunately, the Backdraft Group seems to be primarily made up of maladjusted screwups...

    Comic Books 
  • In Archie Comics, Riverdale plays almost exclusively against Central City, an entire city with a population of nothing but criminals, cheaters, and con artists, all of whom hate everything pertaining to Riverdale. The one time a Central player was portrayed sympathetically was when Archie and Chuck saved his life, while his friend abandoned him to die so he could win the race.
  • The Leader team from Michel Vaillant.
  • 2000 AD
    • A common feature of the "future sports" series. For example, almost every team the Slayers go up against in The Mean Arena is either entirely this, or has a Jerkass star player who makes It's Personal part of the story. The notable exception is the Oxford Invaders who despite having had plastic surgery to look like alien monsters are sweet to children and honorable to a fault. (And enraged when the villain of the week makes it look like they're cheating.)
    • The first story in the Lowborn High setting, about a Good Old British Comp version of Wizarding School, mentioned Wychdusk Manor as the posh boarding school counterpart. The second story has Lowborn play Wychdusk at the Fictional Sport Orbitus, and Snobs Versus Slobs is very much in effect, with the main representative of Wychdusk referring to the Lowborns as "oiks" and suggesting that, after they win, the Lowborn team can clean their changing rooms. He also offers the main character (a member of a posh wizarding family who ended up at Lowborn because his grades were so bad) a chance to get into Wychdusk after all ... if, of course, he throws the game.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Tank, Cody's main surfing rival from Surf's Up , is a egotistical yet skilled bully who won the championship nine times. Interestingly, neither wins the championship this time. This honor belongs to Chicken Joe, who didn't even know he was competing.
  • The MonStars in Space Jam, who can only win by stealing the power and talent of actual professional basketball players. Even having Michael Jordan as part of the good guys' squad was just barely an equalizer.
  • Team Hostile Takeover Bank (Chick Hicks' sponsor) from Cars. Francesco in Cars 2 as well, if only for his arrogance.
  • Also from Pixar, Roar Omega Roar from Monsters University.
  • The Shadowbolts from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games who care so much about winning that they pressure Human Twilight Sparkle into using magic to win.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Shaolin Soccer, the opposing team is called Team Evil in some translations (the Devils in others). They train using soulless scientific methods and "American drugs," as opposed to the heroic Shaolin monks, who use their spiritual martial arts.
  • All three The Mighty Ducks films. The teams are this trope to a T.
    • It can actually go into a bit of depth as the three teams are on a bit of a sliding scale. In the first movie the Hawks are made to be almost complete sociopaths, bullying District 5/the Ducks for no reason, Reilly ordering Banks (who was on the Hawks only a mere WEEKS ago) to be taken out which is done in the final game with gusto (though one of the players did express disgust over the act) and they were even willing to outright cheat the system in order to keep the best team, to the point that Bombay gets fired from his actual job over it. In the second movie, Team Iceland are particularly violent and volatile on the ice but are otherwise inoffensive, have no outright grudge with Team USA other than being the other favorite to win and are the most Graceful Loser of any of the three. In the third, the Varsity have the biggest personal feud with the Ducks with the two sides sparing no expense making the other go through hell, however the Varsity also have the most legitimate reason to have beef with the Ducks with their younger siblings getting screwed out of a chance to even make the JV Team because the entire Ducks squad got brought in on Scholarships instead courtesy of Bombay's connections.
  • The Sandlot: there's one bit where the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits playing for sheer fun on their run down field get teased by a group or kids who look like they just came off a prep school field, complete with matching uniforms. The misfit kids respond by giving the bullies a humiliating beating in baseball.
  • Despite being in the title, the opposing team in Facing the Giants hardly had a role (save to be hyped as nearly unbeatable) before the climactic game; when they did, though, they turned out to be black-clad, unpleasant, clear-cut antagonists.
  • The Globo Gym Purple Cobras in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story served this role: Assembled by the rich owner of Globo Gym solely for the purpose of defeating the group of poor misfits trying to save Average Joe's Gym via the Dodgeball Championship's $50,000 winner's prize.
  • If there's a baseball movie and the Yankees aren't the protagonists, you can put down your savings on them being the antagonists. This even extends to non-MLB movies, like The Bad News Bears.
