It is no secret that Americans are sports-mad. And regardless of whether it is football, soccer, basketball, or even ultimate frisbee, Americans have a natural tendency to passionately follow whatever sport they happen to be watching. This is particularly true when it comes to expressing a sense of hometown pride.
Of the various sports played across the US, however, it is arguably American football that seems to attract the most insanity from fans. And regardless of whether they are getting up to pre-game shenanigans or making their coveted Super Bowl Predictions, American football fans are known for taking fandom to the next level!
This sporting fanaticism is intensified by the sense of hometown pride that so many football fans express⎯sporting success is closely linked to a sense of regional identity and local pride. This has been confirmed by social psychology theory and academic research, which has found that expressing team loyalty through exuberant displays and dressing up is a way of experiencing social solidarity.
However, out of the fifty states in the US where football is played, which states have the biggest, most loyal, or most fanatical fans?
Despite rarely featuring in the lists of the most desirable states to live in, Ohio is home to what many would argue are the most fanatical sports fans in the country.
Although both the basketball and baseball teams have a notoriously committed fanbase, it is arguably the football team that Ohioans care the most about.
The Cleveland Browns are incredibly popular across Ohio⎯this popularity persisted even between the mid-1950s and early-1980s when they hadn’t experienced much success. And since then, the Clevelanders have remained unfailingly committed to the Browns.
This proved true even during the frustrating 1980s when the Browns came painfully close to securing a Super Bowl win on four occasions.
Browns fans are known for their passionate displays both on and off the pitch, which have even included throwing batteries, beer bottles, and dog bones onto the field to protest bad calls.
Although they might have moved on from this behavior, which was rife in the 1980s, their fanaticism has not waned. And if we want to be anywhere on game days, it is experiencing the insanity of the all-day tailgating sessions outside the Browns’ home stadium!
Given that the Seattle Mariners haven’t exactly seen much sporting success over the years, in addition to the departure of the SuperSonics decades ago, it is perhaps quite a surprise that Washington—and the Seattle Seahawks in particular—have developed such a loyal fanbase.
In fact, Washingtonians are so football-mad that the Seahawks have even referred to their thousands of loyal fans as the ‘12th man’ whenever they play a game.
The football fanaticism present across Washington has only intensified in recent years, as the Seattle Seahawks have experienced more and more on-pitch success. This hit its peak in 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks put up a dominant performance against the Denver Broncos—finishing up with a score of 43−8—which gave the mighty Washingtonians their first Super Bowl Championship.
Since then, Seahawks fans have proved themselves incredibly loyal, if not a little bit insane at times!
In terms of the states with the biggest sporting pedigrees, there are, arguably, few that come close to Texas.
The Lonestar State is blessed with a range of different professional sports teams to choose from, including NBA teams such as the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets, and the San Antonio Spurs. This is in addition to excellent NHL teams and two MLB teams—with the Astros just recently having won the world series.
Despite the presence of these other high-level sports teams, however, at heart, Texas is a football state. Not only do they have two NFL teams—the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys—they also produce some of the best college and high school football athletes, many of whom go on to dominate the NFL.
Although the Dallas Cowboys are one of the most popular NFL teams in the US, the love for football in Texas runs much deeper. Fridays and Saturdays are dedicated to high school and college football, respectively, whilst Sundays are reserved for Pro Bowl.
Regardless of what level it is played at, however, football is treated with the same reverence as religion is in the Lonestar State. In this regard, football is as much a lifestyle as it is a sport to be watched and enjoyed. For this reason, Texan sports fans are far more intense than those you would find in other big sporting states, like New York City!