Say what? C’mon, man: 18 January 2011

When it comes to sports commentary, I don’t really expect the talking head to be unbiased. Take Steve Young, for example. He’s paid (well) to make commentary about any and/or every team in the NFL, but I wouldn’t begrudge him if he shaded his opinions toward favoring his old team, the 49ers. In fact, I sort of expect it. I know I would still possess some loyalty to my old team.

With that preamble, I don’t know what Tom Jackson (who was a Denver linebacker for 14 seasons) was trying to do with his “I thought the Jets would win all along, I was just trying to motivate them,” routine. Say what?

What’s more baffling than his explanation for why he made his comments about the Jets before the game is his pronouncement that he “knew” what the Jets needed to go out and win the game. Tom, your first name isn’t “Coach.” Stay in the booth.

Next, from the *snicker* department, a word of warning: tattoos are forever. Full disclosure: I once said publicly that if the Saints ever won a Super Bowl, I’d get a Saints tattoo. Well, they did, and I did. However, I didn’t bet anyone on that. And betting someone, anyone, that you’ll get a tattoo if you lose isn’t exactly the smartest thing in the world. Allowing the winner to choose said tattoo is just plain stupid, as this fantasy league loser is surely now realizing. My little pony


Finally, The followings is not scientific. Not even close. It’s not based on Super Bowl rings or sellouts (the latter helps, though), but just old-fashioned fandom: passion, attendance and originality. But feel free to agree — or disagree. Here’s my Top 10 NFL Fans:

10. Indianapolis: The first of several dome teams, which, in this Top 10, is an advantage. Indoor fans have the opportunity to create bedlam, and some do it better than others. Granted, the fans in Indianapolis are probably there to see Peyton Manning and The Other Guys on His Team, but Colts fans bring the noise and the support, and behave in a manner befitting their Midwest image.


9. Tampa Bay: I admit giving The Buccaneers the edge here due to that pirate ship in one end of the stadium and the usually superb weather. But I still remember the old Bucs — the expansion team, ones in the orange sherbet uniforms with the gay pirate on the helmet (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But most of being a fan is showing up, and Bucs fans do that. And given that the Buccaneers were one of the worst, then one of the best, then bad, then better than expected, it takes a lot to stand behind them.

8. Kansas City: I guess these folks have a longer memory than I do, because I am continually astounded by the attendance and the intimidation factor at Arrowhead Stadium. I mean, c’mon, it’s Kansas City! But the Chiefs and Hank Stram dominated the  early Super Bowl/AFL era — and still pack a house every Sunday, despite dismal season after dismal season. Loyalty counts in my book.

7. Seattle: No way the Seahawks would have made my list had I not seen the playoff game last week. Loud? Oh yeah. Full? Oh yeah. Did they win? Yeah, damn it.


6. New York Football Giants: New York teams produce awesome fans. Well, except for the Mets. I love watching a stadium full of New Yorkers (ok, and New Jerseyians(?)) giving it to the visiting team — and their own team, for that matter. It can be 20 degrees with a blizzard threatening and there’ll be a guy on the top row with no shirt on.


5. New York Jets: See #6 above, plus Gang Green fans have a little inferiority complex coupled with decades of frustration. That translates into passion and fierce loyalty.


4. New England: Hey, love ‘em or hate ‘em, you gotta give the fans credit. I certainly don’t want to be in a football stadium in New England in December (for a night game!), but these folks look forward to it. Of course, nothing breeds fans like success, and the Pats have had plenty of that. The Big Razor sells out for a reason, but those fans keep coming back for a reason, too.

3. Pittsburgh: Everything I just wrote about New England goes double for Pittsburgh. I used to believe that Steeler fans were obnoxious thugs. But I went to a Monday night game (in December) to watch the Steelers play the Packers — and I was foolish enough to wear a Brett Favre jersey that night. Suicide, right? Not really. The fans gave me more than my share of grief inside Three Rivers Stadium, but nobody threatened my life or threw anything at me. That might be because the Steelers won, that night, but it changed my view. Steeler fans are a breed apart. It’s like Charlie Daniels said, “You just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and I think you’re gonna finally understand.”

2. New Orleans: I bet you thought I’d put them first. I’d like to, but my credibility is on the line here. The Saints and the city had a special relationship long before Hurricane Katrina. I know because I’ve been a fan almost from the beginning — since the day Archie Manning was drafted by the Saints. So I’ve seen the “Aints,” the bags on the head, the humiliating losses — especially to the then-winless-since-inception Buccaneers, the losing seasons (after losing seasons). It wasn’t fun. I don’t know why I stayed. Then, it hit me. Loyalty. That’s what Saints fans have. New Orleans loves its Saints. I was at the Tampa game in December the year the Bucs won the Super Bowl (the Saints swept them that year). I’ve heard a lot of loud noises in my life, but nothing compared to the din in the Dome when Grammatica missed a fourth-quarter field goal. And the after party in New Orleans ain’t so bad, either.

1. Green Bay: Who else? Seasons tickets passed down in wills. An entire city stops and looks like a ghost town on Sunday. The frozen tundra. Lombardi. Lambeau. The Lambeau Leap. Title Town. Bart Starr. Brett Favre. Reggie White. If we had to send one NFL team into outer space to explain football to the aliens, we’d send the Packers. And a couple of their fans. I would love to be there for a game (but preferably in September, not late December).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s