NFL fans liven up Midtown Manhattan

(Ben Liebenberg /

One of the greatest aspects of the draft is the fan exuberance at Radio City Music Hall. (Ben Liebenberg /

One of the greatest aspects of the draft is the fan exuberance. Radio City Music Hall is surrounded by thousands of rabid followers peacefully screaming and chanting about their teams.

You know the fans here are hardcore when you see jerseys floating around of former Dolphins RB Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar and former lead member of The Sack Exchange, Mark Gastineau.

While the Jets and Giants certainly have a large contingent, I saw fans decked out in the colors of just about every NFL team. One of the most intriguing aspects of the event is how groups of friends that support hated rivals come together to mock each other and enjoy the festivities in the process. One such cluster included a fan from each NFC East team.

One fan from San Jose, Calif., who is an ardent Buffalo follower and was sporting a Bills hard hat and Bills sun glasses with the team’s insignia over each eye, said he has been making the cross-country trek to New York for the draft for nine years.

“One time I said I’d like to go there, let’s see what happens, and I’d never been to New York City before, so there’s an extra bonus. I had a great time, so I wanted to go again,” said the fan.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of fans. I’ve made a lot of friends. And it’s just such a fun time to be with all the fans, and to me, it’s the first day of the season.”

Another fan came from Oakland to show his support for the Silver and Black. He has been coming to the draft for six years and echoed those sentiments. “You can bring everybody from all over the United States and you all have one common goal — and that’s the NFL. And everybody, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what team you’re with, you can all come together and have one effort to praise the NFL and have fun with it all.”

A Patriots fan originally from Boston that has relocated to New York said he came to see his favorite team get constructed right before his eyes.

“It’s great you to see the players put on their cap for the first time, you get to see your franchise getting built. It’s great!”

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