  • Cobra Kai (naturally) from The Karate Kid (1984) are every bit the opposing team, down to the sadistic coach, imposing black uniforms, and sneering superiority. In the end Sensei Kreese (the sadistic coach in question), even resorts to ordering his students to cheat and intentionally injure their competition. When Daniel manages to continue competing despite the injury, Kreese then orders star student Johnny Lawrence to Attack the Injury. The continuation series Cobra Kai has Johnny attempting to rebuild the dojo, which he sees as My Greatest Second Chance, but despite his wishes, by the end of the first season several of his students have turned from being outcast and bullied kids into brutal bullies themselves. It culminates with his top student deciding of his own initiative to flagrantly do everything possible to attack the injured shoulder of his opponent in the final match, against Johnny's orders. Johnny was not proud of winning after that. It gets worse in the second season as despite Johnny managing to wean one or two of this students off the thuggish mentality they've adopted, most of the Cobra Kai dojo essentially becomes a gang and practically gets into a street war against the reborn Miyagi-Do Dojo, with people on both sides getting seriously injured while others wind up in trouble with the law. Johnny was even less proud of this, considering that one of the Miyagi-Do students is Johnny's own (estranged) son.
  • Slap Shot inverts it by having the protagonists be a down and out hockey team who suddenly hit the big time when they recruit three brothers who teach them the value of violent tactics deliberately designed to hurt the other team. This ends with them facing a team that's a conglomeration of all the most violent players their opponents can find, with no one making any attempt to play the game as they just try to kick each others' asses instead.
  • In the Bollywood film Lagaan, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits from an Indian village face off against a bunch of snooty British soldiers in a game of cricket.
  • The trope is both played straight and subverted in Remember the Titans, the fictionalized account of the 1971 T.C. Williams High School football season. Due to the team's integrated racial makeup, the Titans face severe persecution from other (all-white) schools in the state, culminating in a semi-final matchup that sees the opposing coach call the Titans' black coach Herman Boone a "monkey" and the referees attempting to rig the game in favor of the Titans' all white opponents. In the final game, however, the trope is subverted. The Titans' final opponents, Marshall High School, show hardly any racial prejudice at all, and the team's coach accepts his defeat gracefully, even shaking Boone's hand at the end of the game.
  • Subverted in Disney's Miracle about the U.S.'s shocking upset over the powerful Russian hockey team in the 1980 Olympic Games. Keeping with the more biopic-ish qualities of Disney's sports films in the 2000s, the Russians are simply presented as a powerhouse machine of a team, superior in skills and talent instead of the dirty tactics of the opposing squads of past sports films in Disney's repertoire. This is even acknowledged in-movie during Coach Brooks' halftime speech to the team at the Olympics.
    Brooks: If we played them in ten games, they might win nine. But not tonight. Not this game. This is your time.
  • Kevin O'Shea's Cowboys in Little Giants, which goes a little more in depth into an opposing team than most. Basically, they don't think it's just a game, and the idea of having fun never enters into the equation. Coach O'Shea does, however, strongly disapprove of cheating, and nearly pulls a star player from the game after watching him intentionally injure an opponent.
  • In The Phantom Menace, Sebulba "always wins" the pod-race. His pod is very fast and he uses dirty tactics like tossing wrenches into the other racers' engines.
  • The main opposing choir in Sister Act 2 doesn't really come across as bad, per se, so much as acting disturbingly like a homogeneous army. They are genuinely good singers, but it is implied that there isn't really any spirit to it.
  • The Rocky movies dabbled with the trope. While in the first two films, Apollo Creed is just a big-shot in an ivory tower, Rocky's later opponents turn villainous. Clubber Lang is a disrespectful, trash-talking thug, Ivan Drago is a soulless, heartless freak of science, and Tommy Gunn is a traitor. Only in Rocky Balboa does the franchise return to its roots with Mason Dixon, a nice enough guy who simply needs to be tested.
  • Cinderella Man did a Historical Villain Upgrade on Max Baer, who in real life was a nice guy. To make James Braddock more sympathetic, however, the film turned him into a monstrous prick who brags about killing a man in the ring. Baer's son (best known for playing Jethro in The Beverly Hillbillies) was very upset and tried to sue.
  • Million Dollar Baby plays it straight with Billie the evil German and former prostitute known for fighting dirty.
  • Real Steel has the snobby and overconfident duo behind the robot champion Zeus (a Russian manager and an Asian designer), since the bot itself is just a tool.
  • The Fighter pits Micky Ward against Shea Neary, who is depicted as an unsportsmanlike Jerkass in his brief screentime.
