I enjoy being a fan. Basically, it boils down to an excuse to really get excited about something without having to apologize for yelling or simply, for a shut in like myself, an opportunity to be a part of a social group. While I cheer, take a minimal vested emotional interest in the outcome, and feel genuinely happy to see certain players finding success in their craft/profession, I also know the NFL is a business first and truly epitomizes all the evils that this entails. I’m a fan who is fortunate enough to like pretty much the entire roster, coaching staff, and GM of my local team — I still wouldn’t fucking spit on a Bidwill if their eyebrows were on fire, regardless of how many titles they bring to taxpayer-funded/subsidized Fake College Stadium. In short, I’ve never understood the motivation of being a topless dude in a blizzard screaming for my team.
I’m well beyond my days of getting in fights/almost getting in fights in the stands but still young enough to only use the in-stadium security text number to report “the guys in the black and white are assaulting the integrity of the game. Send someone to detain them immediately.” To which the response is always a warning to not abuse the system. So, with this experience in mind, please allow me to explain how to look the look when you head down to the stadium to fan it up and ‘Be a Part of the Action: Brought to you by Super Beta Prostate’.
This is your Official Game Day Fan Apparel Hierarchy Thread.
(1) Active Player Jersey (Blank jersey acceptable at MLB/NHL games)
Also acceptable: retired player being honored at the game you are attending; personalized jersey that is funny.
Preference for active player jerseys goes to matching the team’s color, obviously, but you will see many fans in throwback gear (as is the style of time) or, for some reason, Pro Bowl jerseys of their favorite players. I’m hot and cold on Pro Bowl jerseys. It’s a bargain that they can be worn as your favorite player floats around the league, however, you sit in the stands at FedEx field in a gray and neon green Alfred Morris jersey, you’re gonna kind of break of the maroon/yellow/pig nose theme of the place.
As a rule of thumb, the quality of the gear is negligible, just make sure it’s a jersey the player wears at some point. This is pretty easy to avoid at NFL games because the knock off jerseys still look pretty authentic (screen printed letters instead of embroidered — whatever man, it’s all good) but the shit that KMart and Walgreens pass off as ‘practice gear’ is atrocious. Colors/logos/designs you’d never fucking see are somehow produced, stocked, and sold. Don’t buy that shit. Don’t wear that shit.
Remember, this shit isn’t Oregon Football, NFL teams only have three uniforms. It shouldn’t take that long to spot the fakes. Try to spot the real jersey in the photos below:
One bit of warning when investigating your NFL active player jersey. The morning after the Cardinals Super Bowl XLIII loss, I arrived at work to find that I had won the final jackpot in our office Squares
gambling game of skill when Raperburger hit Santana Homes for the go ahead TD with 35 seconds left. I took my $300 payout and swore to reinvest it in the team (I was surprisingly depressed for like the whole week after the Super Bowl) and went out and bought a legit, what-the-players-wear, game day Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie home jersey. That jersey was dope as shit to be wearing at the bar on Sundays because DRC epitomizes a hot/cold player. I remember wearing it the night Peyton Manning just embarrassed him, including getting DRC to bite on a quick screen fake that ended up going over his head for an 80 yard TD. It was a brutal evening but that’s why I get to post on Facebook about being a ‘True Fan’.
Anyways, he was shipped off when the front office decided to bring Kevin Kolb to town (thank goodness Chip Kelly wasn’t the coach then, who knows what the price would have been to give the Eagles another negro defensive player for a white quarterback) so I ended up getting only about two years out of my jersey. So let this be a lesson to those of you investing in a player jersey — get someone the team won’t let go.
(2) Inactive Player Jersey
Per my DRC story, these jerseys are fucking expensive. If you laid out $200 for an Eagles Tim Tebow jersey, go ahead and wear that thing on game day. In fact, Tebow may even fall in the ‘funny’ loophole above, depending on if you wear it with a sense of humor versus a personal protest against America’s attack on CWW (Christians Who Win). Not sure? Check to see if you are wearing a Young Life hat with your Tebow threads.
Still, have a little discretion. If your player left on bad terms, was hated by fans, is playing against your team that day, or is at the center of a domestic violence or murder scandal — take a pass for the week.
(3) Team Apparel
In every day life, I would have Team Apparel in the #2 spot because, in our fashion conscious world, you got some serious explaining to do when you are wearing something out of style (like a DRC jersey from two teams ago). However, in an NFL stadium, fans in home team jerseys just look right. The next best thing, then, is fans in team apparel.
Again, we aren’t worried about quality or flashiness. Just show that you’ve made a concerted effort to support the home team. Also, if you’re anything more than the most casual observer of the game (or, notably, if you’re on a date and looking to do the bare minimum), you need to at least get yourself a team logo shirt. If you’re less bullish on giving even more money to NFL, there are plenty of knock offs and NFLPA licensed player-focused shirts available on Etsy and your local Craigslist.
(4) League Gear
You know how babies get to wear non-competitive sports gear that simply reads, “All-Star” or “Football”? Well, this is the adult equivalent. Maybe your city hosted a Super Bowl and you happened upon a corner store a week after the event and you snagged a tee shirt at 85% discount. Maybe your team’s fan base is already wearing paper bags on their head. Maybe your team just traded for Nick Foles and is getting ready to head to LA so you’d rather not wear their gear.
Honestly, the only people I can see falling into this category are dickbags and douchbag business college student (read: anyone attending “B-School”) who treats every social gathering as an “opportunity” to try and meet industry contacts. So while you’re over there getting drunk and booing Roger Goodell, this dick is staying neutral and showing off his ability to not eat pizza until instructed to do so. Fuck that guy.
(5) Allied Team
By now we’ve reached murky waters. If, for some reason, you can’t bring yourself to wear any of the above, I have to assume you received Patriots v Patriots tickets and have to go to the game as part of a dowry to bed <insert popular attractive model — we still doing Kate Upton?>. In this case, you just need to be ready to explain yourself with some kind of, “Yeah, I’m wearing this Patriots Matt Cassel jersey to the Chargers at Broncos because [something about one team beating another helps the Cowboys secure a first round playoff bye].”
Basically, I don’t recommend this unless it’s a clearcut, Week 17, If Team A beats Team B then Team C gets in the playoffs so my Team C jersey is showing a second-degree alliance with Team A, situation. And, even then, just go buy an anti-Goodell shirt to show support with other NFL fans.
(6) Neutral Colors
This is your last hope for not deserving to get your ass kicked in the parking lot outside the stadium. If, for some reason you can’t pull off 1-5 and the rest of your wardrobe consists of gear from the visiting team, then all I can really say is you need to go invest in a white tee shirt. You can literally buy these off guys pushing shopping carts on the street.
And if it’s like a ‘white out’ game, I’m pretty sure no NFL team wears a color known as Titans Blue. So just get a gray or Titans Blue shirt.
This is life so, if you’re a woman, go ahead and do whatever you want. Bikini tops are great but I find camo pink Matt Leinart jerseys to be the standard in my town.
If you’re Boltman or Fireman Ed or Raider Nation, you just go on doing your thing, boss. I mean, it is just a game.