Nathan Hards is The Rookie Fan, a newbie to the NFL. RealSport will be following Nathan as he makes the most difficult decision any rookie NFL fan has to make – which team to support! NB: In order to be “fair” to all teams, Nathan is generally only looking at teams’ success since 2002, when the Texans joined the league Welcome to the fourth, and final Article on the AFC regional divisions. We’re heading down south to see how they do things at that end of the league. Who will come out on top?
The Colts have been around since the 50s, and have some good results historically, with a Super Bowl in the last fifteen years, alongside a couple of Divisional trophies. If you’re looking for a reasonable team to support, who have proved capable, but aren’t winning everything right now, then these guys may well be the team for you. Here’s the reason they aren’t winning everything right now. They’ve had a terrible start to the season. They’re top, but top of a bad field. They have some issues on the field in both defence, and offense, which they hide behind a half decent quarterback. The problem is, he’s now injured. So the Colts are going to have to resolve those issues soon, or you’re going to be looking at being left out of the postseason dance.
Now we reach the reason that all of the stats only go back to 2002. The Houston Texans, youngest team in the NFL. Home of JJ Watt! JJ Watt sells t-shirts, he is a machine, that man is inspirational on and off the field. If you’re looking for the celebrity hook, and bragging rights when it comes to defence, then this is the way to go. JJ Watt! JJ Watt! Unfortunately, one player doesn’t make a whole team, and when you’ve got 52 other players on the roster, and the coaches making the calls from the side-lines, you’re going to get issues that are unrelated to JJ Watt’s impressive performance. The Texans have started at 4 for 5, and shouldn’t be there, but the play calls being made this season seem to be highlighting all of their weaknesses, and their opponents are capitalising on this. If you’re looking for a mid-performing team to get behind, but don’t want a lot of historic research to do, the Texans may be the team for you.
The Jaguars are an underdog team. These are the guys that you support because you want to get behind a team, and feel part of something that can grow. The locals support the Jaguars, and are passionate in supporting the Jacksonville residents. Historically, they have shown that they are capable of upsetting the apple cart, and pulling out surprise wins. These guys are not going to give you glory any time soon, but I guess the only way is up! The Jaguars are getting destroyed this season. Like most teams in the AFC South this season, they just can’t seem to hold water, and get into a rhythm. They are 3-6 halfway through the season, and it’s not looking like the second half of the line-up is going to do them any favours. The Jaguars are going to have to do a hell of a lot of work to pull themselves back into a shot at the division this season.
Finally we get to the bottom of the pile. Nashville supports the Titans, unquestionably. These guys are Tennessee, through and through. Hard to the end, and willing to push right up to the last. With a history going back to the 60s, and one divisional title under their belt, the Titans are a reasonable team to back when it comes down to it. They’re not chucking out Super Bowl titles like the Patriots, but they’re hard working. They have to be hard working. 2 for 7, and one divisional title in fifteen years. The Titans are on terrible form at the moment. With a reasonable quarterback, that could throw passes if he ever got three seconds, and a defence that leaves massive gaps for their opponents to run through in the fourth quarter, the Nashville residents are looking absolutely terrible in the first half of the season. It’s hard to see them turning it around any time soon. So who wins? This is genuinely one of the hardest calls that I have made so far. Not because it’s hard to pick which one is best, in fact it’s the opposite. The AFC South looks terrible this season, and none of the teams really shine for me at all. Unfortunately, I have to make a call on who to put through to the Conference playoff. The Texans are ok, but you can’t rely on one player, no matter how good they are. Celebrity isn’t enough to draw me on that one. The Jaguars are just plain uninteresting to me, and I can’t see them doing anything that would excite me. The Titans, I just can’t. They’re terrible. It’s going to be the Colts. They’re the only team that really stands out in this division for me, and hopefully they can start improving now they can’t rely heavily on their quarterback to cover up their weaknesses. So the AFC lines up as follows: Bills – Steelers – Raiders – Colts I’ll come back to that after I’ve completed the NFC. Next article we drop straight into NFC South, with Atlanta, New Orleans, Carolina and Tampa Bay all facing off for the first spot in the conference. See you there!