  • The Longest Yard is about a football game between a Texas prison's inmates and guards, and the guards' team is the bad one. They're sadistic bullies who harass and mistreat the prisoners on and off the field; most of the inmates are only playing for the chance to get revenge for all that.
  • Necessary Roughness: The Texas Colts are portrayed not as dirty (aside from a cheap shot on Lucy) but as a team of arrogant Jerk Jocks, led by Alpha Jock "Flat Top."
  • Played straight in Korean table tennis movie As One. The Chinese national team is scowling and mean-spirited, as opposed to the sympathetic Korean protagonists playing against them.
  • Alley Cats Strike, a Disney Channel Original Movie, has the rival junior high schools of East Appleton and West Appleton. The teams are called the Wolfpack and the Wildcats, respectively. The heroes go to West Appleton. The rival towns/schools are in constant competition for the Mighty Apple. For the final game, East Appleton chooses bowling, since West Appleton doesn't have a dedicated bowling team. According to the rules, only the members of West Appleton bowling club at the time of the announcement are allowed to join the team, which includes a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who enjoy bowling just for the fun of it. Todd McLemore, a star basketball player and the mayor's son, turns out to be a member of the club as well (one of his friends added him by accident), except he has never played bowling before. When Todd and Alex (whose father owns a bowling alley) go to East Appleton to take a look at their competition, they are scared to see a team of dedicated bowlers who deal a strike after strike with machine-like precision. When they catch Alex at the alley, they are ready to beat him up until Todd intervenes. However, since, during the game, nothing one team does physically affects the other, no dirty tricks are involved. Naturally, everything comes down to a single frame.
  • Another Disney Channel movie, Brink!!, involves a roller skating competition. The good team are called Soul-Skaters (since they skate for fun), although, at the actual competition, they are called Team Pup 'N Suds (long story), while their less-than-moral opponents are the highly-paid X-Bladz. All the kids go to the same school, and the main conflict is between Andy "Brink" and Val, the leaders of the respective teams. In fact, for a time, Brink joins the X-Bladz to make some money, while his family is experiencing financial troubles, over his father's objections. However, when Val shows himself to be a dirty cheater and gets Brink's friend injured, Brink quits (one of Val's team-members also quits) and reconciles with his estranged friends in time for the competition.
  • Averted in It Happened in Athens, which is set at the Olympic Games of 1896. The underdog Greeks are the heroes and their overwhelming opponent is the highly successful American team. The Americans are portrayed as a little cocky, but are ultimately sympathetic and sportsmanlike. (Might have something to do with the fact that the film was an American production, of course.)
  • The Waterboy plays this perfectly straight, with both Bobby and Coach Klein having a personal history with the dirty-fighting coach and bullying players of the Cougars, whom they have to face in the championship game.
  • Averted in The Replacements. The opposing teams have practically no characterization at all; they're simply obstacles to overcome rather than villains to be defeated. The main conflict is the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits learning to overcome their differences and their own personal demons to become an effective team.
  • In Season of Miracles, the Hawks are full of bullies and use tactics such as insulting the Robins to distract them during a game. Their coach has a "win at all costs" mentality and encourages their behavior.
  • Parodied in The Big Lebowski with Jesus Quintana, who may well be the ultimate Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope; it isn't enough that he be the opposing bowling player, he also has to be a rude, flamboyant, trash-talking, and hyper-arrogant pederast who just got out prison for indecent exposure, dresses in bright neon purple, and spends almost every second of his screentime doing obnoxious victory dances. Made even funnier by the fact that he winds up being a Plot-Irrelevant Villain who disappears after one scene.
  • Taken to the Logical Extreme in Alita: Battle Angel when Alita's opposing Motorball players turn out to be full-blown hitmen hired to get rid of her and promptly try to brutally murder her mid-game.
  • The Canadian team in Legend No 17. Truth in Television - the Canadian professionals played a much rougher style of hockey than the USSR team to begin with, but also pulled a few outright assaults that were considered dirty even by their standards.
  • In the hockey movie Youngblood (1986), the Thunder Bay Bombers have a highly aggressive playing style. Carl Racki, who tried out for the Hamilton Mustangs and punched Dean before joining the Bombers, is particularly violent, even attacking Sutton and damaging his skull so badly he needs a metal plate put in.
  • In The Giant (2016), members of the Danish pétanque team make fun of Rikard's deformities and call him Jabba the Hutt.
