Everyone is always giving you reasons why you shouldn’t root for one NFL team or another. It’s all you ever hear. “How could you ever like that team?,” your friend asks when you tell him you think you’re going to stick around at the bar to catch the Jets game. Well, screw that noise. There’s 32 teams in the NFL, and there’s a reason to root for all of them. Except the Patriots. You never root for the Patriots (just kidding, you can, and we’ll tell you how).
Here’s a simple guide on how to root for every team this great league of ours has to offer.
The Steelers may have two key offensive cogs serving suspensions and a quarterback who resembles your dad once he started having an afternoon beer every day, but it’s impossible not to enjoy Antonio Brown. Not only is his route running ability so pristine that it caused one cornerback to exclaim that Brown “tried to kill me, man,” but the Steelers wideout has a personality almost as big as his statline. His hair is a giant Lego block. The paint job on his $300,000 Rolls Royce looks as if he spent two hours customizing it at a garage in Grand Theft Auto. He celebrated a touchdown last season by running full speed at the goalpost and sliding down it like a stripper pole. He has as much fun playing the game as you do watching him, and that’s something to hold dear.
Admit it. You feel sort of bad for Andy Dalton after 2015. He got booed at celebrity softball game in his own city over MLB All-Star Weekend. He was owned by human bag of low-fat popcorn J.J. Watt. Then he went out and had his best season as a pro, only to break his thumb attempting to tackle a defender after throwing an interception, ensuring his playoff win total would remain at a robust zero. Then he lost his offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, as well as two of his major weapons from 2015 in Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. And Marvin Lewis will be his head coach until the day he dies. Prayers up for Andy Dalton, whose plight is worth your sympathy.
Robert Griffin III is objectively weird. He drops premeditated catch phrases at press conferences. He bought an old Passat. He covered his offensive line in Washington with shade. He is openly dating a new girlfriend while not yet divorced from his wife.
Still, the way things ended with the Redskins still feels icky, like we all need a cold shower to wash it off of us. Griffin’s potential resurrection in Cleveland, a franchise desperately in need of its own miracle, would be almost too good to be true, but it would go a long way to helping us forget RG3’s injuries and standoffs with coaches and remember the good times, like when he was setting rookie passing records and taking photos with a bust of his likeness made completely out of Subway sandwiches.
Editor’s note: don’t ever root for the Browns, they will take your happy life and shatter it into a thousand small pieces until you are alone and malnourished and shivering forever.
If you cannot find it within yourself to root for Steve Smith Sr., the 37-year-old wide receiver who was planning on retiring, tore his Achilles and said nah, you know what, let me furiously rehab and play another year, then you are a soulless robot sent here to destroy us. Even in his advanced age, the snarling wideout will still let DBs know he’s eaten their lunch after catching a pass, which in turn raises our testosterone levels as fans and sends us running around our living rooms in a frenzy on Sundays, chucking slices of pizzas at the wall. And really, at the heart of it all, isn’t that what football is all about?