Super Bowl week is upon us and I believe that I speak for the majority of Denver fans in saying that we have been far more interested in the Senior Bowl and prognosticating about the future QB in Denver than we have about the Rams, Patriots matchup on Sunday. Of course we will all tune in and hope and pray that the L.A wins and that another Wade Phillips vs Belichick/McDaniels battle turns out like the great one in 2015 that propelled the Broncos to Super Bowl 50.
Since I live in Germany it’s a very different experience dealing with American Football fans than it ever was while in Denver. While walking the streets of the Mile High City if anyone was spotted wearing Patriot/Chief/Raider gear they typically were openly derided by the local faithful. Here in the Fatherland, though it’s great that the sport is becoming more and more popular, it’s unfortunate that people just picking up the sport and looking for a team to root for almost unanimously pick the Patriots as “their team”. However much I try to talk them off this ledge of Bandwagonism I still can’t deny that it just makes sense to cheer for a team that goes to the Super Bowl practically every year. For me personally, I hate this mentality and openly root against the evil empire that is FC Bayern München soccer and pick teams for any other reason than being perennially good.
Sports are allowed to be one of the biggest industries in the world today simply because of us, because of the fans. In the podcast today, The Skipper Dude put together a fantastic segment about the psychology of sports and the different levels of fanhood. It went something like this:
Fan level #1 - The Malcontent
We all know at least a few people that don’t really care about any particular team but just enjoy trolling and get a thrill out of schadenfreude - enjoying the sufferings of others. They meander here and there in comment sections just spewing hate of one form or another just... because. - It’s in fact something I am vaguely guilty of in terms of actively rooting against FC Bayern München simply for the sake of them being an evil, overly rich empire. - Most of these Malcontents are people who probably don’t have a lot of joy in their lives and should get a girlfriend or something.
Fan level #2 The Bandwagoner
These are fans that we know by the hundreds and even thousands. They fill a stadium when the team is good but couldn’t name a single player during a bad season. People in California or Oregon or ————- have every Brady jersey ever made but don’t even know the name Drew Bledsoe. At least these fans are more interested in their team winning than the other losing and they aren’t just trolling around hoping for the despair of others, but to say the least, there’s not a lot of depth here.
Fan level #3 The Bandwagon loyalists
These are the people that picked a team to root for, perhaps early in their lives because they liked the color of their jerseys or thought their QB was attractive but have never abandoned their acquired favorites since they made the choice. When day comes that brings the retirement of Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick we will find out how many “fans” stick around with a team that will unquestionably struggle and how many swap their Brady jersey for the newest of Baker Mayfield.
Fan level #4 The Homer
According to The Skipper dude: “Homerism is a form of patriotism. Patriotism is a subset of piety and to have a special affinity for your home team is a good thing unless it’s for the Patriots, which is of a course a mental illness”. Homers are the men and women that were born with a team, live with that team and die by that team. It doesn’t matter if they are the Cleveland Browns or the Lebron James Cleveland Cavaliers, you would never even consider abandoning them. With the start of each new year your hope is as fresh as it was at the beginning of the last season before you went 6-10 and were an embarrassment to the league. You bleed orange and blue or whatever the color is of your beloved sports teams and you laugh in the face of a losing season.
I would almost go a step farther (as Skipper Dude did) and say that there is a fifth level, that of a Super Fan, or Fanatic, sports lunatic....whatever you want to call it. Someone who attends every game, names there kids Elway, Peyton and Bucky and have cried each time they’ve watched the “this one’s for John” highlight.
My question for you is, which type of fan are you? What experiences do you have with the other levels of fandom?
And finally, I want to put you to the test. The Broncos are hoping for at the very least two new Hall of Famers this week in Champ Bailey and Pat Bowlen but there’s even a chance to add a third with the great Steve Atwater. With all-time great Broncos on the minds of many, the test of your Broncos fanhood is ...
Can you name all 23 of the Broncos’ Ring of Famers?
Comment with your list below!
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What type of fan are you?
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