There are no hard-and-fast rules for being a true fan of your NFL team. If you feel football in your bones, if you eat, live and breathe the sport, if you suffer through 4-12 seasons with the firm belief that better times are around the corner, you might qualify.
Or you’re crazy. Probably both.
So how do you know for sure if you’re a die-hard fan? Funny you should ask, because we’ve thought of a few ways:
1. You own every single piece of team paraphernalia available, including the full-size adult onesie splashed with the team logo.
2. Your kid has the toddler-size version of that same onesie, and somewhere in your photo archives is a picture of the two of you wearing them together.
3. You would not be the least bit embarrassed if that picture got splashed all over the web with your name under it.
4. You feel like your team has a legitimate shot at taking its division and making a Super Bowl run… every season.
5. You can name every starter along the offensive line and who would fill in if they suffered an injury.
6. You can picture exactly where you were (and who was there) when your team last won the Super Bowl, even if that fateful day was 23 years ago and counting.
7. You’re a Buffalo Bills fan.
8. Your team has never even sniffed the Super Bowl yet you still keep coming back for more.
9. You’re a Cleveland Browns fan.
10. Friends and family — heck, even people you barely know — KNOW not to call you when the game is on.
11. You go to the NFL Draft in full team regalia.
12. You go to training camp, even though it’s hundreds of miles away in some podunk town known only because that’s where training camp is.
13. You watch preseason games.
14. You draft fantasy players because they play for your team, not because they’re any good.
15. You click refresh on your favorite local sports sites multiple times a
day hour to see if there’s any up-to-the-minute team news.
16. You’re already clamoring for the head coach to step down and/or second-string quarterback to start, and your team hasn’t even played yet.
17. Nothing Mother Nature has in her arsenal — extreme heat, blizzard, typhoon — can keep you away from a home game.
18. You’d sooner go hungry — and consider giving up beer — than relinquish your season tickets.
19. You get butterflies on opening day every year, like you’ll be reaching under center rather than reclining in your La-Z-Boy.
20. The first weekend of NFL regular season football every year feels like a holiday.
Norm Elrod likes sports and other sanctioned forms of craziness.