Baltimore Ravens breakout receiver Torrey Smith spent Saturday night trolling the New England Patriots. Specifically, their fans. His argument broke down to: Every team has shitty fans, the Pats simply have more of them. Talk to Boston sports fans, and they’ll sort of echo the notion that the Pats are, by far, their city’s most bandwagon-heavy team.
But that’s to be expected when you go from mid-level AFC East cog to perennial dynasty. And with so many temporary residents in Boston attending school, it only makes sense that window shopping Bostonites would latch on to something from the area. And that something has been pink hats and Tom Brady regalia.
Hating on the Patriots overlooks the fact that Boston—love or hate that town—has one of the most dedicated bases in America. Cities/regions are a fair temperature reading for fan measurement: Look at the rust belt teams (Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo) and how committed citizens remain to their perpetually floundering clubs because there’s tradition. Look at what the Saints mean to New Orleans. Look at the affection that folks have for the Vikings in North Dakota and Montana.
Attacking a team for having bandwagon fans is short-sighted. Bandwagons are an inevitable byproduct of success but are not indicative of the base at-large. It’s why the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys have such tremendous footholes in America. And while some traditions never change (credit the Chiefs—their city still rides for them and talks itself into Alex Smith), some things have.
Philadelphia is an enormous, multi-ethnic city; Lincoln Financial Field is modern, inviting, and years of surging ticket prices coupled with increasing diversity have kind of mellowed out City Center. Go to Geno’s for a cheesesteak, for example, and you’ll find Mexican flags adorning the once defiantly Italian-American neighborhood. Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in America and the Cardinals have a respectable, dedicated wave of fans that came of age with the Kurt Warner postseason run of 2008 and has continued to blossom. Gone are the days of filling the joint with Cowboys fans at Sun Devil Stadium.
But no doubt about it—some fan bases suck. Here are the five worst in the NFL.