I wasn’t much of a sports watcher as a kid. The only sport my parents were into was college football which I found boring. I started watching tennis because playing tennis but that was more a function of watching a lot of TV than being super into tennis.
So how did I end up as the HUGE NFL fan that I am today (besides gambling)? A school report of course. In 1988 a teacher gave us an assignment to write a report about the Superbowl. As an adult that seems kind of weird. And by weird I mean lazy. But maybe the teacher was trying to come up with an assignment that kids might like?
I don’t think I had ever watched a pro game before I watched Washington annihilate Denver. I thought that Washington was pretty cool, I remember liking Art Monk and Ricky Sanders. But I knew that if you became a fan of a team that was doing well you were a band-wagon jumper and a fair-weather fan and that was BAD.
So I decided that I would be a Bengals fan probably purely because of the tiger stripes. But then disaster struck! The next year the Bengals were in the Superbowl! And when I told some other kids I liked the Bengals they accused me of being a fair-weather fan and a band-wagon jumper, the very thing I was trying to avoid!
So officially I had no team but secretly I kind of liked Washington and the Bengals. The next year I kind of liked San Francisco but then I heard a man on the radio saying that you had to root for Denver in the SB because Joe Montana was gay. John Elway was going to lose but as the man on the radio said “at least he isn’t going to try and kiss you”.
I didn’t really know what gay meant but I knew that it was what kids called me when they were kicking the shit out of me. One day on the bus some older kids cornered me and asked me if I liked Joe Montana or John Elway. I lied and said John Elway and they said “good, otherwise we were going to kill you”. Thanks homophobe on the radio!
The next year some kids were making fun of me for not having a favorite football team so I decided I needed to get serious. I needed to pick a team and stick with it. I chose the New England Patriots for two reasons. One, they were the worst team in the league so I couldn’t be accused to being a fair-weather fan. Two, I liked their uniforms.
So there we go, I was a Patriots fan. They next seasons they were better but still terrible. The season after they were awful. They next year they were still pretty bad but they got Drew Bledsoe at quarterback who I liked and they got some new uniforms that I liked.
The next year they made the playoffs! And it was sweet because no one could accuse me of being a band-wagoner because I had established for three priors years that I was a fan. I remember I was concerned because the game started at noon and sometimes church went to 12:30, and sometimes we went out for lunch afterwards. I might miss part of the game!
When I got home I ran downstairs towards the TV but my mom had just waxed the floor at the bottom of the stairs and I biffed it hard and fucked up my ankle. And what’s worse the Patriots lost! To the Browns which was even worse.
The next year the Patriots sucked again but they drafted Curtis Martin and I thought he was cool. The following year the Patriots made it to the Superbowl! And I was firmly established as a fan now so my bone fides were beyond reproach. They lost to the Packers, but hey, MY team was in the Superbowl.
Then they traded Curtis Martin which I still don’t understand. He was a great back! And they lost to the disgusting Steelers in the playoffs. And they threw the ball way too much. Probably because they traded a great running back for nothing.
I fanned along for a few crappy seasons and then came 2001 – the underdog Patriots defeat the mighty Saint Louis Rams! I was freaking out all over the place. The Rams were 17 point favorites they were! They set all the offensive records ever and the scrappy little Pats won the game. At the end John Madden was screaming “go for the tie, go for the tie!” but no, the Patriot went for the win and they got it. It was electric.
It was the beginning of the Belichick-Brady era, which was about to be a problem. The Patriots were too good you see. Being a fan is fine when a team is good, but when they’re great you’re not allowed to be a fan unless you’re from or live where they are – otherwise you’re a FAIR WEATHER FAN!!!
I could live with that though. I could even live with them cheating all the time. Everyone does it right? But the straw that broke the camel’s back came in the 2007 season. The Patriots were undefeated going into the Superbowl which only happened one other time in 1972. In the beginning of the year they were crushing everyone, but the last half they had some TOUGH games. They were battled tested and ready to win it all.
And instead they lost to the gross Giant, who were a gross wild card team. The Giants barely even made the playoffs and they’re the champions? Unforgiveable. It was over, and any lingering good feelings I had were killed when they lost the SB to the gross giants AGAIN when they were a gross wild card team again and then did the same thing to even grosser Eagles who were also a wild card team!
I still watch football but I have no team. A lady I used to work with was fascinated by this. Almost every week during football season she’d ask me if I watched any games that week and then marvel over the fact that I had. I told her I just want to see a good game AND that I wanted to see the teams I hate lose. She asked me what teams I hate when I started listing them I realized it was half the league.
Let’s take a look!
I hate the entire NFC east – NY Giants, Dallas, Washington, and Philadelphia. I hate the NY Giants and Philadelphia because they’re GROSS. I hate Washington because they seem to get into the playoffs with a losing record every 3 years and they seem to intentionally seek out awful players and give them max contracts. Plus they destroyed RG3. I hate Dallas because when I was a kid they won all the time and most of my adult life they’ve been awful but still get picked to win the SB every year.
In the NFC North I hate Chicago, Green Bay, and Detroit. I hate Chicago because of the Superbowl shuffle and because they never try to have an offense. They seem to think they can somehow win only with defense. Their games are usually awful. I hate Detroit because they had Barry Sanders and couldn’t manage to win anything with the best back ever. Also for a long time they threw the ball too much and are generally awful. I don’t know exactly why I hate Green Bay. I think I’ve just met a lot of annoying Green Bay fans.
In the NFC south I only hate Atlanta. Because of 2 Legit 2 Quit. And because they’re lame.
In the AFC West I only hate the LA Rams. Because their uniforms are ugly and they’ve moved the team a couple times. No one in LA cares about professional football! As a casual fan in Iowa I know this.
In the AFC East I hate the NY Jets and Miami. I hate the Jets because they were worthless. Even when they do win they still suck somehow. One year they went 9-7 and went to the conference championships. Bullshit. The Giants and Jets should combine and see if they can make one decent team out of both rosters. Having two teams in the same city that are always garbage angers up my blood. I hate Miami because they couldn’t win with Dan Marino, they fire their coach during the season every year, and they’re always either 6-0 and end up with a losing record or they start out 0-6 and then win their last 7 games. Get it together.
In the AFC North I hate Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. I hated Pittsburgh even before they had a human rectal tumor for a quarterback. I think at least in part because some Iowa fans like them because they have the same colors. I tried to like Baltimore because I thought it was cool that they got a team back after losing it but they’re lame. I hate Cincinnati because of their dumb uniforms (which I used to like as a kid) and because they are second only to the Raiders in going after players with criminal records.
I don’t hate any teams in the AFC South! Yay!
In the AFC West I hate Denver and the LA/Oakland/LV/Sunnydale/Whatever Raiders. I hate Denver because of that guy in the radio and those kids on the bus. I hate the Raiders because they seem to be proud of having the most dangerous fans in the league, they seem to specifically go after players who were kicked off other teams for domestic assault or rape or other crimes, and because they move cities every few years. I would actually count that last one as a positive if that was their gimmick. “We’re just a team on the road playing in whatever stadium will have us”.