I’ve been pondering this post for awhile. Ever since I declared my allegiance to the NY Jets last year, I’ve scoured blogs and news agencies to find out the latest about the Jets, their players, coaches, and entire organization. That’s what happens when one adopts a team to root for.
I chose the Jets because they were the perennial underdogs of the city (along with a few other reasons I outlined), and I liked that they were sort of an afterthought team in NYC, considering the NY Giants have had more success over the years.
But then last year happened.
The Jets were featured on Hard Knocks of HBO, and although I’ve never watched the show, apparently they gained widespread popularity for their fun-loving and brash style, most prominently typified in Rex Ryan, the Jets coach.
I actually love Rex Ryan as a coach. He seems like the kind of coach that players love to play for, and this is corroborated in many polls and interviews of players around the NFL.
But there was something about the growing popularity of the Jets that felt unsettling for me, especially as the Jets were trending up as I jumped on the bandwagon. I felt like I was simply a front-runner, just another person amongst the growing legion of Jet fans.
In addition, the Jets liked to talk trash, and spoke confidently of Super Bowls and such. Mark Sanchez was gracing the covers of GQ magazine, and the NY hype machine got behind the Jets as Rex and crew got more coverage than the normal team on Sports Center.
And what’s crazy is that the Jets backed it up! When they beat the Pats to reach the AFC championship game for the second straight year, I was overjoyed (I later realized it wasn’t so much because I love the Jets, but more so because I can’t stand to see the Pats win).
Anyhow, while watching the AFC and NFC championship games a week later, a thought occurred to me:
If the Green Bay Packers were to play the NY Jets in the Super Bowl, I would root for the Packers.
By definition, that means the Jets aren’t really my team.
I was rooting for the Packers, I realized, because I’m a HUGE Aaron Rodgers fan. There were so many things for me to like about A-Rod (Christian, unheralded JC recruit who becomes one of the best Cal players ever, the green room torture of his draft day, sitting behind Brett Favre for three years, acting with class while the whole Favre saga continued, and actually delivering as an elite clutch quarterback despite replacing a legend). I wanted so badly for the Packers to win because of him (and I generally really liked everyone from the coaching staff to the players to everyone I’ve met from the great state of Wisconsin).
So before the Super Bowl, I realized that the Packers are the team I root for the most.
Even this year, the Packers are the team I’m hoping to win the Super Bowl.
I know, I can’t possibly call them my team, because as shameless as it was for me to jump on the Jets bandwagon last year, I’d like to think that I have some semblance of integrity as a sports fan.
So instead, I’ll tell you that I’m jumping off the Jets bandwagon for now (although I still root for them against almost every team).
I’m not adopting another team just yet. I’m just going to keep rooting for my favorite players and their teams (By my favorite players, you’ll notice that I’m first and foremost a Cal fan).
1. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers
2. Jahvid Best and the Detroit Lions (Best is one of my favorite former Cal players)
By being a fan this way, I’ve broken the rule of rooting for two teams in the same division.
But at least I’m not a bandwagon fan.