Have the NFL playoffs started with your favorite team left out in the cold? Well, have no fear. You can shamelessly join the bandwagon of one of the 12 remaining teams in the playoffs. Not sure who you want to be a fan of for the next month? No worries, you can follow our easy-to-use guide for choosing your new favorite team. Welcome to bandwagon fandom. All aboard!
Cincinnati Bengals – Young talent dominates this roster, so if you want to root for the team that’s fighting an uphill battle, go for the Bengals. The Dalton to Green combo will be one to watch for years to come, so why not be on the right side of that connection if they make a Super Bowl run? If you’re a fan of defense, there are few units playing better than the Bengals right now.
Who should root for the Bengals?
Bills fans. Both A.J. Green and Andy Dalton were on the board in the 2011 draft when Buffalo selected in the first and second rounds. Might as well live vicariously through their success (or failure) and see what life might have been like had your team drafted differently.
Houston Texans – The Texans are a team with a chip on their shoulder. With the way they’ve struggled as of late, losing three of the last four after an 11-1 start, a first round exit is preordained. Or is it? The Texans still have two of the best players on offense with receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster. And Watts not to like on defense. With Foster and Watt, General Maximus Decimus Meridius’s eternal question will be not only answered, but fulfilled.
Who should root for the Texans?
Lions fans. Thanksgiving day. Challenge flags. Suh kicks. Penance.
Green Bay Packers – Excitement is just a play away with Aaron Rodgers and his crop of talented receivers. Charles Woodson returns from a broken collarbone for another quest for a Lombardi trophy. And the Packers are the league’s only community owned team, so if you like rooting for the little guys, the Packers are your team.
Who should root for the Packers?
Titans fans. That way, if the Packers win the Super Bowl you can blame that 55-7 whooping they gave you in weak 16 as “getting beat by the Super Bowl champions.” Not that it’ll make the loss any easier, but every little bit helps.
Who really believed in the Vikings before the season started? Nobody believed in this team. No seriously. But here are some reasons to believe. Adrian Peterson is having the most incredible year maybe in NFL history. A feel-good story of a guy who has rebounded from a devastating injury. No one should forget about Jared Allen, one of the most engaging personalities in the NFL.
Vikings fans have no Super Bowls to speak of. The threat of relocation hung over their heads for a few years now. This is a special run for them and maybe you if you choose.
Who should root for the Vikings?
Raiders fans. Remember when you guys passed over Peterson for JaMarcus Russell? You can live vicariously through Peterson right now. Wait, why are you laughing Cardinals fans?
Well, you really don’t need any more justification to jump on the Colts bandwagon, other than Chuck Strong. The sentimental favorite of not just football fans, but of anybody with a beating heart. Even if your favorite team loses to the Colts, you will still say things like, “Well, if my team couldn’t win it, I’m glad it was the Colts.”
Who should root for the Colts:
Those whose teams have already been eliminated.
Baltimore Ravens – The return of Ray Lewis from injury to make one last one at greatness before retiring should be all the reason you need to tune in. But then we also have Ray Rice being the little engine that could drive the Ravens to the Super Bowl. It could be a great year for Ray’s in Baltimore, so why not get on the bandwagon with them. Especially if your name happens to be Ray.
Who should root for the Ravens?
Jaguars fans. Because if Joe Flacco can win a Super Bowl, then Chad Henne and the rest of the 2008 QB class might just have a chance!
Seattle lost its basketball team, only to have it resurface in Oklahoma City, Ichiro was sent off to the New York Yankees, and a few years back, they had to endure the indignity of a past-his-prime Jerry Rice and his audacity to ask Steve Largent to pull his No. 80 out of the rafters. But we’ve lost our place. This year Seattle is different.
You’ll hear this a lot during the postseason, but in any other year, Wilson would be regarded as a shoe-in for the rookie of the year. He’s joined by Marshawn Lynch, one of the rare running backs who got a hefty payday and then went out and exceeded expectations. Additionally, let’s not fail to mention Pete Carroll. We understand, he’s not for everybody, but there’s a joy in the way he coaches. Most importantly, they play grunge rock before they go to commercial break during their games.
Who should root for the Seahawks?
San Diego Chargers fans. The old AFC West rivalry is a thing of the past, and let’s stick with the West Coast team.
Washington Redskins – RG3. Need I say more? Ok, I will. If you’re a fan of ingenuity, the Redskins are your team for how they retooled their offense to play to RG3’s strengths. Add in the Alfred Morris element, and London Fletcher’s quest for another ring and this is a team full of intrigue. And definitely one you can get behind in the postseason.
Who should root for the Redskins?
Cardinals fans, to increase the likelihood of Kyle Shanahan and Kirk Cousins coming to Arizona in the offseason. A deep playoff run would likely help Cardinals brass believe more in the young Shanahan, and with Andy Reid eyeing up the barbecue… and team in Kansas City, a coach-QB tandem like Shanahan and Cousins would be tempting.
Atlanta Falcons – Tony Gonzalez. He’s played in three decades and simply been the best at his position. Now at age 36, Gonzalez may still be at the top of his game, but how many shots does he still have left at winning a Superbowl. The Falcons have floundered in the playoffs the last few years, but this may finally be the year they fly above the post-season mediocrity.
Who should root for the Falcons?
Chiefs fans. With all the years Tony Gonzalez played on the Chiefs, it’s an easy fit. Plus with the number one pick, Chiefs fans can only imagine they’ll draft a player as good as Gonzalez.
San Francisco 49ers – According to our friend Ben, a die-hard 49ers fans, our fair weather loyalty should be promised to San Francisco for one reason only. Tradition. Can’t hurt to cheer for winners. Although, he prefaced that Colin Kapernick and Michael Crabtree are no Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. They do have Aldon Smith and eight other Pro Bowlers. And let’s not forget, the greatest co-star in Saved By the Bell history, Jim Harbaugh.
Who should root for the 49ers?
Giants fans. Because deep in their hearts Giants fans know they own the 49ers. Week Six when they clobbered them 26-3 to last year’s NFC title game. It’s solace and satisfaction.
New England Patriots
Yes, to root for the Patriots is akin to cheering for the Empire in the “Star Wars” movies, but some segment of the population enjoys dressing up like Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Of all the Boston teams, they are the least objectionable. We know, it’s kind of like trying to figure out which John Cena movie is your favorite. And Tom Brady. Yes, the world has turned on Brady in recent years because he has a supermodel wife and his team had a lot of success on the field. But he’s still the same sixth-round guy who fought for his playing time at Michigan instead of transferring and became an overnight sensation.
Who should root for the Patriots:
Former Los Angeles Rams fans for completing a So-Cal sweep in 2001. In one playoff run, the Patriots knocked off the Raiders and the former Rams. Probably about as close as we’ll get to a Super Bowl title around these parts.
Denver Broncos – No matter where you stand, Peyton Manning’s comeback story is amazing. And not only has it been an epic return, he’s actually gotten better. The Denver Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL. With a vaunted defense led by Von Miller, the Broncos are the ticket you need to buy, the wagon you need to hitch. Plus, no more Tebow.
Who should root for the Broncos?
Jets fans. This fan base prides itself on its masochistic desire to suffer. So, why not become a fan of the team that has the quarterback you wanted to sign and is the former home of the quarterback you got stuck with?
Alex Gelhar @alexgelhar
Adam Rank @adamrank
Amar Shah @amarshahism