We all have hobbies. Some people like to spend their free time gardening, for example. Others may like to head to the gym or take a long stroll on the beach. In most cases, the things we do outside of work and school give us reason to persevere through the rigors of everyday life.
Kids can dress up in costumes in public and nobody will think twice about it. If an adult does it, though, it’s a bit weird. Of course, there are two notable exceptions: Halloween and NFL games.
There are fans of all sports, but NFL fans seem to go the extra mile when it comes to game day. Some fanbases are more rabid, dedicated, and crazier than others. Which are the best NFL fanbases of all? We’re glad you asked.
10. Seattle Seahawks
There aren’t many NFL franchises that have enjoyed more consistent success than the Seattle Seahawks over the past decade. Seattle won a Super Bowl in 2015 and came awfully close to repeating a year later. Two of the franchise’s three all-time appearances in the NFL’s title game have come over the past decade.
Unfortunately, a few lean years may be ahead. The Seahawks traded franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos this offseason, and the Legion of Boom has long since vanished. Between Marshawn Lynch’s legendary playoff rumble against the Saints and Wilson’s disastrous interception on the goal line against New England in Super Bowl 49, Seahawks fans have been on quite a rollercoaster ride in recent years.
We’ll see how loyal these fans are if the team starts to struggle in the coming seasons, but this has become one of the league’s most loyal fanbases in recent seasons. The Seahawks have ripped the “12th Man” moniker away from Texas A&M, and you’ll still see plenty of fans milling around town with their dweeby “Fan” No. 12 jerseys.
If you’re a big enough fan to actually wear that embarrassing article in public, you probably belong on the list of best NFL fanbases.
9. Denver Broncos
The Seahawks’ loss is the Broncos’ gain. Denver has been a wayward franchise since Peyton Manning retired after Super Bowl 50. The Broncos have endured five losing seasons in the six years since Manning called it quits, which is quite a drought for one of the NFL’s most successful franchises.
Regardless of the team’s on-field quality, the Broncos routinely rank among the league leaders in attendance. Denver finished third in the league in average attendance last season, drawing 76,236 fans per game to their eight home games. That put them well ahead of the New York Giants, who ranked a distant fourth with just under 74,000 fans per game.
With Wilson now in the mix, it’s safe to assume the Broncos will get back to their winning ways as soon as this season.
8. Chicago Bears
The Bears are yet another marquee NFL franchise going through a rough patch. Since appearing in the Super Bowl back in 2006, Chicago has made the playoffs just three times with just a pair of division titles.
In spite of it all, the Bears are another team that routinely draws well. Attendance thins out a bit when things get dreary, but there is reason for optimism moving forward. The Bears hope to have found their QB of the future in Justin Fields, while unpopular head coach Matt Nagy was fired and replaced with Matt Eberflus this offseason.
The Bears’ next Super Bowl title will be their first since 1985. That’s one of the longest droughts in the entire league, but Chicago has a well-earned reputation as one of America’s finest sports cities for a reason.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia sports fans have a certain reputation, but it’s hard to say they haven’t earned it. Eagles fans are no exception, of course. Several years ago, Eagles fans notoriously booed Santa Claus. Santa Claus! C’mon!
Additionally, also cheered when Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin lay motionless on the field after a scary hit during a game back in 1999. Around the same time, nearby Phillies fans also infamously threw batteries at Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew after Drew decided against signing with the Phillies several years prior.
That’s a series of poor decisions, of course, but the passion is absolutely undeniable. Lincoln Financial Field – a name that just rolls off the tongue – is a tough place to play for visitors every single week. Plus, some of them dress like this, which adds legitimacy to the Eagles’ case among the best NFL fanbases.
Their fandom was finally rewarded a couple of years ago, when the Eagles won the Super Bowl for the very first time.
6. New England Patriots
Boston sports fans are easily the most spoiled of the 21st century. All of the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins have won championships since the year 2000. This is the only city in America that can brag about such a thing.
The Patriots, of course, have been the winningest team of the bunch. Thanks to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Pats have won a whopping six Super Bowls since 2001, with a whopping nine AFC championships in the same span. Brady’s the greatest player in the history of the sport, while Belichick likely ranks comparably on the all-time coaching ladder.
Boston sports fans may be obnoxious, but they’re dedicated and they show up. Success will likely be a bit more elusive for the Patriots now that the ageless Brady is plying his craft in the Sunshine State with the Buccaneers, but New England’s fans are now well-established as some of the most loyal NFL fans of all.
