Only four fan bases have the privilege of having their championship dreams alive – and good for them. What about the rest of us rubes who don’t have a dog in the fight? Who should we root for? Which bandwagon should we jump on?
And once on them, how do we assimilate quickly in order to feel like one of the real supporters?
Don’t worry. We’ve got answers for you.
New England Patriots
Overview: This one’s pretty easy. The traits of an unbearable Masshole are well-known throughout the Western world. Joining this eclectic group all but assures immediate and widespread hatred from anyone in your life. Is Tom Brady’s dreamy and masterful precision really worth that to you?
How to Do It: Cut off the sleeves of your rattiest hoodie, adopt a strict accent and go around convincing everybody that this team doesn’t need Rob Gronkowski to reach the Promised Land. Start calling yourself Sully and brush up on all the nomenclature endemic to sheetrock-hanging.
How to Heckle the Competition: Bring up Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff as much as humanly possible. Gently suggest Ray Lewis may have been involved in a murder and that he dances like a girl.
What to Brag About: Success, man. The Patriots are fucking unstoppable. Until late in the Super Bowl, of course.
Overview: Getting behind this team would almost be a civil service. They’re a team in desperate need of love and you could give it to them. YOU!
How to Do It: First, convince yourself once and for all that Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. Evangelize to everyone you come into contact with that his name belongs alongside Brady’s and Peyton Manning’s. Yell like a possessed Lewis every time something beneficial happens to Charm City’s gang.
How to Heckle the Competition: Bring up the time the Patriots let Steven Tyler sing the National Anthem. Holy shit, that was awful. Point out Wes Welker’s inability to catch big passes. Make fun of Uggs. List the numerous plot holes in “The Town.”
What to Brag About: Flacco-to-Jacoby Jones. How good “The Wire” was. How many crustacean species the Chesapeake Bay can nurture.
Overview: Do you like being disappointed? If so, then this is the team for you. Noted underachievers, the Falcons managed to not lose last weekend and have home-field advantage this Sunday. They are still the underdogs.
How to Do It: Play the “no respect” card. Channel your inner Rodney Dangerfield and decry the haters. Convince others that Mike Smith is actually a coach and not a fleshy robot. Compliment Michael Turner’s magnificently robust thighs.
How to Heckle the Competition: Point out the fact that Jim Harbaugh is a GIANT dick. Insist Colin Kaepernick is a no-talent thug with too many tattoos. Argue that 49ers fans are giant pussies and they can’t fight. Question what was REALLY going on in “Full House.”
What to Brag About: Uhhhh … actually, you shouldn’t get too cocky. You’d probably have to eat any words that find their way out of your mouth.
San Francisco 49ers
Overview: Badass uniforms, a dynamic quarterback and a stifling defense make the Niners very attractive – like that A-and-Down play in Tecmo Bowl. Plus, who can resist rooting for Randy Moss?
How to Do It: Get into Kaepernicking. Bust out your old Joe Montana jersey. Be needlessly aggressive toward anyone who rubs you the wrong way. Shove people whilst shaking hands.
How to Heckle the Competition: Unnecessary. Atlanta doesn’t need any help in the self-loathing department.
What to Brag About: So much. First and foremost, Harbaugh’s incredibly prescient decision to bench Alex Smith. HUGE BALLS. Frank Gore’s fashion sense. And most importantly, that you’re going to win.