Why do you root for the team you root for?

When watching/following sports, what motivates your rooting interest? Perhaps your college alma mater has a team you support, which is understandable. What else factors in? Is it part geography?

The National Football League playoffs start today, and this is the order of my rooting interest this postseason. This is totally different from my prediction for the Super Bowl (New Orleans over Baltimore.)

My affection for the New York Giants (NFC) started in the 1960s. They were the team that showed up on my CBS affiliate most often, and I can still name some of them by heart (Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle, Jim Katcavage, Dick Lynch, Andy Robustelli, Dick Modzelewski). Moreover, they used to play a preseason game at Cornell in Ithaca, not that far from Binghamton, NY; my father and I went there for a few years in a row.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) of the 1970s had two players who share a birthday with me, Lynn Swann and Franco Harris. Decades later, that fact, and the blue-collar notion of Steelers appeals to me.

The Detroit Lions (NFC) have been very terrible for so long, but ended a lengthy playoff drought this year.

I’ve been to New Orleans (NFC) and liked it, feel badly about Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and was happy the Saints won the Super Bowl a couple years ago.

I developed an affection for San Francisco (NFC) back in the day that Willie Mays played baseball there. Somehow, that’s gotten transferred to the 49ers.

The Green Bay Packers (NFC) are also blue collar, and small town to boot. And have Green in the name. But they won last year.

Houston Texans (AFC) are an expansion team (2002) in its first playoff game. Gotta love that, even if they are from Texas.

I know almost nothing about the Atlanta Falcons (NFC).

The Cincinnati Bengals (AFC) had been a thug team, with a number of players ending up in the courts. The particular players are probably gone, but my negative feeling remains.

The historically best defensive player on the Baltimore Ravens (AFC) is a felon and is STILL on the team.

I must admit that I’ve experienced a personal Tim Tebow backlash, the new Denver Broncos (AFC) quarterback whose unorthodox play led to a personal 7-1 record this season before dropping the last three games.

Irrational dislike of the New England Patriots (AFC).

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3 thoughts on “Why do you root for the team you root for?

  1. OK, I admit it took me a couple minutes to focus on this post. The adolescent core of my brain got stuck on “root”: “Kiwi/Australian slang that is used in place of the more commonly used term [f-word]”, as the #1 definition on Urban Dictionary correctly puts it (Definition is definitely NSFW).

    Anyway, not that I care about sports, but my choices are geographic: Chicago Cubs especially, also sometimes Bears and Bulls. After the Cubs, my second choice is the Phillies (my mother’s favourite team) or the Giants (just because its San Francisco). Football? Bears or nobody, though I haven’t watched a gridiron game in years. When none of my teams are in playoffs—so, pretty much every time—I pick the team from the place I dislike the least.

    In this part of the world, my choices are also geographic: Auckland for local sports. But we also have another, cleaner expression that’s relevant: “I cheer for two teams — New Zealand and anybody playing Australia.”

  2. When I was a kid in the 60’s, I liked the Baltimore Colts- it was a combination of things that got me interested in football: my dad bought me some Topps football cards and at about the same time one of my parents got me one of those annual magazines that review the previous season and predict the upcoming one, with rosters, pics, etc. I also saw games on TV every Sunday. I loved Johnny Unitas and enjoyed watching the Colts when they came on, so that was my team for a long time. Then, around 1970 or so, I noticed the Atlanta Falcons section in another pro football annual, and liked their helmets…and thus a near-lifelong fandom was born. I still liked Johnny U, of course, revere him to this day, but the Falcons were a young, hungry team, had cool unis, and were just different enough to appeal to my already left-field sensibilities. I remain a fan to this day of that somewhat star-crossed franchise, believe you me it hasn’t always been easy…and will be happy to tell you anything you’d like to know!

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