The Patriots have also sold out every single home game since 1994 (including preseason!), so it’s not like a ton of their fanbase hopped on board when they started winning titles.
5. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have done more moving than any other American pro sports franchise over the past couple of decades. Since their founding in 1960, the Raiders have moved from Oakland to Los Angeles, back to Oakland, and then to Las Vegas. The team has called Sin City home since 2020.
In spite of the constant movement, Raiders fans have stood by their beloved team. The city of Los Angeles is now home to two other franchises – including the reigning Super Bowl champions – but the Raiders are still the most popular NFL team among Angelenos by a country mile. Many fans in the Bay Area, who are no strangers to losing teams, have also stood by the Raiders despite their recent departure. These are some of the most loyal sports fans of all.
Needless to say, they’ve built up quite a new fanbase since moving to Las Vegas, as well. Allegiant Stadium is one of the league’s crown jewels, and fans from all over the league are happy to use the city’s new NFL team as an excuse to make the weekend jaunt to Vegas in the fall.
You can’t have a list of the most loyal NFL fans without these guys:
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are one of the most decorated franchises in the NFL, so it’s no surprise that they possess a rabid fanbase. Pittsburgh sports fans are fiercely loyal, and they have reaped the benefits with championships in football, baseball, and hockey within the last 30 years.
The Steelers are tied with the Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles in the history of the league, with six. However, change is in the air. Ben Roethlisberger will not be the team’s starting quarterback in 2022, which means the Steelers will have a new QB1 for the first time in nearly 20 years. Big Ben led the team to a couple of championships during his legendary career, and the team’s brass hopes Pitt product Kenny Pickett will eventually pick up where he left off.
The Steelers have sold out every home game for the last 22 seasons and counting, not including 2020, of course. This team has done so much winning over the years that it’s only a matter of time until they get back to the top of the AFC.
3. Dallas Cowboys
The next Super Bowl win for the Cowboys will tie them with the Steelers and Patriots for the most ever. Unfortunately, Dallas hasn’t come particularly close to doing so since their last title back in 1995. Jerry Jones seemingly did a deal with the devil back then, as “America’s Team” has just three playoff wins since that last championship nearly 30 years ago.
The Cowboys, however, still rank first in the NFL in attendance every single season. You will find a huge swath of Cowboys fans at every single Dallas road game, as well, which is a testament to the legendary franchise’s nationwide popularity. America’s Team, indeed.
Last year, Dallas drew an average of 93,421 fans per game, which led the league by a huge 14,000 margin over the second-ranked Packers. AT&T Stadium is easily the biggest in the NFL in terms of capacity, however, so the ‘Boys do have a bit of an advantage in that regard.
2. Buffalo Bills
The Bills will likely open the 2022 season as the betting favorites to win Super Bowl 57. Needless to say, it’s been a long time coming. Bills fans have endured countless lean years since the last of their four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl back in 1993. They lost every single one of those Super Bowls, of course.
Regardless, Bills fans have garnered quite a reputation over the years. Every single week, you’ll see videos on social media of #BillsMafia’s parking lot antics. Their most popular practice, in case you didn’t know, is jumping off of something and crashing through a table. I don’t know why this is the case or how this tradition began, but it sure is a good time.
Never change, Bills Mafia.
1. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is the smallest market in the US that’s home to a professional sports team, but the Packer fanbase extends far beyond the tiny city limits of Green Bay. The Packers ranked second behind the Cowboys in average home attendance, yet the waiting list for season tickets at Lambeau Field is incredibly long. There are well over 100,000 names already on that list, so you’d better hurry if you plan to get Packer season tickets at some point during your lifetime.
Last season, the Packers packed an average of 77,991 fans into their nine games at Lambeau Field. Only the Cowboys drew more on a weekly basis.
The Packers have won more titles than any team in the NFL with 13, though that includes the pre-Super Bowl era. Green Bay has gone 4-1 in Super Bowls all-time, with their most recent victory coming in Super Bowl 45 at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2010.
These people are willing to sit in sub-zero temperatures just to get a glimpse of their beloved team. The Packers are also the only publicly-owned major sports franchise in this country. Even you can buy a tiny part of the team if you want to.
While all 32 teams can make a claim, there are only a few that can truly vie for the title of the best NFL fanbase. The Packers, Cowboys, Bills, and Steelers may top the list this year, but lists like this one are always subject to change.
The list is also subjective, of course. If your favorite NFL team’s fanbase didn’t make the cut, there’s always next year.