Part of being a fan of NFL football is maintaining a paradoxical, multiple thread of allegiances and hatred of various teams, players, fans, et cetera. I like making lists so I've ranked my favorite NFL teams from Most Loved, through Like, Occasionally Root For, and Don't Care, down to Hate and Downright Loathe from the Cockles of my Heart.
Here's my list. Lemme know what yours is.
1. Steelers : Whoyathink be here?
3. Buccaneers : I didn't watch much NFL football in the early 90s but the two teams I liked the most were the Steelers and the Bucs and I don't really know why I liked the Bucs now. But as I became a hardcore Steeler fan in 1998, my affections for the Bucs waned. But now with a new coach, an exciting core group of players I've once again begun rooting for them again.
4. Falcons : I'm a Braves fan, so it became natural to root for the Atlanta NFL counterpart. Brian Jordan, Deion Sanders, those were exciting times. Then Vick, who, while never an elite QB, is in a class of his own as an absolutely riveting performer. My affections have waned a little despite the fact that they're better these days. I don't exactly dislike Matt Ryan, but I certainly think he's one of the more overrated of the young QBs in the league.
5. Saints : This is weird really, because I watch the Saints play every week, because I live in La and everybody roots for them (since they've been winning). So I halfheartedly go along, but even when they win I sigh with relief that I'm not a real Saints fan because they are one of the most frustrating teams to watch lose. The last few years the Steelers have lost some very competitive games. Even in the loss, I'd have to admit that it was a good game. But when the Saints lose, it's for one of the most miserable, boneheaded reason. Also I hate Brees, Bush, and Lance Moore as much as I hate Ray Lewis (sorry Blitz). I do love to watch Colston and to spite all the Bush fans I root heavily for OT Jermon Bushrod.
6. Cardinals : Notice how my favor doesn't affect SB losing teams? Guess where the Packers used to be. Not much to say here aside from the fact that I love watching Fitzgerald. Also, I was one of the few that was relieved when Whisenhunt wasn't hired. The guy is such a Cowher clone that he doesn't have his own identity.
7. Bears : I don't necessarily like Cutler, but I don't like to see a guy get ground to pieces unfairly. It's a team I enjoy watching because their D is fierce when it's playing tiptop so I can sometimes scratch that Steeler D desire watching them.
8. Texans : They've got some exciting players on the roster, but haven't put it together yet. Anyone who doesn't think the reason is Kubiak needs to get fired faster the Kubiak. Hiring Wade Phillips to be the D coach might just turn this team around though.
9. Giants : Two words: Tecmo Bowl. Yes, that's my reason. I played the NYG and destroyed everyone with Laurence Taylor. They continue to drop in my rankings because I don't have much to do with the new team, but since I hate WAS, DAL, and PHI more I do tend to root for them a fair bit.
10. Lions : I hate poorly run teams, but I also root for bad teams a fair bit and since they look to be turning the corner I've bumped them up a few slots from previous years.
11. Rams : I've got a buddy who's a Rams fan so I tend to root for them all things being equal. Also, I have to tip my hat to Bradford who's played better than I ever thought he would.
12. Jaguars : I like Del Rio because he looks good in his leather jacket and shades. They're a boring team to watch in my opinion, but like TEX they get bumped up because they play the Colts and Titans.
13. Chiefs : Why? Because I have to rank them somewhere and I dislike the teams beneath them more. Even as a Bama fan it was hard to watch Brodie Croyle QB for them. Also, they wear pink.
14. Dolphins : Not sure why I don't like the Dolphins. They have that stupid fish with the helmet is my best reason.
15. Panthers : Like I said, I hate poorly run teams and this team has been on the decline for quite a while. I used to root for them a fair bit, but recently that turquoise has been too galling for me to cheer for.
16. Bills : I don't know nothing bout the Bills.
17. 49ers : I still have some residual disdain for the Steve Young era team. I don't really know what to say here. I hate their colors?
18. Broncos : I hated Mike Shanahan and I'm currently filled up to the top with Tebow fatigue. Lord help us if he becomes a star in the league.
19. Chargers : I used to like the Chargers, but Norm has got to be one of the worst game managers in the NFL. Up there with Wade Phillips. Imagine if they had done the hard smart move several years back and cut LT and extend Michael Turner. Yeah, that's the team I want to root for.
20. Vikings : I'm hating the Vikes more and more. Ugh, best move in years was firing their goofball coach.
21. Raiders : I hate badly run teams and that means I hate the Raiders.
22. Browns : I hate the Browns, but I'm starting to feel bad for the Browns. They surprised some people last year, but they easily could've been the proud owners of a 3-29 record the last two years and almost certainly would be that bad if you take out Cribbs. Once the Browns sort things out I'm sure they'll descend in my most hated teams list.
23. Redskins : I hate the Redskins, I hate the dudes in dresses and pigs noses, I hate their unis, I hate their coach. I'm not even sure where it comes from. I just never root for them unless they play one of the below teams.
24. Eagles : As a Braves fan my disdain for the Phillies knows no end and that has carried over to the NFL team. This makes complete sense to me. I hate the Eagles.
25. Cowboys : Normally they'd be a lot lower, but they've been so bad lately it's getting hard to root against them. Nonetheless, I persist in disliking them.
26. Colts : I have the ability to hate Manning. I'm even good at it. I also have an obnoxious buddy that loves the Colts so much that he will not hear one negative thing about them. So we have this back and forth all year long because he hates the Steelers. This has made me hate the Colts more than I normally would, but I can't help my fanhood heart. I hate them.
27. Jets : I hate Sanchez, Rex, Revis, all their receivers, their running backs, but I love to play them because I think the Steelers are built to eat this team alive. I love beating the Jets.
28. Titans : I hate this team. Cortland Finn. has to be one of the most unlovable people in professional sports. I actually like Fisher so I'm glad they fired him so I can take the restraints off my hatred.
29. Packers : My how the liked have fallen. I used to root for the Packers whenever I watched them, but having seen them in the Super Bowl I never realized how much I love that hangdog face of Rodgers and I can't stay Matthews and all their receivers and Raja, and really what a nasty group of people that I will now hate forever.
30. Bengals : I could hate this team for it's colors alone. Tiger stripes? What is this the Arena League? Add in the character issues, the sloppy play, even if they were in another division I couldn't root for them, but especially since they're rivals I have to hate them. I can't imagine how anyone roots for this team.
31. Patriots : I can't stand Brady. Manning at least seems to be a decent guy, but Brady to me is the A-Rod of the NFL. Also I hate cheaters and crybabies and the Pats are both.
32. Ravens : who else could I hate more than the Ravens? I have an enormous amount of respect for the team though. I respect them more than every team on the list except the Steelers in fact. I could even envision being a Ravens fan had I not been blessed by God Almighty to love the good guys. But I hate the Ravens. Ray Lewis most of all, but I still have a reservoir of hate for Suggs, their goofy QB, their WRs, Carr, Ngata, Reed, I could go on. Most of all I hate their coach who has been one of the most overrated coaches the last two years. I'm not saying he's as bad as Norm or Phillips, but he hasn't been nearly as good as people say. His best moves have been to hire former headcoaches to do all the real coaching for him. So I hate the Ravens.