Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to Guide: Selecting Your NFL Team

As a Green Bay Packers fan, I get the question: "how in the world did you end up being a Packers fan?" Most people assume that I had spent time living in Wisconsin and are shocked to find out that isn’t the case. I never set foot in Wisconsin until I was in the 7th grade when my family took a road trip to Madison to do some hiking with a family friend from Chicago. I am not even sure if I made the connection that the state of Wisconsin was the main fan base of my beloved Packers at the time since the town was covered in Badger gear. I have yet to travel to Green Bay, and chances are, it may not happen in the next few years. I clearly have my flaws as a Packer fan, but don’t underestimate how important the Packers are to me. In this post I will be giving seven rules/tips to help you pick the right team if you have not chosen a team already.

1. Choosing a team is a commitment, and like marriage, it should be til death do us part. Don’t get me wrong -- your dedication to your spouse is much more important than to a sports team, but remember that once you pick a team, there should be no going back. This means sticking through the thick and thin and the ups and downs. If you want to be a fair weather fan, don't pretend you’re a real fan to begin with, and just admit you’re a casual fan of the NFL. You should only pull for one team because you only have so much love to give. If you think you can fully support two NFL teams, you are clearly committing a small portion of your heart to each team.

2. Consider your hometown team first. It is usually a smart move to support your hometown team. It makes finding fellow fans easy and enjoyable. Also it’s nice to be happy/sad with the masses and not worry about dealing with opposing fans on game day. In addition, you can avoid having to deal with a Super Bowl parade that you’re not celebrating. Of course this could still be the case if you live in the New York City area and have two teams sharing the same stadium. It can be tricky when a team moves, which might be the only exception to the rule -- you can ask for a divorce since the team left you and not the other way around. Personally, the Giants and the Jets never seemed that interesting to me while growing up.

3. Understand the history of the team. Each team has its own culture and traditions; this should weigh in to your decision. Many new fans could care less about how old the team is, where it was founded, or if it has any championships. For others, this could be the main factor for their decision. I loved the fact that the Green Bay Packers were the most decorated team in NFL history, yet since the merger of the AFL and NFL, the Packers have not experienced dominance like some of the other teams in the league and were never seen as a dynasty like the Cowboys and Steelers. Some might love to root for the underdogs like the Detroit Lions who seem like they may never win a championship, but as a Met fan, I think one underdog team is enough for me.

4. Get to know the fanbase before you decide on a team. There is often a stereotypical fan for each NFL team. For example, Eagle fans have a reputation of being depressed jerks that tend to hate everyone and even got mad enough to throw snowballs at a poor teenager dressed up as Santa during a December home game in Philly. This might fit your personality if you tend to get frustrated at players easily and want fellow fans to feel the same way. Certain teams have fans that will continue going to games even after years of losing like the dedicated fans in Cleveland. Of course, I love the fan culture of the Packers. Packer fans are very loyal to their team and were willing to spend over 67 million dollars on worthless Packer stock this past year in order to raise money for stadium renovations.

5. Ownership style is important because it will impact how your team is built moving forward. When I decided to follow the Packers as a kid, I was fascinated by a team with no real owner -- instead the Packers are publicly owned by the city of Green Bay and the fans who choose to buy the team's stock. It is safe to say that the Packers are in the business of winning and not about making money. Conversely, certain owners tend to be more involved, which will affect the choices of their general managers to make the correct moves. Other owners such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys are very invested in their team, and as a fan you know they will put all their resources into the team to try to win a Super Bowl. Then there are those owners like Kraft, Rooney, and Mara who will always run a classy organization and try to do things the right way. The way people build their teams should complement your personality. If you are impatient and want to see fast results, avoid choosing a team that likes to build through the draft because there will be many long seasons of rebuilding.

6. Team color and logo can play a role in choosing your NFL team. This might seem ridiculous, but it was not a coincidence that I ended up choosing the Green Bay Packers as my favorite team. Green has always been my favorite color, and choosing a team that wears green every game made it even sweeter. You will be wearing apparel, decorating your walls, maybe even painting your face with these colors, so why would you pick a team with ugly colors and an ugly logo?

7. Current players and coaching style is the most common reason to choose a team. It’s hard to start rooting for a team with players you dislike. In the same way, if you like a fast-paced passing offense, the "ground and pound" game that certain teams run might not be ideal. Find a team that has players you respect and enjoy watching, and find a coach whose playcalling fits you. Over the years this may all change, but for the time being, it would be foolish to pick a team like the Saints if you are looking for the Steelers of the 1970s. I chose the Packers because I loved Brett Favre’s "never give up" attitude and Reggie White’s dedication to the game and faith in God. Brett is long gone from the NFL after the drama of 2008, and Reggie has tragically passed away (may he rest in peace), yet the Packer players still have the heart of the team I first fell in love with in 1995.

Deciding on a team is never an easy task -- more often than not, you will be disappointed at the end of the season. Nevertheless, you won’t know what it means to be a real fan until you experience being committed to only one team. I took the time to learn about the Packers when I was just 8 years old, and thanks to my good friend’s dad -- who had more Packers stuff than most fans in Wisconsin -- I learned quite a lot. Although it hurt to see Brett Favre leave the organization, I will be a Packer fan til the day I die. GO PACK GO!

Let me know what you think, and check out other "How to Guide" articles.

Photos courtesy of NFL.com.


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...