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!
Part two of the series, and we’re off to the AFC north, where two teams from Ohio face off against each other. Let’s dive straight in with the first one.
Stripes! Orange tiger stripes! That’s some real branding there! You can absolutely guarantee that you’ll get some great shirts, and some fantastic branded gear from the Bengals. If you like orange tiger stripes, you’re set. Unfortunately, like the kinds of people that wear tiger stripes and leopard print, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. The Bengals are generally a disappointment once they reach the playoffs, if they reach them at all. They’ve put nothing in the cupboard in fifteen years, so get used to getting a ribbing, because they’re far from ‘grrrreeat’. (Sorry)
Opposite end of the spectrum here. The Steelers have had a great run in the last fifteen years, pulling out two Super Bowl victories in that time. They’ve got a solid form of aggressive play, and they can get results against some big names. That being said, they don’t like losing, and they have gained themselves a reputation recently of being sore losers. Expect a lot of excuses coming out on the headlines if you lose a game, and that means you’ll have to swallow the abuse that comes with ropey excuses.
One of the younger teams in the NFL with some solid branding. Predictable iconography for Baltimore, but if it ain’t broke… The Ravens have had some results since their creation in ’96, and have put up a Super Bowl win in the last fifteen years, so they have shown their worth. However, the Ravens are boring. Don’t get me wrong, they win games, and they get results. They’re still boring. Their play style has very little room for flair or surprise, they get results through careful planning, and solid tactics. This just doesn’t equate to an exciting field presence.
Back to Ohio to finish off. The Browns are one of the older teams in the league, and have a real solid history. Their results in the last 15 years have put no silverware on the shelf, which means that nobody will accuse you of jumping on any bandwagons. This is a great team to support if you don’t want any drama. This is because they are probably one of the least interesting teams in the NFL. They have plodded their way to nothing in the last 15 years. With the exception of a streak of Championships (pre-Super Bowl finals) at the very beginning of their history in the 40’s and 50’s, the Browns just can’t seem to get a break. Don’t expect to be running round the lounge very often. So, who goes through? Who gets to go up against the winners of the other divisions in the next round? It’s got to be the Steelers. I’m sorry to the other teams, but aside from history and branding, there really isn’t much in it for the other three. Besides, sometimes it’s fun to see the tissue thin excuses that the front office can throw out after a Steelers loss. In the next article, I’ll be covering AFC West. California, Colorado, and Missouri. See you there!