  • All three of the Major League movies have this, complete with playing a Big Game against the rival team at the end. In the first two films the good guys are playing for the Cleveland Indiansnote  Major League Baseball team and in the first film they have to face the much better New York Yankees team who routinely dominate the Indians. The Yankees seem destined to cruise to first place until a late season rally by the Indians forces the two teams to face each other in the playoffs. In the second film the Chicago White Sox become their opponents, and both the rivalry and unsportsmanlike tactics heat up after Jerkass star player Jack Parkman (who had been acquired by the Indians between seasons), is traded to the White Sox in the middle of the season and he makes it his mission to beat the Indians. The third film, which is only tangentially related to the first two, involves a scrappy minor league team trying to prove itself against their arrogant big league counterpart.

  • The Slytherin quidditch team in Harry Potter. It extends to the Quidditch World Cup too. The team Harry is supporting play fair while the opposing team use all manner of dirty tactics.
    • Refreshingly subverted with Cedric, Fleur, and Krum, who, whatever their flaws, are pretty decent people and end up having a cordial relationship with Harry.
    • Played With during the Triwizard Tournament—Madame Maxime and Karkaroff are both willing to get illegal knowledge to help their Champions in the First Task, but Dumbledore won't (though Moody admits to Harry that cheating is a traditional part of the tournament, making Dumbledore a case of Honor Before Reason). The thing is, this sense of honor doesn't extend to his staff, so Hagrid passes the information onto Harry, who then feels compelled to pass it to Cedric (because, well, if everyone's cheating then the field is level again). Cedric later pays him back by providing a hint to solving the puzzle.
  • The rowing team of the Saint Anne's boarding school in J.K. Rowlings The Casual Vacancy . Lexie and Libbie, the graddaughters of the chairman of the local council, Howard Mollison, go there. Both Howard and his son Myles, who is a layer, are rich and sucessful middle class people - which is the reason why they can afford that school. This team is contrasted by the team Barry Fairbrother brought to live: The school is an average school and the most important members are Sukhvinder and Krystal. Sukhvinder's family has an indian cultural backround so they are the only (explicetly mentioned) people of colour in the village. Krystal comes from the lower social class and has huge family problems regarding her drug addict mother and her little brother. All three of them - Sukhvinder, Krystal and Barry - are sympatic main characters and so is their rowing team.
  • Subverted in Unseen Academicals. For one thing, Our Team is the upper-class university faculty, and the Opposing Sports team (Ankh-Morpork United) are the scrappy and diverse working-class souls. For another, AMU, while somewhat antagonistic, and with a history of violent play (admittedly before there were any rules against violence) play fair ... with one exception, and after the match he gets walloped by his own captain for nearly ruining it for everyone.
  • In the original book Friday Night Lights, a true account of the 1988 Permian Panthers, a West Texas high school football team, the final opponent they meet in the playoffs is a very intimidating team from Dallas that was involved in an eligibility controversy that split across racial lines. Permian lost the game on the final play.
  • Salamander Army of Ender's Game fits the archetype in just about every way. Averted in that Ender is forced to join the Opposing Sports Team and try to function there. By the time he gets his own command and faces them in battle, they're not longer a threat. In the game, at least. This has a slightly interesting twist in that while it's unclear how much of this was intentional in the first edition of the book, it's now clear that not only is Salamander Army an Invoked Trope (as are a few other student groups), but it's not being invoked for the plot of this book. While Ender was tracked into Salamander Army as a "useful learning experience", it and several other student groups were actually created as a place to develop ruthless, fairly disciplined, incompetent and predictably beatable military commanders to lead the worst countries' militaries in the global shakeup expected after the Formic War ended. (Although some of the students in those were just there to fill out a roster of flunkies, with the intent of either untraining them after their leaders graduated or just slated for places where they shouldn't be tested.)
  • In the Bailey School Kids series, the main sports rival of Bailey Elementary (and Camp Lone Wolf) is the Sheldon Sharks, who are usually shown as the typical "rich kids with fancy equipment" variant, against the "average Joes" of Bailey Elementary. (Or, as average as a school that may or may not be full of monsters can be.)
  • In All for the Game, the Foxes play a lot of teams, but the Ravens stand out as the Jerkass team—not only for their terrible sportsmanship, but also because their captain and star player is yakuza.
