Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm a Free Agent NFL fan

I’m a Free Agent fan. In 1994 the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders packed up their moving vans and left for St. Louis and Oakland respectively. With no home team to cheer for, I have claimed “free agency” for my allegiance ever since. Those of you who live in the L.A. area (and other parts without an NFL franchise) are also Free Agent fans. If your hometown team is an NFC team, you can be an AFC Free Agent fan. Vice-versa if you live in an AFC town.

As a Free Agent Fan, there are teams that I love, teams that I like, teams that I would like to like, teams that I’m indifferent to, teams that I dislike and a few teams that I HATE. All 32 fit into one of these categories. While most teams can and do move around from one category to another from year to year with me, the teams that I hate, I will hate forever.

Teams I Love
Arizona Cardinals
OK I admit it, I still have a soft spot for Kurt Warner. The guy has two bona fide Pro Bowl receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Throw in Edgerrin James, new Unis and the most amazing stadium ever built in the world? What’s not to love?

New Orleans Saints
IF the Saints aren’t everybody’s second favorite team…they should be (ok those of you in Atlanta, Charlotte and Tampa are excused). After all that the area has been through in the past 13 months, they deserved a break. Then on Draft Day, the Texans pass on the most amazing running talent to emerge from the college ranks in 40 years? I don’t care if the guy DID go to USC, you can’t pass up Reggie Bush. Saint Reggie indeed.

Carolina Panthers
I used to call them the UCLA Panthers. DeShaun Foster at RB, Ricky Manning at CB, Mike Seidman at TE. Manning may be gone but the Panthers are the still the deal. The electric blue jerseys that they wear are among the sharpest in all of the NFL.

San Diego Chargers
I started cheering for them in deference to my Dad. Figured if seeing the Bolts win made Pop happy, then cheering for them was the right thing to do. Then they trade the rights to Michael Vick and get LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees in his place. Brees is gone but nobody is crying them a river, Phillip Rivers takes over nicely after carrying a clipboard for two years. Shawne Merriman? One of two defensive players in the game worth the price of admission (sorry Texans…Mario Williams aint the other one).

Jacksonville Jaguars
Ahhh the UCLA Jaguars. The Jags were already an up and coming team, but then they spent their first two draft picks on former Bruins, Marcedes Lewis (TE) and Maurice Jones-Drew (RB). Drew exploded for the first time yesterday against the Colts and Lewis won’t be far behind. The Jags have now become my favorite to win the AFC this year and play in the Super Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens
The other defensive player worth the price of admission? Ray Lewis of course. He’s healthy and mean again. Now he has Steve McNair on the other side of the ball directing the offense. This is the team that the Jags will have to hold off if they want to get to the Super Bowl this year.

Teams I Like
Atlanta Falcons
Speaking of players worth the price of admission, look no further than Mike Vick. I’ve never been much of a Falcons fan, but man is Vick fun to watch. You never know what you’re going to see next every time you watch him play.

Indianapolis Colts
I like Peyton. Heck whats NOT to like about Peyton? He’s a heckuva nice guy who also is one of the best QB’s of all time. I have rooted for the Colts for the last few years. Last year WAS their year. I still like ‘em, but the Jags, Chargers and Ravens have supplanted them as my favorite AFC team.

Cincinnati Bengals
Another team that had it all going for them last year. There is something great about a team that has a tradition rich in losing turning it around and becoming winners. Happened with the Rams in 1999 and Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer nearly pulled the same feat last year. If Carson stays healthy in that playoff game against the Steelers, the Bengals or the Colts would be Super Bowl Champs today.

Teams I would like to like
Detroit Lions
I love underdogs. There aren’t many teams as “doggie-dog” as the Lions the past few years. This year Detroit brings in the best offensive coordinator of the last 20 years in Mike Martz. They have a serviceable QB in Jon Kitna…and still they are winless. Maybe the problem really IS ex-49er and Raider Matt Miller.

Houston Texans
Cool logo, In fact, best helmet (by far) in the NFL. But as long as the team is run by the geniuses who passed on Reggie Bush with the Number One pick in the NFL draft, this team will never be a winner.

Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field. The FROZEN TUNDRA. There is nothing like football in Green Bay. But Brett Favre needs to step aside and let the Aaron Rogers ear begin. Ya think maybe Tampa Bay might be in the market for a QB like Brett Favre now that Chris Sims has been de-spleened?

Tennessee Titans
OK in Nashville they have a hockey team called the Predators. Everyone calls them the Preds for short. The University of Tennessee Volunteers are called the Vols. Anyone want to take a guess at what they call the Titans for short? OK so their uniforms, logo and helmet are really ugly. Vince Young and Lendale White are the future of this club. Give them two years and there will be a lot of people on the Titans bandwagon.

