ON THE SIDELINES: Hey look, there goes a bandwagon…
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
This weekend is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. Super Bowl 50 (and yes, it’s written correctly…the NFL abandoned their Roman numerals for this year to avoid using ‘L’…) will pit the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers.
Being a diehard Cheesehead, I’m not really invested either way in this game, and to be honest, I’ll be happy with either team taking our trophy…well, it is named the Lombardi Trophy. It would be nice to see Peyton Manning, the old vet, get another ring, and it would also be nice to see Cam Newton, an overall nice guy, give a few footballs to kids and get his first ring.
That being said, I’m laughing this week at the number of Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos fans popping up. I’m not laughing at the ones that have been rooting for them for years. I’m laughing at the ones that found out they were a team midway through this season or even just last week.
Internet memes make me laugh. I’ve seen two in recent weeks that I thought were particularly funny. One read, “Carolina Panthers fans haven’t been this happy since they were Seattle Seahawks fans last year.”
Another meme, sporting Willy Wonka, stated, “You’re not a bandwagon fan? Then tell me how all of your favorite teams won a championship last year.”
Now, I’m not picking on Panthers fans or Broncos fans. I know some people around here that have been diehard Carolina fans since the team played their first official game on Sept. 3, 1995 in the Georgia Dome against the Falcons. I’m talking about fans that change teams like they change their socks. They only like the Panthers for the same reason they liked the Seahawks last year.
Emory University actually studied the phenomenon of bandwagon fans in the NFL. Last year, they released their findings that the Arizona Cardinals had the most bandwagon fans of any team. Neither the Panthers nor the Broncos made the top ten.
Being a fan is hard. It’s hard to watch your team loose. It’s hard to sit in our homes or at the games and cheer and basically be unable to help. If they fumble, we hurt. If they miss a shot, we hurt. If they lose, we lose. That’s what being a fan is all about – loyalty.
Those of us who are true sports fans understand that, and that’s why we have such a hard time with bandwagon fans. If you like the Broncos, great, but like them every year.
It must be exhausting for bandwagon fans to keep up with who they pull for in which situation. Plus, wouldn’t you save a lot of money on gear (jerseys, hats, sweatshirts, etc.) if you didn’t own jerseys from four NFL and five NBA teams?