Not all fans in a squad are created equal. We’ve boiled down some of the most common and/or noteworthy types into a scale for your self-evaluating pleasure. Which level of fan are you?
1: The Fake Fan
This person isn’t actually a fan, but they like being around fans. They don’t follow football, but if they think it’ll get them invited to your Superbowl Party they’ll sure pretend they do. They’re harmless, if insincere, though if they get a few beers in them they’ll start asking “who’s that guy?” after every single play. They will have one specific favorite player they bring up constantly. If you’re in Detroit, it will definitely be Barry Sanders. If you’re in Seattle, it’s probably Russell Wilson, but it might be “that Beast Mode” guy.
2: The Casual
Your typical, lovable fan. They root for their team, and they know the basics. They probably go to a game every once in a while, and they know all the stars on their team and most of the biggest names everywhere else. They’re not interested in getting into a deep debate about DVOA, and that’s ok. They’re the lifeblood of any good home crowd, goodhearted fans full of civic pride and team spirit.
3: Captain Bandwagon
He actually knows a lot more than The Casual, or even some of the higher level fans, in an academic sense—he can tell you all about who rushed for the most yards last year, and whose defense was the strongest… possibly because he used to root for those teams. Captain Bandwagon is a diehard fan of whoever’s good. He’ll be there when you’re in the playoffs, cheering just as loud as everyone else. It’s in the down years you’ll notice he’s vanished… until you see him on Instagram in rival colors.
4: Becky from HR
She works in your building. She’s friendly, bubbly, and all about your team, in a general sense. She knows the best five guys on the team, and cares about them just as much as you do. She can be counted on to bring the noise at live games, and better than that, she can be counted on to arrange trips to live games. But she loves the team more than the sport, at least for right now. Odds are she started watching in college, and odds are that wasn’t all that long ago. She’s a replacement level Monday morning quarterback—knowledgeable but not authoritative—and while she definitely cares, she probably isn’t a lifelong fan. She’s early on in her fan-lifecycle, and one day will butterfly into one of the next few fans on this list. For bonus points, there’s about an 80% chance she has either discovered or invented an awesome team-themed alcoholic beverage she’ll make for office gamedays. Becky from HR’s a welcome member of any fan squad.
5: The Classic
If you’re a millennial, this is probably your dad. If you’re a dad (or mom) with a millennial kid, good odds this is you. Old school in all the best ways, The Classic has loved their team for decades, not years. They watch every game, and have for a long, long time. They know the game, and more than that, they know their team… probably even better than some of the players on it. There’s a continuity to their passion that’s inspiring, and they can always be counted on to tell you which Hall of Famer the latest late-draft rookie nobody reminds them of.
6: The Serious Fan
Don’t talk to this guy about his team unless you’re ready to devote an hour or two to it. His mornings are spent reading game recaps from a half-dozen blogs, his afternoons are spent setting his fantasy lineup, and his evenings are spent watching the game in his customized game-lair, and there is most likely no talking allowed until the commercial hits. The Serious Fan lives and breathes sports, and especially his team. If he misses a game, somebody is in the hospital. He can be a little bit exhausting if you’re not as into things as he is, but he’s a wealth of knowledge and news, and if occasionally he seems like he cares a little too much, well… have you considered that maybe you don’t care quite enough?
7: The Diehard
Take the Serious Fan, add about a couple hundred dollars to their annual facepaint budget, and get their car detailed with their team’s logo, and you’ve got this lovely lady. If she’s got kids, they will be named after players on her team, and their peewee football coach lives in fear of her tackling the ref. She not only hosts gamedays, she turns every last one into a party. Expect at least three different rooms with three different TVs: the ‘casual’ room for her less devoted friends to gossip, the ‘serious’ room for her stat-head friends to break the game down play by play, and the ‘intense’ room, where not only is talking forbidden, but you are not to enter or leave the room during play. All three rooms will be stocked with team-centric decorations, the local beer of choice, and all the hotwings and potato chips you could ever dream of. The Diehard is the fan MVP in most friend-groups, and your go-to source for team spirit and unbridled fan-passion.
8: The Zealot
Despite ranking above The Diehard, The Zealot doesn’t ever host a game day party. If he did, it’d mean he wasn’t at the stadium, and that just isn’t going to happen. Home, Away, Playoffs, it doesn’t matter, he’s there, and not only is his face painted, but it’s a near-mortal lock he’s created or commissioned some custom team-centric headgear, a fitting crown for this king of fandom. He can be a little intimidating the first time you meet him—if it’s a gameday, his intensity level will be way past 11 from the second he wakes up till the final whistle blows—but he’s generally a great guy, and in spite of his hooting bravado, a sensitive soul… you’ll know the first time you see him cry after a preseason loss. Still, even the Zealot is not the most devoted type of fan…
9: The Psycho
This fan knows the home addresses of every player on his team, and drives by them on a semi-regular basis. Don’t be this fan. Nobody likes this fan. Even other Psychos don’t like the Psycho; they tend to be the jealous sort.