  • The Other Boy: Most of the baseball players in Shane's school belong to one of two teams: the Cardinals and the Mustangs. Shane is a Cardinal, and The Bully Nico is a Mustang. The Mustangs have gone to regionals for the last five years, unlike the Cardinals. Shane is one of the Cardinals' best players, and it's implied that part of the reason Nico outs him as trans is to make the Cardinals turn on each other. During the regionals, Nico tries to distract Shane by wiggling his hips and yelling "You throw like a girl!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Our Miss Brooks, several episodes revolve around Madison High School's rivalry with Clay City High.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" features this. What makes this instance of the trope so poignant is that the opposing team is made up of Vulcans, who don't generally display emotion. While there was little in the way of Unnecessary Roughness in the game, the Vulcan Captain was obviously smug about his team's superiority.
  • In one Magnum, P.I. Robin Masters bet the estate on a softball game with another playboy after losing a card game. While the estate's team was composed of local amateurs, the Opposing Sports team was composed of ringers. This was a subversion in that the underdog-with-a-lot of heart, team lost. But this was rectified when it was discovered that the original card game was crooked.
  • Glee:
    • Vocal Adrenaline, the main rival glee club, are "souless automatons" who are technically proficient but lack any passion; they've got so much financial backing from boosters that all the students were given Range Rovers; and they like to egg their opponents for no real reason. The first time anyone from New Directions spoke to a member of Vocal Adrenaline, she tearfully warned them to stay away from their sadistic choreographer.
    • Additionally, Sue Sylvester is now coaching another rival, Aural Intensity.
    • The Dalton Warblers, who despite being hilariously humourless and devoid of human personalities prep school boys are honourable and friendly opponents. That is until the following season where their new (but still openly gay) lead singer throws a slushie spiked with rock salt at the old lead singer and nearly blinds him (he was actually aiming for his boyfriend) and then the season after where they take performance enhancement drugs.
  • The West Wing has political versions of this.
    • Robert Ritchie, Bartlet's opponent in season 4, at one point has Bartlet's team tricked to make them look bad. He and Bob Russel, Santos' opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination in season 6, are both portrayed as dirty campaigners and sleezy people while Bartlet and Santos are not.
    • Season 7 has interesting case, where Santos and Vinick face off for the presidency. Although Santos and his campaign are the closest to being the "heroes," Vinick and his people are very well characterized and sympathetic. Vinick repeatedly shows himself to be an honorable person and politician, sometimes even more honorable than Santos (Santos and Russell both take an ethanol pledge that they know is ridiculous, Vinick refuses).
    • Vinick also comes into possession, accidentally but legally, of Santos' briefcase. It includes various embarrassing documents (such as Santos' frustrations with his running mate), and particularly documents that appear as if Santos has had an extramarital affair— though Santos had a true and innocent explanation for it. Vinick's campaign manager tries hard to get Vinick to use the damaging info against Santos, but instead Vinick insists on returning the briefcase to Santos and using none of it. This shows how strongly the show was on the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. It is perhaps believable that a highly ethical politician would decide not to use his opponent's apparent affair against him (as part of his private life), but Santos' frustration with his running mate could not be considered part of his private life.
  • In Degrassi, Lakehurst starts out as this. It gets worse.
  • In The Kicks, The Pinewood Academy soccer team are portrayed as a bunch of elitist snobs who look down on The Kicks and deliberately sabotage them by luring away their coach with an attractive job offer. However, they never resort to actual cheating.
  • Community: Played for Laughs. Jeff and Annie face off against the jerkass opposing team in a debate club competition. For bonus irony, the heroes are debating that man is inherently evil, while the jerkasses are debating that man is inherently good. When the jerkasses can't win fairly, the Inspirationally Disadvantaged jerkass leader flings himself from his wheelchair. Jeff reflexively catches him, thus proving that man is good. Annie then wins the day by kissing Jeff, who immediately drops the paraplegic.
    Annie: He was horny, so he dropped him! Man is EVIL!
  • In Mustangs FC, The Wildcats are the Mustangs most hated rivals. They are the top team in the league, have the best facilities, and have a 'win at all costs' attitude.
  • The Basil Brush Show has St. Nigel’s school football (soccer) team in the episode “Bend it Like Basil”. Not only are the team members inexplicably at least twice or thrice the age of Dave and his teammates, they’re criminally brutal on the field and are implied to have hospitalised and even killed several people!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Valley Tech are Milford's rivals in Gil Thorp, and often fit the "gruelling soulless regimen" version of the trope.
