Sports fans can breathe easy.
The seven-month drought from all things professional football known as the NFL offseason is over. And it couldn’t come at a better time.
On behalf of avid NFL fans and wannabe sports gurus everywhere, I can say there is nothing more freeing than watching my favorite team duke it out in the autumn sun while screaming at the TV and criticizing every miscalled blitz package and blocking scheme. It’s like being home.
However, we cannot forget, with an obsessed fan base comes the possibility of turning ourselves away from the world. We create a bubble where it becomes difficult to gain newer, less seasoned fans.
I am not saying that the NFL fan base is not a welcoming one; in fact, we may be the most broad in terms of demographics. But, it is possible that die-hard tendencies could be a turn off to the casual fan.
So, before we delve any deeper into the new season, I would like to provide several tips to the casual fan in hopes of properly acclimating them into the NFL community.
First tip: It is never too late to become a fan.
Football, or any sport, is not a television show or a movie franchise, you can jump into it any time. Don’t let a lack of knowledge scare you away from the sport. Knowledge is gained over time and is not a necessary attribute. So, if you don’t know the difference between zone and man coverage, I wouldn’t sweat it.
Second tip: Stick to a team.
Nobody likes a team hopper or fair weather fan. Others may be opposed to the team you choose (i.e. Vikings and Packers), but they will always respect your devotion.
Third tip: Don’t’ be afraid to get physical.
One of the many perks of being a football fan is the idea that you can stand around a TV to holler at players hundreds of miles away, and not be judged for it. In fact, I would even say it is a custom that football fans be loud and obnoxious, that’s almost half the fun.
Fourth tip: Know your names.
Try and make it a priority to know the names of your team’s starting players. Now don’t think this contradicts my first point about not having to be knowledgeable to the love the sport. Becoming sports smart takes time and effort, but knowing the names of players and coaches requires basic awareness.