Cleveland Browns
Its not easy being Brown. It’s not easy living in a town known as “the mistake on the lake.” But I want to like the Browns. Again, they have been down for so long that you anyone who likes an underdog (and Cleveland is home to the famous “dawgpound”) has to be cheering for Romeo Crennel to turn things around.

Miami Dolphins
The first team that I ever became a Free Agent fan for (back in 1972) was the Miami Dolphins. I fondly remember coaxing my mom into buying me a Dolphins jacket for Christmas in 1972. Once they had their perfect season? I was over them and onto cheering for the Steelers (even then I loved underdogs). I like Nick Saban (I’m an LSU Dad) and it sounded as if they got a steal in Daunte Culpepper. So far that hasn’t amounted to much.

Teams I'm Indifferent About
St. Louis Rams
I grew up a Rams fan. I lived and died with the Rams in the 1970’s I cried when the Rams got trampled by the Cowboys in Merlin Olsen’s last game. I had season tickets when they played in Anaheim. I named my oldest son AJ because it sounded like a great name for a Rams middle linebacker. When the Rams moved, I still pined for the team. When Verneil and Warner led the Rams to their only Super Bowl Championship, I just KNEW that a dynasty was coming. Then Vermeil resigned and Mike Martz took over. Martz is a genius as an Offensive Coordinator, and is a disaster as a Head Coach. Mike Martz did something that not even Georgia Frontierre could do…make me indifferent about the Rams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I have a ton of great friends in the Tampa area. I love Ybor City and Barnacles in Brandon. I cheered like crazy for the Bucs when they beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl. But that was four years ago. Gruden hasn’t done much since his first year at the helm there. But going to a game at Raymond James Stadium is more like going to a rock concert. There isn’t another place quite like it. Maybe they need a likeable QB. Brett Favre anybody?

New York Giants
I’ve never been a fan of the G-Men. I’ve never hated them, I’ve just never been crazy about them. I rooted for Phil Sims when they beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI and likewise for Jeff Hostetler in SB XXV. But I cheered against them when they lost to Ray Lewis and the Ravens. I like Eli Manning, but hate Tiki Barber (what kinda name is Tiki anyway?). Dunno. I just can’t help but feeling “ehhhhh” all over when I think of the Giants.

Kansas City Chiefs
When I was young, my friend Ruben told me that his favorite team was the Cheese. I looked at him puzzled and asked him if he meant the Packers (thinking he was referencing the Cheese-heads). He responded and said “no the Cheese….the Kansas City Cheese.” My favorite Chiefs teams were the Joe Montana-led ones. I could finally cheer for and appreciate Montana once he was free from the 49ers. Now, I kinda hope they can turn things around cause I have friends and family in the KC area, but if they don’t? I won’t lose any sleep over it.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Man I used to love the Steelers. I jumped on the bandwagon in 1974 and loved every minute of watching Bradshaw and Harris, Lambert and Greene roll over the Viking and Cowboys in their first three Super Bowls. Then they played my Rams in Super Bowl XIV in 1980. That is probably the most underrated Super Bowl to date. Great game, terrible loss for the Rams. Now, I don’t hate the Steelers, but as defending Champs, I won’t cheer for them either. The Bengals and Ravens are my two favorite AFC teams and they play in the same AFC North that the Steelers do.

New York Jets
Another team that I just can’t seem to get excited about. I admire the fireman fan and his brother. I like the J-E-T-S JETS, JETS, JETS cheer, but other than that? Pennington started to win me over a few years ago, but then he started getting hurt….and just seemed to get used to being hurt.

Chicago Bears
I like their coach. I like their classic uniforms. I was a huge fan in 1985 when they won it all (even though they beat Dieter Brock, Eric Dickerson and the Rams on the way). Once they won, it was over. Haven’t had much love for them since.

Teams I Dislike
Seattle Seahawks
Love their uniforms and their stadium. That’s pretty much it. Don’t like Hasselbeck. Don’t like Alexander. Don’t like Holmgren. Don’t hate any of them either mind you, just don’t like them. I feel like I should like them, but I don’t. Can’t really put my finger on it, but they just don’t do it for me.

Minnesota Vikings
OH you can probably chalk this one up to playoff losses in the 1970s to the Purple People Eaters. Phantom false start calls on Tom Mack in the snow. Tarkenton dazzling in the L.A. Coliseum in the rain. Ugh. Bad memories. Hard to forget, hard to forgive.

Washington Redskins
I like that they have a band and a fight song “Hail to the Redskins…” I cheered for the hogs against the Dolphins in 1983 and the Broncos in ’88. They let me down (big time) against the Raiders in ’84. The ‘Skins against the Rams in the 80’s? Yech, let’s not even go down that memory lane. Nuff said.

