A response to a conversation started on Facebook after I commented to support Minnesota Vikings fans after a tough loss. Follow that here.
Okay, here’s some perspective from a non-NFC north fan.
I’ve lived in five NFL markets: Pittsburgh, Miami, DC, Detroit, and now the TC. Again, I’m a Miami fan.
The Pittsburgh fan base is one of the most loyal, faithful, authentic groups in the league and in my opinion one of the top 5 in the league. I have every reason to hate them and they Miami. The Stellars (w. pa. accent) essentially ended the Miami dynasty in the 70’s and the two cities are complete existential opposites. Yet never once was I drilled by a Pittsburgh fan for my Miami aqua #13.
Miami fans are among the most definitively fair weather in the league. Most of the true Phins fans moved away in the 80’s when the racial issues killed the city’s authentically blue collar population. Its not that the remaining don’t care but why would you spend time on a mediocre team when you can enjoy one of the largest party towns in the US where you can party way better on South Beach among far more visually pleasing scenery and cheaper with less emotional cost. Plus you’re only 90 minutes from Margaritaville. Nothing better illustrates the Miami situation than the fact that every home game this year has been a ticket sales sellout including next week’s pre-playoff, playofff vs the Stellars; but none has been an actual gameday attendance sellout.
As for the Skins, I think for the most part you can apply the statements about the Stellars to them as well. Miami ended their perfect 72 season with a SB W vs the Skins and about a decade later they pummeled a David Woodley led Phins team in the SB. The Skins are old school, the DC community is as unique an existence as there is in the NFL, and they love their team regardless.
No team better represents the state of their city/state better than the boys in Honolulu Blue. The fans are there in Motown, but they’ve been punished like very naughty children since anyone still alive can remember. Why would anyone still go to a Detroit game? I mean 10+ years with #20 only got them one NFC title game. What makes anyone with any common sense believe anyone on the current roster is going to lead them out of NFL purgatory? Yet, like robots they tune their DTV Sunday Tix package (games are blacked out like the sun rises) to the Lions and are safely asleep by halftime. Ford Field is gorgeous but in the end if the girls in the shoulder pads aren’t attractive why is anyone gonna care. That said, the minute the Lion-Cubs grow into men for a decade or so, watch out, the fan base will rise from their slumber and be one of the most rowdy in the league. They’re so bad they don’t even have the energy to notice I’m even wearing my Danny Marino threads.
That takes me to the TC where the first time I suited up in my Dolphins stocking cap and #13 and headed to class at NCU I was promptly informed by a well educated person wearing purple that “Miami sucks!”. And the echo resonates nearly half a dozen times a season since I came in the fall of 1999. While I’m not so much arguing that in fact “Miami doesn’t suck,” I am oft left wondering why anyone in the TC would even care if that statement is true. I say that to illustrate a point about Vikes fans, of which I can honestly say there are the faithful. But most of the vocal “fans”, for what ever reasons there might be good or bad, are so bitter about history in general that they are not able to rationally deal with losing a game even in the midst of a decent season. They have a great tradition and are very rarely truly awful but if you lived in a vacuum and landed on earth in December of any of the last 10 years except 1998 and spoke with the average Vikes fan, you would feel like they were supporting a team suffering through a Detroit Lions-like slump. Whether that frustration is a sign of passion or being sore losers (I don’t care how long its been since Tark played at the Met or if the Vikes ever won a “big game”) its a tired act the MN fans put on every year. I can fully see how Vikes can be annoyed by the Cheese or Halas Hall each year. But so many of the loudest Vikes fans couldn’t tell you who won the SB in 1977. That was the last time the Vikes played on Super Sunday, albeit, a loss to the Fighting Jon Maddens. The bottom line in my experience is they don’t even really know why they’re so bitter, its just an inherited sin of their fathers. Are the fans good? Maybe. Are they loyal? Sure. Are they tolerable. Just barely. Again not all are this way but every real fan is bitter when their club loses so, as hard as it is to believe, EVERYONE hurts when their team disappoints.
I know what its like to watch a team in your division rise from ashes to dominate the NFL. Remember I grew up with Indy in the AFC east. To know that the Pats and the IndyPonys have risen from classic NFL mediocrity to be two of the 3-4 premiere franchises just makes me ill. Plus our franchise’s greatest player was denied SB glory by the NFL’s most pure chokers, the Jills, through out the early 90’s. Top that off with an owner who threw $$$ at the Marlins to earn WS rings with money he made selling stadium naming rights to our building that only made profits during FB not Hardball games. And how Marc Anthony? That’s another blog. But never once have you heard me present scenarios for me to disown my team or create my own personal global warming bonfire with all the Dolphins gear I’ve collected over 28 years. Yet both have been bullet point items in many dissertation speeches presented to me by Vikes fans.
Nothing against Vikes fans or any other team’s supporters but this is just one guy’s experiences.