Characterization of NFL Fans

Characterization of NFL Fans
M.D. Wright

  • – Edited: 7.15.2014

We know who the worst fans are in the NFL (Eagles fans) and we know the best (Giants, Packers, Raiders), but in order to be even-keeled with the comparisons and how to arrive at who’s the best or the worst, let’s revisit an old column from 2006, which was revised in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and again in 2014: The Updated Characterization of NFL Fans.

AFC East.
Buffalo Bills.
These guys love their Bills. Everyone at their games is fat, if you’ve noticed. And why not? There’s nothing to do that far upstate but stare at Niagara Falls, EAT, tip cows, EAT, drink beer, EAT, watch football, EAT and watch the Sabres. … AND EAT. They’re loyal, though.

The Bills had been horrible for the past decade and you would not have known (relative to the sometimey nature of fans of other teams like the 49ers and Saints), because they’re ALWAYS packed out in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Miami Dolphins.
I don’t take these cats seriously. When Dan left, so did they. The whole “there’s plenty to do in Miami, with the great weather and beautiful women” line is tired and inaccurate. Los Angeles has great weather. So does Phoenix, and despite brutal winters, New York has even more to do than Miami. Miami fans, outside of Hurricanes fans, are some of the biggest phonies in sports, and that includes fans of the Dolphins, who show up just as infrequently as Heat and Marlins fans do at their respective games.

New England Patriots.
I already know by default that Patriots fans are previously Woebegones for 25+ years — i.e. chumps like that whiny-voiced Bill Simmons — or frontrunners who suddenly “began watching football in 2001, so they’ve been my team since, even though I’ve never been within 300 miles of Foxborough”. And the thing is, you can tell the two apart rather easily, regardless if they’re 24 or 54. It is certainly more embarrassing for the 54 year old to be a frontrunner, especially if he/she was a fan of another team for half their lives beforehand, but all in all, the common denominator between the frontrunners and the woebegone fans from 1960-2000 are that they are the most condescending, in-denial (about the team cheating to win their three Super Bowls*) bunch of ass hats out there.

New York Jets.

There are two types of Jets fans. Most of them were woebegone fans since 1969 until Bill Parcells showed up and righted the ship a bit (the Jets were actually pretty good in the early to mid 1980s, as well). The Jets always seemed to have good enough players, but fell short frequently in AFC Championship games, or on their way to that game (1986) when they were favored to win it. They are also generally — these older Jets fans — not on bad terms with the Giants nor Giants fans. Post-2008 fans, fans who came along with the bright lights that followed Brett Favre, and fans who adopted the brash, talkative nature of current coach, Rex Ryan are the bane of most Giants’ fans existence, along with their AFC East rivals. It is unfortunate, as Jet fans have no real reason to hate the Giants nor their fans. However, through some stroke of ill will, Rex Ryan seems to have made their post-2008 fans believe that this should be so. Too bad.

AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens.
Ravens fans really aren’t bad. Maybe it is the relative novelty of the team (16 seasons), but other than other AFC North teams, I really can’t find anything descriptive to say about them. They support their team, and they don’t have blackouts. The team is consistently good, so you don’t see too much wavering in either direction from the fanbase. I’ve only known a handful of Ravens fans and they don’t rub me the wrong way.

Cincinnati Bengals.
Talk about longsuffering. Young cats don’t realize that the Bengals were VERY GOOD in the 80’s and had the 49ers beat in Super Bowl XXIII. BUT THEY HAVE BEEN MOSTLY BRUTAL SINCE THEN. With the Sam Wyche era coming to an end and the Shula/Klingler era which was one of the worst in football, clear through Akili Smith, who may have been the worst QB I’ve ever seen in 28 years of watching the NFL — the Bengals have had it rough. However, if any team’s fans deserve to be happy about a team that appears to be playoff bound (still too early, even at 6-2), it’s the Bengals. And only a soulless bastard would hate on them for that.

Cleveland BrownsThey deserved better than what Art Modell (yes, he is of the “Gotta Go to Mo’s” family) did to them in 1995. But these reincarnated Browns have been terrible save for that one fluky season four years ago. Their fans love to drink, tailgate and talk trash, even if it is about their own players.  

Pittsburgh Steelers.
Not the worst fans, but their post-2005 bandwagoners (of which there are many) make actual hardcore Steelers fans look awful. All the bragging about Super Bowls that they never saw live and unconditionally supporting alleged rapists, dirty players and overhyping a freelance safety kind of gets old after a while. They’re a mostly knowledgeable bunch, though. They know their football and their football history. I mean, if they’re not at least 40 years old, they HAVE to know it, if they’re going to talk about 4 of those 6 Super Bowls which you HAVE to be at least 40 years old or older to remember. 

AFC South.
Houston Texans.
I don’t know a single Texans fan. Although there is a Texans bar in New York City. YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY.

