The NFL season is almost upon us, which is exciting, but the yin to this yang is that it also marks the end of summer. While many of us cannot wait for the NFL season to start, at the same time I could wait a few more months if it meant extending summer and preventing those stupid back to school commercials. Not for me, for the little ones whose hearts are tormented at every commercial break. I digress. One thing about the NFL is that team allegiances run deep, very deep, and fans will follow their team to the bitter end if need be.
People are life long fans of certain teams because their family are fans of a particular team, you live in the city or region of a particular team or maybe your friends forced you to like a specific team. One thing is for sure; every NFL team has a large fan base and sometimes it is really obvious what state you are in and who they are cheering for. That of course is in the USA but how about in Canada? Is there one team that the whole country cheers for?
Some people would say that the team is Buffalo because they play a game in Toronto each season. Others would say it is old teams such as the Raiders, Packers and Cowboys. Some say it is a bandwagon country that cheers for teams like the Colts, Broncos and Patriots but change their allegiance when they get bored. I say there is no specific team that Canadians as a collective group cheer for, meaning there are a lot of different teams to be cheered for in Canada.
Just as an example I am a Cincinnati Bengals fan, I have been a fan of the team since I was in high school. I do not live anywhere near Ohio or in the states for that matter, but I am a fan of the Cincy Bengals (the jungle) and I am proud of it. That is one team though. My girlfriend is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons and has been one for a couple of years now because of how they play and she wears her Falcons gear with pride. A friend of mine has been a Philadelphia Eagles fan probably a bit longer than I have been a Bengals fan. I have another friend who is a San Diego Chargers fan, another who is a New York Jets fan, a few who are New England Patriot fans, two cousins who are die-hard Oakland Raider fans and an uncle who is a Dallas Cowboys fan. The list goes on and on.
Some of the teams mentioned are obvious choices like the Cowboys and Patriots. National exposure of the Cowboys is constant and living on the eastern side of North American has the Patriots, Jets, Giants and Steelers shown a lot of TV here, but Central Canada (Vikings, Bears) and Western Canada (49ers, Seahawks, Raiders) will usually get games that are closer to those regions and see less north eastern teams than I do.
So how come there is not one or two major teams that Canadians cheer for? Well today with the NFL network, NFL Sunday Ticket and digital cable in general it has made it much easier to get coverage of many different teams. Last year alone I got to watch the Bengals play at least 10 times and that is not including the playoffs. It is fantastic for Canadian NFL fans to watch their own team without having to change allegiances to closer “regional teams,” which for the majority of Canadians makes the NFL even more fun.
The only complaint I have is that it is a lot harder to get merchandise and specific NFL team products here because there are just so many teams that people cheer for. This can easily be changed as retail stores should order a lot more NFL products to meet demand or the NFL should open more NFL shops across the country making it easier to buy more items. That is one small complaint. Funny enough the NFL does not need Canadian NFL fans money because of the popularity in the states, but they will never complain about the amount of NFL fans that are north of the border.
The NFL has done such a good job at promoting its product and has many of their teams cheered for in Canada that it makes it a lot more fun and way more interesting that cheering for just one or two teams. The NFL needs to seize the moment and continue their effort in Canada to get more fans but that will not be so hard. Now I just have to sit and wait to watch the NFL and the Bengals play in September, although I would be happy with 2-3 more months of summer!
Thanks for reading I would be really happy to know what your favorite NFL team is does not matter where you are from. Just let us know which team you like the most!
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