This could be our year. If we don’t make the Super Bowl, we’ll at least go deep in the playoffs. This every fan’s attitude going into the season. Even Browns fans get a little over[man]zeilous in early September.
And then all the teams play.
Half of them lose; a handful of those lose ugly. All that preseason promise starts to fade after going against starters with actual game plans. Reality begins to set in. The playoffs may be a week closer, but they’re at least a year away. Admit it, your favorite football team still kind of stinks.
It’s probably going to be a long season, filled with a few ups and way more downs. That first round draft pick who will renew all hope — yet again — is still seven months away. What can a football fan do to survive all the losing. We have plenty of experience with this… and plenty of suggestions.
1. Keep hope alive. It’s a long season and this is just one game. The writing may be on the wall, but you can refuse to read it. We’ll come back strong in week 2.
2. Pick a couple players with potential and root for them. Maybe you like their style of play. Maybe you played their position back in high school. Maybe they post funny comments on Twitter that make you wish you could buy them a beer and hang out. Whatever the reason, find some of these guys to cheer for. After all every player on your team doesn’t have to stink, just most of the important ones.
3. Watch glory days footage on YouTube to remind you how things once were, but will probably never be again. Find that Super Bowl run that you remember so fondly. Relive the catch with commentary and triumphant background music. Browns fans can bask in the glory of that 9-7 season back in 1983. Your team must have a few gems in the internet vaults worth dusting off.
4. Adopt a new favorite team. Go with whatever team has won the most Super Bowls lately or, perhaps, has the most charismatic quarterback. Best uniforms is another solid way to choose a new team. Then again, maybe changing allegiances is too much trouble, what with having to buy new jerseys and beer cozies and all. Never mind that it goes against the very nature of fandom. Okay, forget I brought it up… moving on.
Kellen Winslow (Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
5. Root for your second favorite team too. My runner-up favorite — and loyalties dictate that they’re a distant second — has always been the San Diego Chargers. It probably has something to do with John Jefferson and Kellen Winslow (Sr.) lighting up opposing defenses in the 4:00 time slot some time around 1980. My team had already played, but I wasn’t ready to turn off the TV.
6. Root against your team’s rivals. As a dedicated football fan, whose team has ranged from atrocious to mediocre for about two decades, I get much of my joy on Sundays from watching the Cowboys, Eagles and/or Giants lose. The distraction helps, and given what I’ve seen of the NFC East so far, it looks to be another promising year. You’ve probably already booed your rivals plenty. Well, here’s your chance to boo them a little more.
(Photo Credit: Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)
7. Make up voices and dialogue for the players on the field, like these guys. You’ll be laughing too hard to notice that your QB just threw another pick-6.
8. Tailgate. Who says the party has to end at kickoff? Keep it going… you’ll need all the beer your can get to make it to the final whistle.
9. Make up stats that show how good your team could be if they only fixed a couple things. For example, I’m pretty sure my team already leads the league in red zone turnovers. Just think how many points they’d score if they didn’t, you know, give the ball away.
10. Take up yoga or macrame. Both activities do wonders for relieving stress, even the stress of another abysmal season.
Norm Elrod likes sports and other sanctioned forms of craziness.