Indianapolis Colts.
2011 is the year when you begin to see who the real fans are. If Peyton Manning is unable to play ever again, or is seriously diminished when/if he ever plays again, you will find a lot of people on the side of the road with pulled groins and torn achilles jumping off that decade-long bandwagon. It seems just like yesterday (10 years to the day, by the way) when we got the “PLAYOFFS?!?!?!” speech, but Colts fans had really begun to become insufferable at one point, especially condescending to teams’ fans that the Colts had beaten routinely (i.e. Texans).

Jacksonville Jaguars.
I only know one Jags fan, and that’s via Facebook. She’s good money, but they have more blackouts than New York City did in the 70s and 80s every summer. What does that really say about them? They hate their coach and hate the owner, don’t go to games, but want the team to stay. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME?

Tennessee Titans.
I don’t understand their fans. A lot of them act like we’re still in 1999. Steve McNair is gone, guys. I’m not even making light of it. It’s still as if it didn’t happen, but the Titans have been an afterthought aside from a couple of blips on the radar since 1999. Why do their fans insist on acting as if they’re legitimate because a guy has a 2,000 yard season and probably won’t total that in two full seasons afterward?

AFC West.
Denver Broncos.
I hate their fans. They’re some of the whiniest, (unfounded) entitled fans in football. I hate when teams relish in anything that happened more than a decade previous. The B-men have been downright putrid for most of the past decade. And just like their former coach, who also rests on his laurels (and John Elway’s coattails), they are stuck in the 90s thinking teams and fans really care about what happened back then. All we see is an aging CB, an overmatched H-Back masquerading as a QB and a flummoxed coach. They were so delusional that they really thought they were going to beat the Packers earlier in 2011. THEY’VE LOST THEIR COLLECTIVE MINDS.

Now that Peyton Manning has been in town for two years, the B-Men suddenly have tons of fans again.

Kansas City Chiefs.

They tailgate and have some of the best BBQ ribs known to man.

That is all.

Oakland Raiders.
 You know, contrary to popular belief, these people who sit in cubicles next to you are really pretty good fans. I’d love to take in a game there when Oakland plays a team I hate — like, uhhhh, Pittsburgh, for instance? There is no connection with Giants fans and Raiders fans, and I’ve always liked them since my youth of watching Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson; while always having been a huge Al Davis fan.

San Diego Chargers.

NFC East.
Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas fans are like old people getting into their 60s and 70s. They’re losing their teeth, their bite and brag less and less now more than ever. It’s almost scary how flaccid they have become in the bragging game since R.W. McQuarters happened to them. I will never feel sorry for Dallas nor its fans, but it is really weird to not have them trash talk Giants fans (not that they have the room to do so) as much as Eagles fans do (they DEFINITELY have zero room to, whereas the Cowboys at least have won Super Bowls).

New York Football Giants.
Giants fans are students and historians of the game. They love the subtle nuances and don’t overhype the team. They’re (at least those who have been fans for 15+ years, or those who are grizzled veterans of over 25 years) know that the Giants have actually caused heart attacks and strokes for some fans over the years. These are true stories. Giants fans are classy and only Eagles, Cowboys and POSSIBLY Redskins fans would even try to dispute that. Yeah, you’ll see a few rowdy types from Brick or Wayne or someplace like Ramsey or even Staten Island causing problems at the Stadium, but MOST are solid, knowledgeable and classy fans.

Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington Redskins.
They’re funny. I feel no pity for them. Their team hasn’t done anything in 20 years. They’re a lite version of the Eagles. The Eagles have had a modicum of “success” in the past decade. The Skins have been cellar dwellers for the entire new millennium and it shows in their fans’ outlook on the season. It appears as if Daniel Snyder’s attempts to buy championships by throwing together big names and bloated contracts for 13 years finally wore thin with the fans, several of whom boycotted the team and stopped renewing their PSLs — which led to Snyder suing a few of them (this really happened). Now the Eagles spent all of 2011’s offseason trying to do what the Redskins have failed to do since the old man Cooke sold the team to Snyder to begin with. I’m sure he’s rolling around in his grave to this very day.

NFC North.
Chicago Bears.
Their fans are some of the more delusional fans you’ll see, that’s for sure. They think the Bears are good. They really are not. And really haven’t been since Payton got smacked around one final time by the Redskins in the ’86 playoffs. Oh sure, sure, they made it to the Super Bowl in 2006, but who even remembers that happening, or how/WHY they even made it there to begin with?

Me neither.

Bears fans always act like the Monsters of the Midway are still playing today and that’s just reason enough to  hate them AND the team.

Detroit Lions.
The Lions have been possibly the most longsuffering team over the past 57 years. 57 years being the last time they won something of note, an NFL Championship in 1957. Barry Sanders was great and made the Lions fun to watch, and good for a couple of 10-win seasons, but they still never got past the NFC Championship in Sanders’ 3rd season. They were historically bad for an entire decade after Sanders abruptly retired, and are now experiencing a resurgence that carried over from the end of 2010 into 2011. You have to be happy for them. They’ve suffered enough.

