Five NFL Teams I’m Surprised Still Have Fans

Being an avid sports fan, I find it hard to edit myself from talking too much about things like baseball, football, or hockey – especially when I have taken it upon myself to write entries in a blog. Yet seeing how we’re entering into week three of the NFL season, I find it somewhat practical to take a moment to not only judge these teams, but the people who choose to follow their horrid existence. And before you ask “why aren’t the Jets in here?”, it’s simple – they haven’t been bad enough for long enough. Yet.

*And since I’ve been scolded by an easily offended Chiefs fan, the Super Bowls counted are post-AFL/NFL merger in 1970. No, the 1969 bowl doesn’t count. 

Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders

Super Bowl Appearances: Four (1976, 1980, 1983, 2002)

Super Bowl Titles: Three (1976, 1980, 1983)

Notable Players: Sebastian Janikowski (K), Darren McFadden (RB)

Why: The fans of the Raiders are a special breed. If you’ve never been to Oakland, there’s a lot of pride built up around the city – and the Raiders. It’s not that the team is good, it’s that they have a legacy. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Al Davis promoted the insanity that is the “Hell Hole” for the past decade as he slowly turned into a zombie. But you have to hand it to the guys that still go to each and every game decked out like a killer. I mean, the best person they have to root for is a kickerA kicker that was a first round pick in 2000. It’s the legacy of this team and its former brilliant owner that are keeping these guys just above the cut-off. I mean, Al Davis did help form the NFL and the Raiders do have a lot to be proud of. Just not over the past decade.

Honorable Mention: Detroit Lions

Super Bowl Appearances: None

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Ndamukong Suh (DT), Reggie Bush (RB), Matt Stafford (QB),

Why: If I had written this three years ago, they would have been number one on my list. 0-16. They went 0-16 in 2008, setting the record for the worst season in NFL history. I cannot say that I would still be a fan after that debauchery, but now it’s five years later and they are not the same ol’ Lions anymore. Sure they’re just mediocre, but they’ve come a long way from rock bottom. Am I still shocked they have fans? Yes. But not as shocked as I was during the years of 2009-12.

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl Appearances: Two (1980, 2004)

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Mike Vick (QB), DeSean Jackson (WR), LeSean McCoy (RB), DeMeco Ryans (LB), Fletcher Cox (DT)

Why: This team. This team and these fans. You could compare these fans to Raiders fans almost – so in love with their city that they don’t really care that their team sucks, though deep down they really do. Unfortunately, the Eagles don’t really have much history behind them other than their fans. I mean you could count the last time they made it to the Super Bowl when their QB choked so hard I swore someone had to administer the Heimlich. But I’m pretty sure they don’t like to remember that. This year isn’t starting off too bad for the Eagles, headed up by their new coach Chip Kelly, but I’m still astounded this team exists. And has fans. They would have made top-five if it wasn’t for:

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Super Bowl Appearances: None

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Alex Smith (QB), Jamaal Charles (RB), Dwyane Bowe (WR), Brandon Flowers (CB)

WhyHas this team done anything since the merger in 1970? I literally mean anything. They have had 12 playoff appearances in the past 40+ years. Sure six of those times they won the AFC West, but they never earned a title past that. Yet somehow they managed to send a franchise record-breaking six players to the pro-bowl this past year? I’m assuming it’s because everyone else that was invited had a real post-season to play. The Chiefs have been a joke in the AFC West just like their fellow Raiders. But maybe… just maybe… the red walrus that is Andy Reid and the 49ers reject that is Alex Smith can turn this team around and make their followers’ fandom valid. I don’t believe that to be true, but hey. I’m trying to stay positive.

4. Miami Dolphins

Super Bowl Appearances: Five (1971, 1972, 1973, 1982, 1984)

Super Bowl Titles: Two (1971, 1972)

Notable Players: Mike Wallace (WR), Brian Hartline (WR), Cameron Wake (DE), Dannell Ellerbe (MLB)

Why:  Let’s just get this little jab out of the way, shall we? The Dolphins’ quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, doesn’t even know the divisions in the NFL. Which is really how all of Miami fans seem to work, in my opinion. Though the Dolphins aren’t the worst team in existence, they are more known for Mr. Dan Marino – who basically owns all of south Florida – than anyone currently on their roster. It’s hard to tear away Florida fans from their beloved college football, so it is believable to toss around the idea that the only reason they watch NFL games is to continue to follow their favorite college stars. Actually… that’s probably right.

3. Carolina Panthers

Super Bowl Appearances: One (2003)

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Cam Newton (QB), Greg Olsen (TE), DeAngelo Williams (RB), Luke Kuechly (LB)

Why: Oh the Panthers. Naturally another area that seems to be more fond of college ball than the NFL. Honestly it’s hard to find a player on this team to like because it seems like the only person worth watching is Newton. This lean, mean, running machine takes over for his running backs more times than none. The only person he needs to rely on? Olsen. Overall, the best part of this team is their defense. They really have some star linebackers and pass rushers; and while they say “defense wins games,” you need the offense to put some points up, making this team incredibly hard to watch. Or root for.

2. Cleveland Browns

Super Bowl Appearances: None

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Phil Dawson (K),  Josh Cribbs (WR)

Why: It is too easy to hate on the Browns. They’re QB-ed by a ginger for gosh sakes. But let’s take a moment to think about the Browns as a franchise. Sure they have never been to a Super Bowl, though they did win four NFL championships before the league merge, but they aren’t necessarily the worst team. Think of it this way – six out of their 16 games are against the Bengals, Steelers, and Ravens, so their baseline record could get as good as 10-6. Not bad! But then you have to factor in the fact that they suck. Then you’re talking more 3-13 type of deal. Sucks to be you, Cleveland. But not as much as it sucks to be:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

Super Bowl Appearances: None

Super Bowl Titles: None

Notable Players: Maurice Jones-Drew (RB), Chad Henne (QB), Blaine Gabbert (QB)

Why: This team is just the epitome of sad. After a decade of having Winn-Dixie buy tickets so the games wouldn’t be blacked out, the grocery store is no longer partnering with the franchise as of this year. Think about that for a second. This team is so bad that for the past decade they had to have a partner buy out tickets so that there would be enough sales so the games would get picked up. I feel for these guys, I really do, but that is just pathetic. There’s even talks of the Jaguars going 0-16 this year. That’s impressive…ly bad.  AND, to top it all off, they’re not “really sure” who their starting QB is yet. This whole team is a hot mess. Honestly, the only way that the Jaguars could start selling tickets again and have somewhat viable fans would be if they signed Tebow.

Annnnnnnnnnd now we’re back to Florida’s love of college football and their players.

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