I admit that the act of trying to rank NFL fan bases is ludicrous and pointless. No matter the rankings, someone will be upset and defend their team. With that said, there are some great underrated fan bases that deserve some credit. There are also some fan bases that are far too overrated. It is easy to hop on the bandwagon of a perennial winner, but it takes a true fan to stick with their team through the tough times. True fans do not jump ship during a stretch of bad seasons. They also do not come out of the woods just for the good seasons. I have based the rankings on attendance, fan football IQ, intensity, loyalty, and tailgating. This is a topic that is obviously up for debate as these rankings are merely from my perspective. I may be absolutely wrong about some teams and their fans. If I am, please correct me. I will say that every team has great die-hard fans. Some teams just have more than others. Starting with #32...
Note: Some minor changes have been made after more research. Don't agree with how your team ranks? Good. Stick up for your team, but use logical reasoning when commenting. Using bad grammar and expletives will only solidify the rank and make your fans look bad. Represent your team with class.
32. St. Louis Rams - St. Louis is a great baseball town; perhaps the best in America. While in St. Louis malls, I can find all kinds Cardinals apparel. The Rams seem to get the clearance rack in the back corner of the store. Yes, the
Rams have been bad for years now, but even the "greatest show on turf"
shine wore off pretty quickly once the team slipped back into
mediocrity. The Rams have recently been talked about as a possible team
to move back to L.A, and fans do not seem to care too much. Jeff Fisher is looking to get the fans back into football in St. Louis.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Give these fans some credit. Despite a
terrible team recently, they still manage to fill 88.8% of the
stadium. Still, near the bottom in attendance year after year and seems
to be a pretty low-interest with the team, even when they were good. Many believe the Jaguars will be headed to L.A, but with the stadium deal Mr. Khan has, that doesn't seem likely right now. Sign Tebow. Sell out the stadium. Watch your merch sales sky rocket. Your record won't change, but at least you'll get some interest from the fans.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The post-Super Bowl shine wore off
quickly in Tampa. At their best, Raymond James is loud and rocking.
When times are bad, they struggle to get anybody in the stadium. I
visited the Bucs Facebook page during a prime-time Thursday night game
earlier this season, and the first thing I saw was the cover photo
reading "Tickets as low as $35" for Thursday night football. Granted,
they have had some rough seasons recently, and Schiano has lost the
fan base, but this team has some excellent young talent. With the right
coach, I can see them having a turn around season in 2014 like the
Chiefs did this year. I have been to Tampa a few times and the interest
level for the Bucs always seem very low with the residents of Tampa.
Ownership did take advantage of the fan base after the Super Bowl win,
but are on the right track winning fans back. Spending money in free
agency and promising that all home Bucs games will be televised this
year, something that has been rare due to blackouts. Love the city,
29. Arizona Cardinals - The fan base is growing since their
recent Super Bowl appearance, but many fans in Arizona are transplants
and the Cardinals are their #2 team. I like the Cardinals and Larry
Fitzgerald deserves a winning team. This fan base is on the rise and
will continue to grow with success.
28. Miami Dolphins - It's tough drawing fans in Florida. Miami is a front-runner town. They have the
Heat now, so not much interest in Ryan Tannehill and company even
though they are in the hunt for a wild card. They do need a new
stadium, but with the beautiful Miami weather, this stadium should be
27. San Diego Chargers - With some of the talent they have had recently, they should pack the stadium each week. Even when Ladainian Tomlinson was with the team, they failed to average a sellout and routinely finish near the very bottom in attendance. Like the Florida teams, a warm weather town, with so much to do on Sunday afternoon. Beach or football?
26. Atlanta Falcons - Like Miami, Atlanta is a front-runner town. The Braves couldn't even sell out a postseason baseball game a couple seasons back. Despite having an excellent 2012 season, the Falcons still could not average a sellout.
25. Detroit Lions - These fans probably deserve more credit with all this franchise has put them through. Stafford and Calvin Johnson are bringing the fans back. Detroit needs a team to be proud of with everything the city is going through.
24. Carolina Panthers - A fan base that is underrated and on the rise. Cam Newton can have this fan base explode if he can lead them to a Super Bowl victory. The do have great attendance numbers for being in one of the smaller markets, but many of those fans seem to be travleing to Charlotte for the opposing team. During the Patriots entrance on Monday Night Football, half the stadium was cheering. The commentators even commented that half the stadium was filled with Patriot fans.
23. San Fransisco 49ers - It must have been easy to be a 49ers fan during the Joe Montana and Steve Young days, but these fans get a knock for 2003 - 2010. All fans seemingly disappeared as the 49ers were not relevant for the first time in a long time. Now that they are back as one of the most dominant teams in the NFL, fans are everywhere. It is easy to support a winner, but where was everyone when they were losing?
