With American Football season back in full swing, you may find yourself surround by fans of all types. Here is a handy, panic free guide:
The Passionate fan is probably the first fan you will notice anywhere you go. Why? Because they are loud. Very loud. You will almost immediately peg them as the obnoxious guy, but try not to. The fan simply cares about the team, and most are actually very friendly and fun to be around (As long as his/her team didn't just lose). Once you manage to make friends with the Passionate fan (very easy, just talk to them about football), you can make fun of them at a moments notice. For example, I had a roommate who was a Passionate Bengals fan. Anytime he would get obnoxious, the rest of us would link him This play.
The Casual fan is high in number, but low in visibility. The Casual fan is usually just there to watch the game, isn't loud, isn't mad or depressed, but just content. The Casual fan has better things to do with his life, this is his leasuire time. You will often find them in bars or parties near the back, sipping a drink and talking reasonably about a variety of subjects. If you have no investment in the current game, or are looking to talk about subjects other than football (You Weirdo) the Casual fan makes a great acquaintance.
The Optimist is the type of fan who used to be casual, but slowly degraded into a more passionate fan, usually as a result of their team doing well the previous year. The Optimist believes in their team can do no wrong. The front office always drafts competently, the schedule is always very winnable (We are going to win the Superbowl! I can see it!) and the team is always running at full steam. The Optimist is naive. When you talk to an Optimist, you just end up shaking your head sadly because you know the Jaguars are not going to with the South unless they have a miracle. Do yourself a favor though, and try to talk them down somewhat. The Optimist is a fragile fan, and a couple of vicious heartbreaks from cracking apart.
On the plus side, seeing that happen is hilarious. You can hear the Vikings announcer's sanity crumble as he calls this Favre interception
The Pessimist is the quiet fan with the intense glare. They only talk during commercial breaks. Do not let the quiet exterior fool you, the Pessimist might be more in love with the game then everyone but the Passionate fan. They just keep it bottled up in case of a loss. Pessimists go into every game convinced their team has already lost, and will only become animated and happy during a blowout or an absolute victory. The closer the game is, the more intsense the Pessimist is. However, if you get enough booze in them early, they will loosen up and stop taking everything so seriously.
The Stat Nerd is smarter than you, and he loves making sure you know. But as annoying as the Stat nerd can be, you'd be best to listen to him, because The Stat nerd watches the game on a different level than you. They see things in terms of numbers, and do not rely on anything ESPN says. ESPN says Tony Romo isn't that great? The Stat Nerd will show you why you are wrong (and you are, Tony Romo is a great QB, and Clutch is just an analyst buzzword). Listening to the Stat Nerd explain things is often very insightful and can give you a greater understanding of the underlying chess game that is Football. But in their desire to understand the math, they often miss the context.
Football is a team sport, a game of millions of variables. No statistic made can take every single factor into account. Say a Running Back gets 15 yards up the gut. That's a good play. But maybe the offensive line is really good. Maybe the Defensive line is horrible, and a linebacker wiffed on a tackle. Maybe it was play action, and they sold the fake well. What about what down it was? What about the position on the field at the time of the run? What about what time in the game it was? Maybe it was a garbage time run and the defense was in the Prevent formation. The RB gets 15 yards to his stat total, but so much went into that single play that no statistic can take this all into account. But don't try and tell a Stat Nerd that.
The Jaded fan is what happens after years of terrible play and heartbreak. This fan used to love football. They still do, but they aren't sure why. They come back game after game, year after year, telling themselves they should just sever the relationship. But they can't. Because maybe this is the year it happens, and they'd never forgive themselves. The Jaded fan is a pessimist with just enough hope every year to cope with the awfulness of their team. Some even revel in it. You can often find Pessimists at the bar, by themselves, drinking hard liquor. Do not try to cheer them up. You don't understand their heartbreak.
The Clueless SO is stereotypically a girlfriend or wife, but they come in all sexes and types. Sometimes they are just friends as well. You often see them with their beaus in social gathering wearing the same team jersey as their SO. The jersey is often not even theirs, but their SO's. But the end result is the same: they don't understand the game at all, and they ask a lot of questions. I hope you have patience, because they can be taught. Start slow, with the most basic rules and positions, as watch them slowly get it. I managed to turn my girlfriend from this into a casual fan in a little over a year, so do not fret, it is possible.
An eager girlfriend/boyfriend is an easy turn. But an indifferent spouse is more difficult. You can do the one thing that I've always seen work: Sell Football as a primetime drama TV show. Football and television were made for each other. There are so many stories, so many underdogs, so much drama laced into every game, and the show will never be canceled.
The Fantasy Football fan doesn't care about his team. Maybe because he roots for a bad one, or maybe because he was never too into a particular team. Whatever the case is, this fan spends gameday staring at their phone. You will hear them yell obscenities and celebrations during commercial breaks, only to find out they are celebrating MJD getting them some extra points against his opponent. They do not root for teams, they root for players. They often love to tell you who they started and benched that week, and who they drafted that they are so proud of. Nobody cares who they drafted, but good luck getting them to accept this. The Fantasy Fan wants to feel smart, like he knows the game, and often poses as a Stat Nerd but does not have the knowledge to actually be a stat nerd.
The Bandwagon Fan, sometimes known as the Fair Weather fan, is the worst fan in the world. High in number, high in attitude, high in volume, utterly basement levels of knowledge. The Bandwagon fan is the fan everyone else hates.
The Bandwagon fan knows nothing about the game. If a reciever drops a ball, The Bandwagoner screams that the refs should call interference. If a flag is thrown on his team, the Bandwagon fan will call bullshit and blame the refs, even on a blatant facemask. The Bandwagoner will yell at players who aren't even on the team anymore. The Bandwagoner will trash talk you and your team, spouting whatever EPSN said on Sportscenter. If his team beats your team, you will hear about it for weeks. If your team beats his team, the Bandwagoner will dissapear, become quiet, and never talk about football until the next game. They will also call you a nutjob if you call them on this. They only care if their team wins.
When you don't even know your own team's Quarterback you are a brown underpants stain on fandom everywhere.
This is not a normal soccer fan. Soccer is a fine sport, and have plenty of fine fans. The "Real Football" fan is one of those douches who became a fan of soccer just so they can smugly throw it in your face that Football is really "American Football, and you are wrong". If you live in America, don't say "Real Football" when you know that in the USA, it's SOCCER. You may be right, American Football has little to do with feet most of the time and Soccer is foot-based, but that's not why you said it. You said it to be a smug jerk to a Football fan. THIS IS AMERICA, MAN. Football means FOOTBALL. Touchdowns. Interceptions. Two Minute Warnings. Punishing drives and high scoring offenses. Names like "COWBOYS" and "GIANTS", instead of weird names like "Manchester United". That's not a team name, that's a sentence fragment. Stop acting like your are better than me just because you like a different sport.