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Who is "The Average Sports Fan"?


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Is there any such thing as the “Average Fan” of a pro football team? Or any sports team for that matter. We are constantly reminded of the position of the average fan by sports reporters in print, online and on television, but does this archetype of the sports arena really exist. We are told again and again what the average fan thinks of T.O.’s antics. We are asked to consider what the average fan thinks of the salary cap, or owner extravagances. Who among you, oh fellow sports fans would consider themselves at all average.

Get on any sports team’s online forum and you will see a group as diverse as the flavor’s in the freezer of a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream shop. The various personalities that appear on these forums is unpredictable and depending on what the team is doing from one week to the next, one may go from one personality archetype to the next as if a sports chameleon.

This article is an attempt to overthrow the notion that there is any such thing as the “Average Football Fan” by taking a closer look at the types of people who frequent online NFL Team forums. Consider these archetypes if you will.

First, “Eternal Optimist Guy” (EOG) aka “The Cheerleader” No matter how bad the team is doing, this guy is there to give you the good in the situation. Common phrases include: “We are not out of it until we are mathematically out.” “If we win the next three, and the division leader loses, then voila!” and of course, “This is the year we go all the way.”

EOG’s position on the T.O. situation: “I wouldn’t necessarily want him on my team, but I am sure our coach could control him and our team wouldn’t put up with his antics in the locker room. I am sure he would want to play for us.”

And then EOG’s arch-nemesis, “Eternal Pessimist Guy” (EPG): No matter how good the team is doing, this guy is there to tear down your palace. Common Phrases include: “Every year around this time is when we start to go south.” And, “It doesn’t matter how good we play, the refs are always going to screw us in the end.” Most phrases start with, “I just can’t understand why…”

Position on T.O.: “May as well bring him onto our team, we’re doomed either way.”

Then there is “Angry Guy” (AG). This fan is always angry. If his team loses he gets angry at the players and the coaches and even at the announcers and reporters. Everyone in the NFL is his natural enemy when there is a fresh “L” on the books. Conversely, even if his team wins he finds something to be angry about. Usually, the power rankings get the bulk of his wrath. Common Phrases: “Did you see where Prisco has us this week, that f*****n crackpot? He couldn’t write his way out of a paper bag.” And, there is the ever popular, if not, controversial forum response to the EOG after a Sunday Loss. “What are you a moron? Do you actually believe that?” Angry guy loves to pick on the EOG, but he does not discriminate. If he feels optimistic, the EPG might just as easily get his wrath. “How dare you say that about my team, I should you put your giblets in a meat shredder.”

Position on T.O.: “Throw him out of the game. Let him talk some trash to me. And what’s with Rosenhaus, that Friggin’ putz.”

The “Realist Guy” (RG) is probably as close as it comes to average, but he is like the wind and can’t be attributed to any one fan for more than game at a time. He appears on the forum to provide perspective. He values other’s opinions and draws the good out of both sides of the Optimist-Pessimist argument. Common Phrases, “It looks good, but we are not out of the woods just yet.” Or, “The running game was on fire, but the passing has got to more accurate and the defense must step it up, before we can be a championship team.”

RG is down to earth on win days and cautiously optimistic when his team loses. But, I say to you he is teetering on the edge at all times. One more loss and he could easily become, EPG or AG. One more win and suddenly he is EOG.

RG’s position on T.O.: “The Eagle’s are right to let him go, but don’t kid yourself. He will be on another team, maybe this year, maybe next. There is always someone willing to hire a mercenary.”

Then there is the “Weasel” The fan from another team, usually the rival or possibly just this week’s opponent, who has found his way on to your team’s web forum only to harass and generally disturb the peace in any way possible. His natural enemy is the moderator.

These are all gross generalizations. As I said at the beginning, these are archetypes and one fan may possess all of these attributes in any given season or on any given Sunday. The point is that there is nothing average about the “Average NFL fan.” Each fan is diverse and complicated and does not need a justified reason to have or to hold his opinion about this sport which he is so passionate about. None of these archetypes is truly reasonable, because no fan can stay a realist all the way through an entire season. If they could, there would be nothing to love about football season. So, this year on Thanksgiving I say to you oh Redskins fans. Let us give thanks to the football God’s that we get to watch Denver @ Dallas. And no matter what the outcome (perhaps, Dallas losing by 16) we shall maintain a spirit of camaraderie, that we are all fans of the greatest sport and the greatest team (Good or bad) in the entire world.

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