Anyone who says, “it’s just a game” has never known the joy of professional football. Football is more than a game. It is a way of life. Baseball may be America’s pastime, but the time it passes is the time between the Super Bowl and Training Camp. For some, the NFL is a higher calling. These are just some of the super fans.
7. The Cheeseheads (Green Bay Packers)
While the term “Cheeseheads” refers to the Packers nation in general, this article is dedicated to the facilitators of the Lambeau Leap. Make no mistake, when the big Green Machine scores a touchdown, these Wisconsinites love nothing more than to embrace their receiver in a loving and welcoming environment. However if you try to get into their personal space without wearing the yellow and green, things could get ugly.
Luckily, for Ocho Cinco, he had a mole on the inside. For everyone else, it is better not to even try.
6. The Dawg Pound (Cleveland Browns)
The Dawg Pound puts the Cheeseheads of Lambeau to shame. Unlike the Green Bay Packers, the Cleveland Browns haven’t enjoyed a successful legacy filled with NFL heritage and world championships. The Cleveland Browns didn’t even exist for 3 seasons in the late 90’s, and their legacy is as dark and tainted as the fans that inhabit the Dawg Pound.
Notice, what was once cute and funny in Green Bay now appears to be a life-threatening risk not worth taking. The Dawg Pound barely likes their own team; they have less than zero tolerance for the opposition.
5. Wayne “The Violator” Mabry & the Black Hole (Oakland Raiders)
Wayne can be seen distinctly at 1:33 in the following video:
The Violator is the original. He is known to have started it all. If the Cheeseheads punk kids and the Dawg Pounders are violent teens, those who inhabit the Black Hole are the serial murderers that dropped out of school. Striking fear in the hearts of visiting teams, both physically and psychologically, these fans help ensure that the Raiders Nation stays strong, no matter how awful the Raiders may be.
4. Zema “Chief Zee” Williams (Washington Redskins)
Washington Redskins super fan and presumed homeless guy Zema Williams has been dressing up as an Indian Chief and cheering on the Redskins for years. What’s more exciting than watching an elderly African American dressed up as an elderly Native American cheering on a bunch of young All-Americans? Check out his “Inside the Actor’s Studio” style interview.
It’s hard to believe that so many deep insights can come out of someone like this, but the interview and Chief Zee prove that America loves the Redskins.
3. Barrel Man (Denver Broncos)
When your favorite team is the Denver Broncos, life as a super-fan can be tough. Have you ever tried dressing up as a horse? It’s impossible! That’s why Tim McKernan did the next best thing by painting a horse on a barrel and dressing up as a 1920’s cartoon hobo.
Unfortunately, he is no longer with us (as spending 30 years in Denver without a shirt makes you incredibly susceptible to lung failure). Barrel Man was a staple of the Broncos for years. Although he’s currently six feet under, his legacy lives on forever at Mile High, which is now called Invesco Field… but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
2. Don “Bearman” Wachter (Chicago Bears)
A staple of Chicago Bears history for years, Don “Bearman” Wachter started as just a lowly fan.
However, after years of supporting the team, Bearman became more than just a fan when the Chicago Bears made him a part of their pre-game ritual in the early 2000’s. Carrying out the team flag and leading the crowd was the job of the Bearman until the Chicago Bears unveiled an official mascot a few years later. Not one to begrudge, Don headed back to his season seats, where he still sits and cheers on the fans during every home game.
It would American injustice to use the words super fan and Chicago Bears in the same paragraph without also providing this.
1. Fireman Ed (New York Jets)
Fireman Ed is like the tough Bronx version of Mickey Mouse in Fantasia. Never have I seen a single man command 60,000 drunken football fans with the ease and control of Fireman Ed, as seen here:
No make up. No costume. Just pure New York brawn in the form of a humble civil servant. Fireman Ed has been going to jets games for years, and was the one to pioneer (and orchestrate) the now famous “J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS” chant. What mascot could possibly mean more to a team than a working New York Fireman? For these reasons, Ed is top dog on this list.
While the road to super-fandom is long and arduous, requiring all of your time from September to January, it is possible for anyone to succeed at it. For those who would rather just sit at home, maintaining their “family” and “job,” may these super-fans serve as an inspiration.