  • Big Walnut Tech in Funky Winkerbean are this to Westview High, except for the part where Westview has an eventual victory.
  • When the cast of Safe Havens was in high school, Havens High's rivals Sprawling Acres tended to show up often as their basketball rivals. This causes problems in their later junior and senior years when overcrowding at Havens causes Sprawling Acres to take in 2000 long as one of them was star basketball player (and Samantha's boyfriend) Dave Hamper.

  • Cold War musical Chess subverts the trope by introducing a International Showdown by Proxy chess championship between an American and a Russian, but then revealing the American to be a bit of a Jerkass and ending the first act with the Russian winning the title and defecting.
    • The original London version of the plot then plays it straight in act two by introducing a new Russian opponent described as "a disciplined, Soviet chess-playing machine."

    Video Games 
  • Success Mode of MLB Power Pros 2008 pits your AAA team (the Golden Apples) against the Galaxy Sharks, the game's rough equivalent of the Yankees (with a ruthless general manager who fires anybody unable to play for more than a month). If you've been deemed good enough to play in the majors, your team will play against them for the league championship. Normally in this mode, you only get to control your created character, but during this game you're in charge of most of your team, essentially making this a Final Boss battle. Plus, a player named Sittch who used to be on your team, is their star player (and has hair like a Super Saiyan.)
    • The Success Mode of the 2007 version also had something similar, with the monsterous "Champion Rings" team. If you go up against them in Season 2, your best friend comments that nobody on the team stands out, since they're all ridiculously strong. In Season 3, they gain one or two new pitchers, in the form of Zero (a rookie in college ball with perfect skills in pitching and batting), and possibly Alvin (a former star member of your own team, a strong pitcher and hitter, who may wind up with the Rings depending on the route you take through Success Mode.)
  • In Final Fantasy X, you encounter some irritating blitzball players on the Luca Goers team; while very difficult in the forced blitzball game, they aren't actually that tough afterwards.
  • WarioWare: Smooth Moves has Team Dinosaur as the opposing sports team to the one Mona is cheerleading for. The team is made up of the antagonists from the local Predatory Business.
  • In Super Mario Strikers (aka Mario Smash Football), the final battle of the last Super Cup is a match against Team Omega, robots based on Next-Level Games's mascot. They're the strongest team in the game, both due to their perfect stats and because they all act as captains, which means they can all use super shots. This trend continues with Petey Pirahna's team in the final of Mario Strikers Charged, the sequel.
  • The Los Angeles Legends in All-Pro Football 2K8. They have several more Gold players then you are allowed, which means they will nearly always run through the AI teams and meet you in the Championship game, where they can easily curbstomp you if you aren't ready.
  • Inazuma Eleven:
    • Subverted with Teikoku Academy's soccer team. They start out giving this impression, but halfway through it turns out that all the actual villainy is committed by their "commander"/coach and some of his henchmen, all behind the backs of the actual players. The players themselves actually turn out to be perfectly nice people (if a bit intimidating due to their skill and military-grade discipline) and revolt when they find out about their coach. Their team captain Kidou even voluntarily offers to forfeit the match because of it, but Endou's not the type to take an easy victory on a technicality.
    • Mikage Sennou is called "Brainwashing Jr. High" in the English games and anime, in case subtlety isn't your thing. It's exactly what it sounds like — 'soulless regimen' is taken to a new level, as their players have little personality or emotion left after being brainwashed in an attempt to improve their skills. The team captain doesn't believe (or even understand) the idea of sports being fun. After being beaten by Raimon, they start to come around.
  • Subverted in GRID with Ravenwest, the player's biggest rival team. While they do possess many attributes common in a generic villain team (insane skill, dreaded reputation, all-black paint scheme, etc.), they don't cheat, drive especially aggressively, show any sort of hostility toward the player's team at any point during the story, or do much of anything to suggest they're anything other than a normal racing team. They're just really, really good at what they do.
  • The Babylon Rogues from Sonic Riders could count as this, being more jerkish counterparts to Team Sonic, not to mention being their main rivals in the Extreme Gear tournament.

  • Least I Could Do:
    • Parodied in one storyline: Rayne and Mick help coach an all-girl Little League team. At first they expect the girls to be the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who struggle throughout the season only to beat the Opposing Sports team in the championship game, but it turns out that their team is actually very good. Only when they make it to the final game and their opponents turn out to be a group of downtrodden orphans does Rayne realize that he and his girls are the Opposing Sports team.
