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Fan Fight 4: Which team has the best fans?

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  January 30, 2012 03:00 PM

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100fuchs.jpgI've challenged Jeremy Fuchs, site editor for GiantsGab, a leading Giants blog, to a series of debates in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Jeremy is a longtime New York sports fan who is looking forward to the Giants raising the Lombardi trophy one more time against the Pats.


Today's topic: Which team has the most super fans?

Giants Fans AP.jpgJeremy Fuchs says: I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a good amount of Giants game in my time. All are different. The blowouts, well, those are the fun ones. The stands are dancing, and it’s a party. The close ones, well, those are tense. Everyone’s on pins and needles, and knowing the Giants history, expecting them to lose. Giants fans are a realistic fan base. We’ve seen the team fail too often to not expect glory.

But, despite that, Giants fans find a way to keep coming back. My father is a first generation American, so there’s not a long line of football fandom in my family.

But, I learned everything I need to know from him. There’s a picture of me, hanging somewhere in my parents house, that says it all. I’m about 6 months old, if that. He’s holding me. And on my head is a Giants hat.

We’re fans all the way through. Through the lean years after the 2001 Super Bowl, through the Trey Junkin disaster, through the Plaxico mess, we’re still here.

Giants fans know how to suffer. We’ve seen collapses. We’ve seen meltdowns. I had the unique privilege of seeing the game last season where the Giants completely broke down against the Eagles in person. They were up big in the 4th. And then, slowly but surely, the Iggles mounted a comeback, culminating in DeSean Jackson’s walk-off punt return.

It doesn’t get lower than that. You could hear hopes fade into the cool breeze, as, collectively, we breathed out our sighs of discontent. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve felt as a sports fan; and this is coming from a Yankees fan who knows all too well what happened in 2004.

And yet, despite my grievances with the team, despite my disdain for their lackadaisical play, I didn’t go anywhere. If anything, my fandom grew.

Giants fans stick with their team through thick and thin. We don’t go anywhere. We’re working class. We don’t leave at the first sign of trouble, even though they’ve given us plenty of opportunities to do so. We stay. We’re loyal.

Giants fans are smart. We know what the play is and why. We’re critical when it’s appropriate, supportive when it’s necessary.

We understand our limitations, but we’ll support our boys anywhere and everywhere. We’re loyal. And that is what makes the ultimate fan base.

_________________

pats fans globe.jpgObnoxious Boston Fan says: Rooting for the Giants has always been a piece of cake. Patriots fans have dealt with home games at Fenway Park, Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium, Alumni Stadium, Foxboro/Sullivan/Schaefer Stadium, Birmingham, Ala., and San Diego.

Gillette Stadium and all these AFC titles are heaven on turf for anyone who endured some of the lean 40 years or so before Adam Vinatieri's field goal closed out Super Bowl XXXVI after Tom Brady ignored John Madden's plea to settle for overtime. More than 25,000 showed up Sunday just to see the team leave town for Indianapolis.

Patriots' fans are divided by the generations more so than most. Those older than I recall the days at Fenway, Harvard Stadium and elsewhere - where fans could step onto the field and make plays and tickets were printed without stadium locations because the team didn't know that far in advance where they'd be playing. There was no NFL team in Boston after the Braves left town in 1936. The Boston Patriots arrived with AFL in 1960. An entire generation was left at the mercy of the Giants. Far too many gave in. Considering the state of the AFL in those early days, the Patriots remained a bad joke for many of our parents and grandparentsp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Sullivan_(American_football)">Billy's Boys.

For folks like me who came of NFL age in the era of Plunkett, Francis and Vataha, the Patriots were our team. We shunned the fandom of our elders much like the original Patriots revolted against the tyranny of King George III.

The Giants were from New York but just about every game was shoved in our faces on local TV. We were lucky to watch the Pats seven or eight weeks a year because most home games were blacked out. The diehards who fought the traffic and sat on those steel back-less benches were rewarded with historically bad plays, poor personnel decisions and frustrating early exits in the playoffs. Even New England's first Super Bowl appearance went from 3-0 to 46-3 (eventually 46-10) in the flash of a Richard Dent sack.

New York fans have a choice between the Jets and Giants. For years, the Patriots were a hard choice to make when it came to picking a favorite team. The Cowboys and Steelers were tempting, but we never caved. The core of Patriots Nation, and eventually their offspring, grew steadily grew over the years.

Once Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe arrived, being a Patriots' fan became somewhat joyful. Those teams were good but never quite good enough. You can't fault people for when they were born. Patriots' fans under 25 have enjoyed a lifetime memory of amazing success. And those lucky enough not to remember even the Victor Kiam era, the Hartford Patriots or Coach Pete Carroll were living the charmed life until Super Bowl XLII.

But that loss baptized the current generation of fans. The pain wrought by decades of futility and frustration that their ancestors enjoyed was matched by the horror caused by that nightmare in Glendale. There are no more "fair-weather" Patriots fans post-Asante Samuel/David Tyree/Plax. And whatever passion that might be missing at times in the stands at Gillette is dwarfed by real emotion felt by the millions who follow this team across the country.

To put it simply: Patriot Nation rules.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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