Like many kids who find they have a report due the next day and have yet to begin doing even the most preliminary research, I have on occasion simply copied out of a book what I needed with minor changes and passed it off as my own. Some might judge me as being dishonest but I simply looked at it as being the case that Tecmo Bowl was considerably more interesting than Napoleon or the Renaissance. And almost everything is more interesting than the book Ethan Frome.
So it is with that confession that I must admit that the following story is not new. It was first written around a year ago and I've simply made minor changes to it. Of course I was the one who originally wrote it for Niners Nation so it's not exactly plagiarism, it's more that I found playing Madden Football more entertaining than coming up with a new story this week. Besides, if you haven't read it, it's new to you. (That last line was completely my own idea and wasn't stolen and slightly modified from anywhere else.)
Every year there's a fight wagered between the owners and players on how to divide the $9 billion pie that is NFL revenue. Players sit out training camp, owners refuse to renegotiate player's contracts, and even refs are locked out because they complained about their pensions being cut. Yet it's the fans that are the real life blood of the NFL. Without them the NFL would just be another WNBA. So I thought I'd take some time to look at the human ATM machines that fuel the NFL engine.
The word "fan" is simply an abbreviation of the word "fanatic", and while some are fans in only the loosest sense of the word, others go to the extreme to show just how devoted they are to their teams. They want to make sure you can tell just by looking at them the depth of their devotion. I guess shelling out an average of $400 to bring their family of four to the game isn't proof enough. So let's look at some of the weirdest, and in some cases, worst sports tradition in the NFL today.
It's cold out there
I have a brother-in-law who absolutely refuses to wear a coat no matter how cold it is. He thinks it makes him look tough. Personally, I just think it makes him look stupid. But that same philosophy is held by many who attend football games. Instead of a jacket, or even a shirt for that matter, they'll show up wearing nothing more than some colorful body paint to cover the upper half of their, more times than not, large and hairy upper body. After all, what shows your love for your team more than a horrible case of pneumonia? Or maybe it's just easier to yell when you're suffering from a mild case of hypothermia.
More odd to stupid traditions after the jump.
Welcome to the Thunderdome
They show up to the Oakland Coliseum with their faces painted silver and black, wearing spike studded helmets and shoulder pads, and donning varies sizes of skulls. Looks like Mad Max was a Raiders fan. The area of the stadium where the fans strut their post apocalyptic paraphernalia has been nicknamed the "Black Hole". Of course, the nickname could just as easily be applied to the Raiders play on the football field over the last decade. The idea is to look scary, even if they'll never outdo Al Davis. In a way, the Raiders and their fans are like an alcoholic uncle. You try to remember them when things were going well, before their life turned into a train wreck.
Imagine you're a Redskins fan and you want to show your devotion to the team and, in particular, their offensive line known as the Hogs. You decide it's not enough to simply wear a fake rubber pig nose, but what more can you do? Turns out the answer is to don an ugly polka dot dress, big floppy garden hat, and blond wig. Hogette, Spiggy, Hog Ed, and Pork Chop are just a few of the now famous Hogettes. Who knew dressing up in drag was the sign of a real football fan. Rupaul must have really hated the lockout.
Remember as a kid when you'd try to figure out sentences that were a combination of words and pictures? For example, the letters "may" would be followed by the picture of a bee, and you were supposed to figure out the word was "maybe". Well grown adults are still engaging in this activity at football games by bringing a giant "D" and a picket fence. Outside of the fact it's completely unoriginal, who are they trying to pump up? Will Patrick Willis look up, see their cardboard cutout, and suddenly think to himself, "I was feeling kind of uninspired but seeing that 'D-Fence' sign has really got me fired up." Enough already! Just "stop sign" it. May-"bee" it's "clock" to come "arrow pointing up" with something differ-"for rent sign".
Sorry, but the cheesehead has got to go. I get that people in Wisconsin are called "cheeseheads" and they're trying to embrace what was meant as a derogatory term, but they've been using that same foam cheese wedge for almost 25 years. And other than matching the Packers colors, which may be the worst colors in all of professional sports, what does cheese have to do with the Packers anyways? Wouldn't a cardboard box make more sense? What's worse, the trend has already caught on in Nebraska where they now wear giant ears of corn on their heads. It's only a matter of time before fans in Florida are seen wearing large oranges, fans in Idaho wearing potatoes, fans in New Jersey wearing a pile of toxic waste, and after what happened to the SF Giants fan in Los Angeles last year, they'll be seen wearing a steaming pile of dog excrement on their heads.