Green Bay Packers.
If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t be able to tell the bandwagon/blustery braggarts apart from the long-time fans, who I really never had a problem with. Packer fans didn’t spite the Giants for beating their balls off in 1986 on the Giants’ way to their first Super Bowl win that year. I remember that game like it was yesterday. I’ve never really seen the Giants score like that in a half SINCE (maybe the first half of the 2002 Wild Card and the first half of Week 15 in 2010 vs. PHI). Packer fans are all-class (except for their division rivals). Yes, all fan bases have bad apples, but I know I could get some good tailgating, brat, some good cold ones and even be invited to someone’s home overnight before I caught my flight home to New York. They are good people out there in ‘sconsin.

Minnesota Vikings.
I would feel sorry for them, if only for that bad streak in the 70s-early 90s when they couldn’t get over the hump with Bud Grant and Jerry Burns. They Vikings had TEAMS from the early 80s through those years where Darrin Nelson, Anthony Carter and others just couldn’t catch a friggin’ pass. They had a decent run in the 90s, but honestly, I have no real designs on Vikes fans. They are what they are. They’re not obnoxious, have no reason to be, and deserve to have a winner. And they have Don McNabb bouncing passes to wide open guys in 2011. At least they have a young guy who can hopefully  make them relevant again one day.

NFC South.
Atlanta Falcons.
As sometimey as they get, in the worst sports city in the United States. Bandwagoners to the nth degree.

Carolina Panthers.
Panther fans have been there since day one, and they support the Black Cats through thick and thin. And it has BEEN mostly thin since they made it to the Super Bowl in 2003. North Carolina lobbied for NFL for a decade even before Charlotte was awarded the Panthers. They deserved the team, were happy to have it and proved it by supporting them unconditionally for 16 years now. However, they are some of the most amateurish fans on the face of the planet, and it shows the moment the team does anything semi-competitive beyond finishing 6-10.

New Orleans Saints.
I’m not going to release on their fans here. I just know they were a joke before Jim Mora got there, they were relevant for most of his 10 years there, then went back to being a joke again for a decade before Sean Payton and Drew Brees came to town. Now they act like they’ve always been good and act as if 2009 wasn’t a year filled with the refs giving them games. If someone mutters that “WHO DAT?” nonsense to my face I may break a bottle over their heads “Killa Season” style.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sometimey fans. Dungy’s Bucs — of Brooks, Sapp, Rice, Lynch, etc. spoiled them for years. They’ve had mediocre to bad teams since they won the Super Bowl in 2002 and began letting vets go one by one annually until Derrick Brooks was cut two years ago. They had a minor resurgence in 2010, but appear to be on the same Gruden-esque slide that plagued the team for five straight years until Gruden was mercifully let go. The fans are not showing up, as their massive blackouts prove. You would have thought this was Hugh Culverhouse refusing to pay Doug Williams all over again — back when the fans stayed away from Tampa Stadium back in the day.

NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals.
The Woebegones of All Woebegones. They have never won anything, and that’s with stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix and now Glendale. They came close in 2008, but their fans and the rest of us who actually wanted them to win Super Bowl XLIII — knew they would find a way to lose. Why? Because these are the Cardinals. As long as you expect the worst and think you’ll lose, you’ll lose. SMH.

St. Louis Rams.
This team is the epitome of the life cycle in the NFL. The Rams were initially bad in their first carnation. Then good. Then bad for a few years. Then good for a time going into the 70s, then bad going into the early 80s, then decent until around 1990 — although they could NEVER beat the 49ers — and mediocre until they had their Greatest Show on Turf era about a decade ago. Since that team was disbanded, they have been horrid. Their fans gave up on the team before it left Los Angeles, and they’re doing it again now. The team may be heading back to Los Angeles, which would be funny in and of itself. Both teams that have been in Los Angeles have been rumored to go back there in the past decade. Oakland is not going anywhere, but with the way the fans in St. Louis have stayed away from the Ed Jones Dome in the past 4-5 years, don’t be surprised if they leave.

Oh yeah, Rams fans SUCK.

San Francisco 49ers.
Fairweather fans. The 80s and early 90s Niners spoiled them. They had a ref-aided 2002 Wild Card “win” but have otherwise been also-rans to flat out BAD since they pushed Ricky Watters out the door in 1995. Suddenly, their fans think they’re good again and have been chirping in 2011 as if the team has been relevant in any way shape or form outside of ridicule and scorn, since 1994, and ESPECIALLY since 2002. Plus they love to take out the angst surrounding not winning anything of substance for 20 years on opposing teams’ fans who dare to show up at the Niners’ stadium.

Seattle Seahawks. The Seabags have almost always been bad. But you can’t tell that to their fans. They sit in rain, cold and on top of one another in that weird stadium of theirs (easily the loudest in the NFL), packed to the brim every week. Rain, loss, or… well. more rain. Gotta hand it to them, especially now that they have won a Super Bowl. Starbucks is vastly overrated, though.


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