Dallas Cowboys
I became a Cowboy fan for the first time in April of 1989 after they drafted Troy Aikman out of UCLA with the Number One draft pick. Four years later when they completed their turnabout and whipped up on the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII, my love affair was over. Time to move on and find a new team to root for. Low point? Watching that numbskull Barry Switzer capitalize on Jerry Johnson’s work by winning Super Bowl XXX.

Philadelphia Eagles
UGH. The Eagles. “Fly Eagles Fly…” ok I like their fight song. Donovan McNabb seems nice enough. So does his Mom (if you can trust those Campbell Soup commercials). I’ve been to the City of Brotherly Love and quite frankly…it scares me. Pat’s Steaks aside, there’s not much I like about Philly (save for serving as the backdrop to the first Rocky movie). My good friend Evan hails from those parts and so I cheered for them against the Pats in SB XXXIX. To quote Forrest Gump, “that’s about all I have to say about that.”

Denver Broncos
Love their uniforms and their new stadium. Cheer for them against the Raiders, but other than that, don’t have much use for the Broncos.

Buffalo Bills
1991-1994 The Buffalo Bills win four straight AFC Championships. That’s good right?
1991-1994 The Buffalor Bills lose four straight Super Bowls. That’s not so good. I have a lot of friends from the Buffalo area. Visited the region for the first time last year and feel in love with the countryside. I can see why people put up with the hellish Winters there. The Bills QB JP Losman screwed over UCLA when he transferred to Tulane just before his Freshman season was to begin. Need I say more?

Teams I Hate
San Francisco 49ers
My Freshman year at UC Santa Barbara was the first time that I discovered how much people from San Francisco hate everything about the L.A. area. I was told that they hated the Dodgers, the Rams, the Lakers. They hated that we stole their water and even Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. I used to respond, “why do you guys hate us so much? We never even think about San Francisco.” The guy who lived across the hall from me Joe Kmak (who ended up being a journeyman catcher in the Major Leagues was the worst offender. Of COURSE as fate would have it, the Niners won their first Super Bowl that year and I grew to absolutely DISDAIN the Forty-Niners (and Joe Montana, and the SF Giants etc…)

Oakland Raiders
In 1982 the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. A year later the Raiders won the Super Bowl. All of a sudden, everyone is LA was a lifelong Raider fan. Although the Rams had moved just 35 miles down the road to Anaheim, it was as if the previous 36 years in L.A. didn’t matter. While Los Angeles was suddenly draped in silver and black everywhere you went, I became a dyed in the wool member of the Raider Haters.

New England Patriots
OK you’ve read about my longtime love affair with the Rams. In 2002, the Rams were heavy favorites to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Kurt Warner led the Rams to another comeback that was sure to force overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history. With just 90 seconds left and no timeouts, Tom Brady leads the Pats into field goal range and Adam Vinatieri rips out my heart with a 48-yard kick on the games final play. No dynasty for the Rams. Warner has never been the same.

Flash forward two years and the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl again, this time against my Carolina Panthers. Late in the fourth quarter, Jake Delhomme hits Ricky Proehl for a 12-yard touchdown strike tying the game with just 68 seconds remaining. Joe Montana…errrr Tom Brady leads the Pats into field goal territory again and again Adam Vinatieri hits the game winning field goal. @$#(*&@(#*%&(@#*% I HATE THESE GUYS!!!!

OK there you have it. Comment on which teams you 1) Love, 2) Like, 3) Would like to like, 4) Are indifferent to, 5) Dislike and 6) Hate. You don’t have to list all 32 teams, just list one in each category.

5 Comments:

At 7:09 PM, Blogger Josh said...

My one true love remains the Vikings due to Brad Johnson coming back and showing that even at 38 years old, you can still be a great quarterback.

I like the Bengals, but I love CP, CJ, and the Housh. They will probably be my favorite team once Brad Johnson leaves the NFl, but for now they are #2.

I am indifferent towards the Lions. They have never meant a thing to me in any context. Kitna is great, it's just sad to see him as the starter for such a boring team.

I want to like the Jets. Cotchery, Coles, Pennington, Ferguson and Barlow. It all kind of sounds exciting to me and they have the BEST uniforms, but after watching them play the Bills, it was just pretty boring and I just haven't been able to cheer.

I dislike the Titans. So much hype behind Vince Young and Lendale White and I can't quite understand why, but Pacman Jones bugs the hell out of me. Young might do well, but I don't think he will be the next Vick in the next couple years. White needs to work his ass off, lose the attitude, and prove he is as good as his USC numbers.