      Mick: You get a look at our opponents on the way over?
      Rayne: Yeah, pretty pathetic. I think one of them has a wooden leg.
      Mick: So they're the underdog team rising up to surpass impossible odds. That would make us the arrogant champions willing to do anything to win. And I think I'm fine with that, as long as we win. Where are you going?
      Rayne: Pet store. Need termites.
    • For added humor, at one point Rayne reacts to the standard Glurge moment from the other team by looking up at the sky and saying "I don't care, we're playing to win." A near-miss from a Bolt of Divine Retribution convinces him to throw the game.
    • And when the ragtag team's coach is visibly upset that they threw the game (confronting Rayne and Mick) because it robs them of the satisfaction of winning on legitimate grounds, Rayne's only response is to "validate" the victory by vandalizing the coach's car.
      Coach: My players wanted to beat your team on their own merit, not out of sympathy. They wanted a real rivalry and you robbed them of that. I'm pretty sure they all knew it wasn't real- [Rayne smashes the coach's car window with a bat]
      Mick: They'll believe it now.
  • Averted and deconstructed by xkcd in this comic. When a pair of high schools try to start the "ragtag, misfit team vs bad guy sports team" rivalry, multiple student point out how illogical it is considering that schools districts are drawn up purely along zip codes. Furthermore, since the two schools are close together, plenty of people from the two schools know each other and are friendly. As a result the attempt to build this sort of rivalry is nipped in the bud.

    Web Original 
  • Spoofed with this CollegeHumor video. As it turns out, it's the same group playing in multiple sports, trying (and failing) to win against a werewolf pointguard, a field goal kicking horse, and a child in magic shoes. And finally, with a cry of, "We are done being made the fool! OOH-RAAAAAAAH!" the team turns rather...psychotic.
  • Inverted in Cracked's video "If Characters Knew They Were in a 90s Kid Movie", where the unseen Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is the Opposing Sports Team to the protagonists. The coach is immediately disheartened upon seeing them take the field, knowing it's going to be an uphill fight for them since Underdogs Never Lose.

    Western Animation 
  • The other boys' team in Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown.
  • The Gas House Gorillas, a recurring team of dirty cigar-chomping baseball players from the Looney Tunes universe.
  • Hurricanes, an animated series about a team of American soccer players, had the Garkos Gorgons, the typical "cheating" team. Occasionally, however, The Hurricanes themeselves would exhibit the behavior of the Opposing Sports team, and be defeated for it.
  • Perfecto Prep in the sports-based episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures.
  • The Gammas from An Extremely Goofy Movie.
  • 'Meteor' in the Russian Shaybu cartoon. They get a bit better by the time the football based sequel comes around.
  • The Winter Olympics team of the Principality of Nessir, from the French series Pierre et Isa.
  • Practically all teams that play against the Midway monsters in Mutant League, but especially the Slayors.
  • The Really Rottens, in Laff-A-Lympics.
  • Disney Fairies: Pixie Hollow Games has the Lightning Fairies, who have won four Championship Rings over the past four games and are aiming for "One for the thumb!" Rumble plays the trope completely straight, while his partner Glimmer is a Spirited Competitor and Graceful Loser who doesn't realize at first just how determined her partner is to win.
  • One episode of King of the Hill revealed that the members of the high school football team that defeated Hank's team for the championship come around every year on the anniversary of the game and publicly humiliate every member of Hank's team — even Dale, who was just the towel boy. Getting sick of the taunting, Hank challenges them to a rematch and his team which point they do the exact same bragging.
  • The Murderflies in Futurama.
  • Supa Strikas: Just about every other team the Strikas faced, always come up with some scheme to cheat or sabotage the team. Such dirty tactics include physical brutality (Invincible United, Cosmos FC, Iron Tank FC), gaslighting (FC Cognito), or leveling the pitch (FC Hydra).
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: The Mashers in the Grungeball Episode and Tweeg's team (composed of himself, his mother and the bounders) in the Wizard Week.
  • Galactik Football: There were at least two of them at the first season.
  • Clone High has an ongoing rivalry with Genetically Enhanced Superhuman High (GESH).
  • The White Fall Wolfbats from The Legend of Korra are the main opposing team of the protagonist Fire Ferrets. The enemity is well earned as the Wolfbats cheat in the fight and it's implied they have done it before.

    Real Life