Just like there are different levels of the type of players on the field, there are also different types of fans that sit in the stands and on their couches come game day. Fans range from super fans to bandwagon fans and everything in between. So today we will look at the levels of fanaticism that is prevalent on Sunday’s.
Elite – (AKA: Super Fans)
These fans have an unwavering devotion to their team. As a Raiders fan, we have so many super fans that we don’t need a mascot as we have a plethora to choose from in the stands. These fans typically will get dressed up in their team colors and will portray some character or alter ego that embodies their vision of what their team represents to them. While some of them are questionable in their choice of attire, their devotion to their team is not and cannot be questioned. These super fans have become part of the face of the team just as much as a star player might. Even more so when you consider that the player might get cut or traded but the super fan and his character will remain year after year. For these fans, the love they have for their team can often spill into their every day life. When Gorilla Rilla got married in 2012, he did so in full costume and invited many other super fans to celebrate his and his brides special day. They wouldn’t have it any other way! For these select few, the season never ends. Often times they will continue to support their team by being part of the various community outreach programs that the teams hold. They have become celebrities in the stands and in the tailgate parties before the game. These fans will often pose for pictures with other fans whether it be friend or foe. It is not uncommon for an elite fan to spend thousands of dollars on their costume and to spend years cultivating it to get it just right. They will also spend some or most of game day getting ready in some sort of pregame ritual, much like a Hollywood artist might do. Another characteristic of a super fan is their willingness to travel. Often times, these super fans will travel to away games just to see their favorite teams play. Take for instance Ron Rickard, a super fan that has seen the Silver and Black live for over 200 games, and counting. These elite fans exist all over the NFL landscape, so much so that there is actually a Super Fan Hall of Fame in Canton, right along side the players, the way it should be. There is no denying that these elite few love what they do and do so for their team, win-lose or tie.
Die-hard fans are a step down from elite only in that they will not don a costume or makeup, but the unwavering support remains. Die hard fans typically will have a shrine or man cave dedicated to their beloved team. These fans are also season ticket holders and come rain, sleet or snow will be in the stands rooting for their teams to win one more time. Die hard fans will also be able to recite their teams history because they have been around long enough to remember all those years of football. This knowledge becomes a badge of honor for many of us as well as a chance to reminisce about past glory days or plays that became part of NFL lore (Immaculate Deception, The DAMN Tuck Rule). These fans will defend their team and organization come win or loss. You cannot question their devotion and they scoff at you if you mention that you have a “back-up” team. There is no back up team to a die-hard. Die hard’s will also be at every tailgate and will often comment on blogs and posts about their team, often times having multiple logins to any number of websites that post about their team. A die will also despise the fans of any other team in their division or if there is a long history with a rival outside the division (Steelers) . They would not want it any other way. Come Sunday, if they aren’t at the game, better make room and move out because you will not get these fans to pull away from the TV when their team is on. Often times, die-hard’s consider it an investment to buy Sunday Ticket packages. If there was a way to claim that cost on taxes, they would. Many times, these type of fans have become fans because it was generational. Their father, uncle, brother, cousin was a fan and now they carry on the tradition proudly. Don’t be surprised if you see a die-hard roll up his sleeve, pant leg or shirt to reveal his awesome tattoo of his favorite team. Die-hard’s also think it is perfectly acceptable to decorate their vehicles in their teams colors and would not even consider buying a vehicle that was outside the color scheme of their team. Some might be content to place a sticker on their vehicle while others might get a custom license plate. Still for others, they will have a need to decorate their whole vehicle in their teams logo to really show their pride. Lastly, a die-hard will NEVER, EVER play as another team when it comes to John Madden Football. Just like on the real field, win-lose or tie….. Raiders til I die.
The Casual Fan
The casual fan is not heavily invested in their team. They might catch a game here or there if they have time. To a casual fan, it is not heart breaking if their team loses. They have no real emotional attachment to their team like a super fan or die-hard would. A casual fan can be easily distracted if their team is losing and will quickly change the channel to a more interesting game or show. These type of fans will maybe catch one or two games a year at the stadium but do not go out of their way to support their team. These are the fans that you will often find in the ticket lines come game days. The casual fan often times knows and associates with a die-hard but has not made that leap of faith yet. They are still on the sidelines and often times do not get the devotion and pride that emanates from a die-hard. These fans are basically along for the ride and the free food at the tailgate. They have a semblance of interest to see how things will turn out during the season. Their wardrobe might consist of one or two items that show their allegiance but usually it is of an old player that hasn’t been there for two to three years. These fans couldn’t tell you the names of five players, let alone the position of said players. These fans do have a back up team and will proudly tell you that they do. If you ever see a fan with a bag over his head at the game, they are probably a casual fan as a die-hard will find this disrespectful, no matter how bad the team is doing. Die-hard’s and elite fans consider these fans a work in progress…to a point.
The Fair Weather Fan
Now we are getting into the lower level of fanaticism. These type of fans typically will root for their team when the team is doing good or on a win streak. These fans are boisterous when times are good and scarce to non-existent when the teams winning ways have subsided. These types of fans will over compensate for their lack of team and football knowledge by trying to be loud and obnoxious by constantly repeating their teams good times but quiet down when you mention their woes, because they weren’t there to experience them. To elite, die-hard and casual fans, these fair-weather fans are laughable at times. They will line up with the casual fans on Sundays at the ticket office but will be gone the following home games if their team loses that day. They will gladly sport their recent jersey purchase of their so-called “favorite player” but will claim to have “lost” it the following season after their team fails to make the playoffs. A fair weather fan will project his disdain for their opponents but could not tell you the make up of the rest of the division. A fair weather fan will tell you that they picked their team because of their colors or some other non football related reason. (When writing this, for some strange reason, I kept thinking of a certain Southern California City…oh well.)
The Bandwagon Fans
These type of fans represent the lowest echelon of fan. These types of fans cause all other fans great concern in that they aren’t really fans. Band wagon fans will root for the hot team that is getting all the publicity on the internet and cable shows. You can count on the band wagon fan have no knowledge of their “favorite team” except maybe the city and team colors. Like fair weather fans, these fans will claim true allegiance to their team but when pressed to name their favorite player will be quick to change the subject or will give you a name that doesn’t exist like Leon Sandcastle. They are also loud and annoying because they too, like fair-weather fans, will try to overcompensate for their serious lack of football basics. You can most definitely count on the band wagon fan to be at your Super Bowl party sporting memorabilia by one of the teams that is playing that day. When you invite them the following year, you can also count on them to be wearing a different teams jersey or color that surprise, surprise is also playing that Sunday.
So what type of fan are you?