Football fans are a different breed. From the heat and humidity of August to the cold and snow of January, NFL and college football fans are willing to brave the elements to cheer on their team. Others may not understand it, but for true fans of the sport, that type of dedication is a part of life. If you’re wondering whether you’ve joined the ranks of the fanatics, here are a few signs to look out for.
- You’re Hopeful for the Upcoming Season
It doesn’t matter if your team finished 0-17 last season. This year, you believe that they’re playoff-bound. Your quarterback may have thrown 25 interceptions last season, but you swear he has a bright future. All he needs to do is spend some time throwing to the team’s receivers in the offseason. Next season, they’ll all be on the same page. Some may say you’re looking at the situation with rose-colored glasses, but they can’t stop you from dreaming.
2. You Make Tailgating Plans Months in Advance
At home, you’re just an average cook. But in the parking lot, you’re the equivalent of a chef at a five-star restaurant. Excellence starts with preparation, which is why you start laying out your tailgate menu in June or earlier. After all, you don’t want to just serve your guests hamburgers and hot dogs every week. Of course, food and drink are only a part of the experience. As soon as the previous season ended, you started looking for new hanging lights and other decorations for the next season – which is sure to be the best one yet.
3. You Can Recite a Series of Plays on Demand
True fans can recall sequences of plays from a game decades after it happened. It could be a game-winning drive to win The Big Game in the final seconds, or three boneheaded calls in a row by your team’s offensive coordinator to give the other team the ball back right before the two-minute warning. Whether those moments were glorious or gloriously awful, they are burned into your memory forever.
4. You Have an Opinion on Every Member of Your Team’s Coaching Staff
Most fans can only name their team’s head coach, but you’re not like most fans.
From the special teams coordinator to the quality control assistant, you know your team’s coaching staff like the back of your hand. And you keep tabs on their performance. If your team’s receivers can’t seem to hold onto the ball, you’re searching other teams’ websites for your team’s next receivers coach.
5. You May Be a Bit Superstitious
Last year, your team played well every time you wore the jersey of their starting running back. It goes without saying that it will be a mainstay in your wardrobe next season, but it doesn’t end there. Before each game begins, you’re diligent about how your football essentials are arranged in your living room or man cave. Whether it’s moving the bobblehead of your team’s middle linebacker from the shelf to the entertainment center, or placing a ball autographed by the entire squad on your coffee table, you always sweat the details.
6. You’re Convinced There Are Certain Players on Other Teams That Have Your Team’s Number
Sometimes, it can feel like every opponent of your favorite team has at least one player who has the best game of his season every time they play against you.
They could be a quarterback in the midst of the worst season of their career. Against every other team on their schedule, they may have single-handedly cost their team the game by repeatedly throwing the ball out of bounds or by falling down the second the pocket collapses. But the second he steps on the field against your team, he’s the MVP. Suddenly, no one can tackle him. Every pass he throws is on-target. It makes little sense, but it’s life as a football fan.
7. No Matter How Bad It Gets, There’s Always a Moment That Sucks You Back In
- If you’ve ever witnessed your team go through a frustrating season, you’ve likely had a moment in which you swore you were finished following them.
- Every team has a season in which little goes right. The entire defense could be injury-plagued from the start of pre-season to the playoffs. Or the offense might operate as if it’s stuck in the mud, game in and game out.
- No matter how bad it gets, though, you can bet there will be a moment that offers you hope. It could be an upset win over a rival or a breakout performance from a rookie. Either way, you’ll be back next season.
8. Being a Fan Is a Commitment
The football season starts in July with training camp and runs through The Big Game in February. It’s a long haul, but you’re a fan. You’ve got this.