22. Houston Texans - Bud Adams broke the hearts of Houston fans when he moved the Oilers to Tennessee. They have gained momentum over the last few years. Smart fan base which is only continuing to grow.
21. Tennessee Titans - This fan base is underrated. They sell out almost every home game, and the stadium is loud and rocking on game day despite having only one real marketable player in Chris Johnson. I can not rank them any higher though as I have been to TN often and the Titans take a second place to the Tennessee Vols. Folks in Tennessee sure love their football.
20. Cincinnati Bengals - (*Note - I am a Bengals fan and have lived in Cincinnati area my entire life.) Cincinnati is a great sports town. No matter what time of year it is, we always have something going on in the sports world. Football? Go Bengals. Baseball? We have the Reds. We also have some of the best college sports options in the country with University of Cincinnati, Ohio State, Xavier, and even University of Kentucky, Louisville, and the IU Hoosiers. We also have some of the best high school football in all the land. We even have a NHL affiliate minor league hockey team in the Cincinnati Cyclones. This is a sports mad city, but being from Cincinnati, I can say the Bengals fans have some work to do. We certainly have our fair share of die-hard fans, but many fans are still skeptical of Bengals stubborn owner, Mike Brown. Not many Bengals fans are very fond of him. Brown has a reputation for putting as little money into the team as possible. Things are getting better, though. With the re-signing of Geno Atkins and the doing well in recent drafts, the Bengals fans are finally getting a taste of being a perennial playoff caliber team. As a die-hard Bengals fan, I can honestly say we have way too many fair weather fans in Cincy. During a good season fans are in black and orange chanting "WHO DEY!!!". During a bad season? Fans are quick to put away their jersey and start wearing their favorite college team. We have plenty of options in Cincy, but if Brown can continue keep our good talent and prove he wants to win as much as the fans, the Bengals may just win over all the fair weather fans for good. Once that happens, we will be marching our way up this list.
19. Minnesota Vikings - Only the Vikings and Bills know what it
is like going to 4 Super-Bowls but no rings. Give this fan base some
credit. They are a loud and passionate fan base. One of the loudest
stadiums in the league when they have a team to be proud of.
18. New York Jets - New York is crazy about their sports. The
Giants seem to get all the love in New York. Jet fans have to love that
Sanchez is finally off the field. Geno is having an up and down year,
but the J-E-T-S still find themselves in the hunt for a wild card.
17. New England Patriots - Surprised? You shouldn't be. I know there are some truly great Pats fans in Boston, but I rarely meet a Patriots fan (outside of Boston) who can name more than three starters on defense in any given season. Brady this, Brady that. Which is fine. Brady is a phenomenal quarterback and one of the best in history, but these nationwide fans seemingly came from out of nowhere after Brady took over. How many Patriots fans were there before Brady snagged the starting role from Bledsoe? Outside of Boston, not many. To me, most of the "new" Patriots fans are just Tom Brady fans who jumped on the wagon in the early 2000's. Will the "new" fans stick with the team after Brady's inevitable retirement? If so, they will definitely climb on this list.
16. Oakland Raiders - A large national fan base, but they take a huge hit for their attendance issues. They have the lowest attendance (51,296) in the NFL this year by far, and it has been that way for a while now. Where have all the fans gone? Maybe those crazy costumes in the black hole scared away all the normal fans. Or, maybe it was Carson Palmer last year. Just kidding.
15. Baltimore Ravens - Baltimore was a little spoiled after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in only their fifth season since their arrival. Fans love the tough defensive teams. Ray Lewis will be missed in Baltimore. There is a great football culture in Baltimore which will only get better as the Raven's build more history.
14. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts have some great fans...now.
Hard to put them higher than this. Before Peyton arrived in Indy, Colts
fans were seemingly non-existent. Some will find this ranking contradictory because of how I ranked the Pats, but after Peyton was released, fans welcomed Luck with open arms. Will the same happen in New England once Brady retires? Again, if so, the Pats will rise. Peyton did wonders for this
franchise and the Colts now boast one of the better fan bases in the NFL.
13. New Orleans Saints - Saints fans have popped up everywhere
following their Super-Bowl victory. Drew Brees has put the Saints on the map the way Brady did with the Pats. The Saint's fans get points for sticking with the team through a rough 2012 season. After Katrina, New Orleans needed something to bring the city together and give them hope. They have one of the best home
field advantages and New Orleans now has some of the most passionate
fans in the NFL. While they may be a top 10 fan base NOW, hard to put them any higher in this list. Not too long ago, Saints fans referred to their team as the "Aint's" while wearing the infamous brown bag. Still, very knowledgeable fans with a ton of passion. They just needed something to be proud of.