I HATE THE STEELERS AND RAIDERS. I hate the fans of both of them, Bill Cowher is a dick and has always bugged me. I may be one of the few, but I never liked Jerome Bettis, but that was as a result of hating the Steelers. I have never wanted to see a quarterback fail more than I hope "Big Ben" does throughout the rest of his career. And I hope that Farrior, Ike Taylor, Joey Porter, and Larry Foote never have a reason to celebrate again. Raiders fans I never understood. Your team can't win, ever. The only team in the NFL that has not scored a touchdown this season. Tied for the least wins with the 49ers over the past 3 or 4 years. What does this say about you? So many stickers, t-shirts, and other items that say "F*ck the Rest". Insulting other teams will not make your team any better.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger jrgtrain said...

My one and only Football team is.... a shocker.......

The Raiders.

Big shock? I think not.

So our fans get a bad rep. Yes, they deserve the bad rep because for the most part, they are ex-cons, hooligans and vandals alike.

I have been a Raiders fan since I was in diapers. I watched as my family of ex-cons, hooligans and vandals; (a.k.a uncles, cousins and nino) cheered and rooted for the Raiders. Before I understood what or how football was played, the Raiders were the team to cheer for.

They have the toughest uniforms, the toughest helmet logo and really....who wouldn't want to rummage and pillage wenches and weaker gayer teams? People hate the Raiders because of the fans, not because of the team. That's okay with me.

They still have the toughest uniforms out there. I would love to have a Jack Tatem, Lyle Alzedo, John "Tooz" Matuszak on the Raider squad today. Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes of this lifetime and his football career was cut short by a good/bad hit, however you want to look at it. That was the beginning of the end of the "should be" dynasty.

Yeah, every team has its fair share of asshole fans and it turns out the Raiders have the most of these fans. I just don't care. My dad has tried for years to get me away from the Raiders and the "Raider Gear". He isn't a big football fan but I am sure he would have rather me been a Lams fan. They are nicer, have prettier uniforms and it's safer to be a Lams fan. It turns out, after all these years, I have corrupted my dad into rooting for the Raiders.

I think once and IF Al Davis ever dies, I will make my move to convert my brother as well. He is a "homo" pirate fan and likes Tampa Bay. Yes, I can never live down the last Raiders super bowl to this date. Damn.

I like the Colts. They are okay but they DID miss their window. It is sad too. I see Peyton like I see Dan Marino. Great players and Hall of Famers, they just didn't make it.

I like The Saints. I think the name would go well had they moved to L.A. I don't think they would ever get the fan support that they have now if they moved to L.A. They are cool and I like their uniforms too.

I like Greenbay and believe in Brett Favre. Yeah, maybe he should have went out on top. He didn't so here we are. I am in awe of the Greenbay history and heritage. So "Go Packers".

I hate the Chefs...NO, that is not a typo. I hate the Chefs for all obvious reasons.

I equally hate the Chargers. Once again, for all obvious reasons AND the fact that even though my dad roots for the Raiders, it is NEVER against the Chargers.

I also hate the 49ers. They are fudgepacking homos. "Frisco" is nice but the people are nasty and "smug" (that was for everyone that has seen the Southpark episode, LOL). They also remind me of Brian, and he is gay.

This brings me to the final team. The Minnesota Vikings. I hate them. I didn't hate them till I took a good look at them. They have homosexual purple uniforms, like the "Flakers". Their helmets look like they have white jizz on the side, not horns. None of the players drink out of a 1 gallon stein and they don't have cool viking accents. Okay, I went a lil overboard. They are gay and Josh loves them. That is enough for me to hate them.

Go Raiders and F*ck the Rest...

 
At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron,

You are right about people from San Francisco hating everything about LA. I discovered that my first year in Berkeley.

 
At 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:11 PM, Anonymous leslie said...

I think L.J. is overrated from the Chiefs. Did you see him on Hard Knocks last season on HBO. He's cry baby when he doesnt get the ball.

Im also looking forward to Adrian Peterson from the Vikes, NOT the Bears, haha. He showed some sparks of greatness in the Packers game. I was just waiting for him to explode and run it in for a touchdown everytime he touched it. Being that its only week 1, I saw a lot to look forward to in his runs.

The Saints got me a little excited also but I was so disappointed with last year with them. But they have that same glimmer from that "magical" year. Looking forward to seeing Drew Brees lighting up another offensive show. But Marques Colston is out, hopefully they can hold it together.

The Colts looked really rusty in the Bears game and the Bears look phenomenal. Given, Manning hasnt had a real snap in a while and Marvin Harrison has been out for a long time and Anthony Gonzalez is still technically a rookie Im still not too worried about them. But F&%K the Colts, haha. As far as I see it they are my rivals for the Pats, haha..NFL Draft

 

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