National Football League

Mad About You

September 12

By Charlotte Wilder

On this week’s episode of The People’s Sports Podcast, Mark and I dove into the story of Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s tennis player who was kicked out of the US Open for hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball. 

It was an accident — in the heat of the moment, a frustrated Djokovic hit a ball as hard as he could, and instead of hitting something harmless like the net, made contact with a person. 

Now, we could’ve gone down a real rabbit hole about sports rage. But since this week is the first of the NFL 2020-2021 season, we thought we’d pivot to fan rage.

NFL fans take great pride in what makes them angry. Being mad isn’t necessarily a negative. It’s more fun to think of it as a marker of passion. Sports anger is often born from defending a team against injustice or demanding a higher standard from your own players.

So, in honor of all that, Mark and I each chose what we think each fanbase will be the most passionate about. The good news here is that the things that make you angry as a fan can also make others happy — sure, Panthers fans might feel a pang of emotion if Cam Newton is really good in New England, but think how happy New England fans will be!

Hah. Sorry. That is a sentence 90% of the country hated reading. 

But seriously — with that said, I present to you our very unorthodox NFL preview: What will fans be most mad about this season? We've included one team from each division here; for the full breakdown, check out the podcast!
 
AFC EAST

New England Patriots 

Charlotte: Oh boy. This is a tough one. I think fans will get mad if Cam isn’t good, which I hate to say and which feels very unfair, but I think that’s the only option if we’re in the business of telling the truth. We (I’m including myself here) might also be mad if Tom Brady is good.

 Which is going to make a lot of fans who hear this angry, because they’re doing the whole, “No, I’ll be happy for Tommy,” thing, even though I think it’ll hurt a little bit if TB12 wins his seventh ring with Tampa Bay. But New Englanders are too stubborn to admit it. And typically hate showing emotion. 

Mark: Fans will be mad if the Pats lose more games than they’re used to and the rest of the country is happy about it. The whole “they want to see us lose more than they want to win” thing. 

AFC WEST

Kansas City Chiefs 

Charlotte: I don’t think they’ll be mad about much. The team is going to be really good, Mahomes is still incredible, and even Kansas City doesn’t win the Super Bowl again, the city is still riding pretty high after the end of a 50-year drought. 

Mark: Anything short of a Super Bowl win will become “Coronavirus killed our dynasty.”

AFC NORTH

Cleveland Browns

Charlotte: I can see fans getting angry if the media accurately reports that Baker Mayfield isn’t playing well and then Mayfield holds even more grudges. I think they’d be mad at the media over Baker, but who knows. 

Mark: Fans will just be upset that the Ohio State season was cancelled. The lows of Browns fandom are easier when at least your team wins on Saturday. 

AFC SOUTH

Tennessee Titans

Charlotte: Tennessee fans might be upset if Mike Vrabel doesn’t cut his dick off to win the Super Bowl. Last year he said that he would, but he didn’t. And they lost the AFC Championship. So whose fault is that?

Mark: Fans are going to grumble so much if Derrick Henry is once again the top running back in the league and doesn’t win MVP. 
 
NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles

Charlotte: The first time the Eagles are losing, Philly fans will boo their own team (from their couches this year, but still). Eagles fans turning on their own team is the most reliable thing in sports. 

Mark: They’ll be mad no matter what because they’re alive and they live in the city of Philly.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Charlotte: Imagine what Cardinals fans would do if Kingsbury gets cast as Laura Dern’s new love interest in Big Little Lies and leaves the team to be a Hollywood star. 

Mark: Kingsbury is too good looking. That’s what’ll upset fans. 

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears

Charlotte: Trubisky.

Mark: Trubisky.
 
NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

Charlotte: Going positive on this one: Imagine how happy Atlanta fans will be if Matt Ryan beats Tom Brady with the Bucs twice in one season!

Mark: Fans are going to be constantly reminded of the 28-3 Super Bowl loss since Tom Brady is in their division now.


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