12. Seattle Seahawks - A very underrated fan base. One of the
loudest, if not THE loudest fans in the NFL. Kansas City would be the
only other fan base that may be louder. I rank these fans high
because, other than the last couple years, they have not had much to
cheer about, but they still show up and pack the stadium and cause
nightmares for the opponents offense. Probably the best home field
advantage in the NFL right now. Russel Wilson and company are off the
best start in franchise history.
11. New York Giants - The Giants get more love than the Jets. Before Eli won the Super-Bowl, fans wanted
him gone, referring to him as "Peyton's adopted brother". After the Super-Bowl they admitted he just needed some time to develop. Earlier this season, they were back to the "Manning's adopted brother" jokes. Have some faith! He's won you two Super Bowls!
10.Chicago Bears - Fans in Chicago are still holding hope that Jay Cutler can get them back to a Super-Bowl. The glory days are long gone, but with Trestman in town, there is renewed hope that the Lombardi trophy will be making its way to Chicago soon.
9. Denver Broncos - I have been fortunate enough to attend a Broncos game this year. Denver is a football town and loves their Broncos. The stadium is loud. The fans are smart and passionate. They also treated Raiders fans well. Maybe they just felt sorry for them.
8. Kansas City Chiefs - One of the most underrated fan base in
sports. Kansas City has some of the best tailgating in the NFL and is
like a college football atmosphere during the NFL season. The fans are
loud and with Andy Reid in KC, the future looks bright.
7. Dallas Cowboys - Cowboys fans may be the most disliked in all
the league by other fans. People claim they have the most bandwagon
fans of any team ever. They sure do have their fair share (and then
some) of bandwagon fans. This team created the bandwagon, which gives them a slight knock. This may be a result of them showing up every
30 seconds on ESPN during the NFL season. But, they have been
ridiculously mediocre for years now, but still finish top 3 in
merchandise sales every season. Being dubbed "America's Team" may be a
stretch these days, but the fans still love to support the 'boys, that
shows every year in merch sales.
6. Washington Redskins - Have you seen the wait list for season tickets? Nothing unites Washington like the
Redskins. With Robert Griffin in town, the future is looking bright
again for 'skins fans. Yes, they are having a tough year, but still
draw an average of 81,529 fans to the stadium. Robert
Griffin set the record for jersey sales in a season in only his rookie
5. Cleveland Browns - Putting my Bengals' bias aside for a
moment, these fans have been through hell. The Browns own Cleveland. Even during baseball season, fans are itching for football season. They still pack the stadium and are loyal and passionate after years and years of losing. Props to
Cleveland. Even as a Bengals' fan, I admit these are some of the best and most loyal fans in the NFL.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers - As much as it pains me to say, the
Steelers have one of the best fan bases in the NFL. This is not a
surprise; just tough to admit. They take a slight knock this year for
the low attendance ( 93.5% capacity) during a rough season.
3. Philadelphia Eagles - But the fans are mean, nasty, and throw
snowballs at Santa!! Please. Philly fans ooze with passion. They bleed
green. Every fan base in the NFL have their fair share of idiot fans.
Just take about 30 seconds on YouTube. And by the way, the Santa
incident happened 45 years ago. Time to move on. Plus, it was a
replacement Santa who was drunk. I respect Philly fans. They are
passionate, loyal and Intense. Also, despite never bringing home a
Super Bowl victory, they show up every single year and sell out the
games. While some Philly fans get out of line, it happens in every NFL
stadium. Hostile towards opposing fans wearing opponents jerseys? Fine.
This is the NFL. Football.
1. (Tie) Green Bay Packers - Smallest city in the NFL. The city shuts down on Sundays. No other franchise has a connection to its fans like the Packers. This is a given. No surprise.
1. (Tie) Buffalo Bills - Now THIS is surprising, right? Shouldn't be. Weather.com ranked Buffalo as the worst weather town in the NFL. Oh, and they don't play in a dome. They don't need to nor do they want to. Furthermore, think of how much these fans have been put through. The four straight Super-Bowl losses and the music city miracle (forward pass) for a couple reminders. The team itself has been irrelevant for years, but somehow these fans find it in them to brave the weather and pack the Ralph every single season. They also have one of the best tailgating atmospheres in the NFL. It isn't uncommon to see former players and even the great Jim Kelly on game day either. Tailgating and packing the stadium every Sunday with Buffalo's weather is admirable. These are the most loyal fans in the NFL. The Bills have not been to the playoffs in 14 seasons, but turn on the Bills on a Sunday, and you'd have no idea judging by the fans. They are loud and intense on game day. The future is looking bright in Buffalo with EJ Manual, CJ Spiller, Steve Johnson and company. Buffalo's time is coming. Hopefully they can reward these great fans with some playoff appearances soon.