For NFL, Sports Fans, It's Okay to Say "We"

Mike DussaultSenior Analyst IApril 10, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 21: Fans of the New England Patriots react after touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium on December 21, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 47-7. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

There's a debate that arises from time to time on any popular team message board, and that is whether or not it's okay for fans to say "we" when referring to their team.

"We really need let L.T. go, he's on his last legs," as opposed to "the Chargers have to get rid of L.T. because he sucks now and I am sick of watching him suck."

Can fans really say "We?"

They're not on the team. They don't score touchdowns. They don't block anybody. The only thing they're kicking is a can down the street. 

Plus, who is so bold to qualify his or her comments as the voice of the team's collective fan nation?

We're obviously drafting Reggie Bush. Mario Williams is a workout wonder.

We are going to unleash Vernon Gholston on Tom Brady!

We're gonna finish last in the NFC West like we always do.

If you told me a year ago we'd trade Cassel and Vrabel for a second-round pick I would've thought Cassel was the the throw-in.

"We" bothers a lot of people. It's too pretentious, and they don't like being told what their opinions are. Especially when they thought the Patriots would've gotten a first-rounder for Vrabel alone.

Those who use "we" feel sufficient and confident in their loyalty and almost part of the team. It comes naturally to them. 

So, should it be okay for fans to say "we?"

I believe that the debate is solved with a simple look at college sports.

If you were talking about your college's football team, and you went to the college, or at the very least had a parent or sibling go there, it's pretty acceptable to say "we."

Nobody's going down to the Swamp to tell Gator Brandi, a sophomore communications Theta Beta, that she didn't win the national championship, the varsity football team did.

Brandi won the national championship that night, along with every other Gator player, alumni, and fan.

There might not be a New England Patriots University. But if there was, myself and many like me would all be filling out applications tomorrow. 

And that goes for the fan nations of all 31 other NFL teams. Except for maybe Detroit's, which would probably be akin to a free community college actually located in Detroit.

Fans and players are both part of something bigger than the action on the field, in the locker rooms, weight rooms, and meeting rooms.

We all want the team to win. And the fortune on the field effects us all.

The way a loss on Sunday can ruin Monday, Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday. Or the confidence a big win over a hated rival brings.

The players feel the exact same way. 

I can assure everyone that I was just as depressed as Rodney Harrison when Tom Brady went down in week one. And though I might not have been quite as happy as Tedy Bruschi when he won his Super Bowls, I was pretty damn close.

We might not put on a uniform. We might not risk life and limb for the glory of the gridiron, and probably none of us are driving a Bentley.

But, we are there for every moment, the wins and the losses, the highs and the lows, as the good and the bad transpire on the field before us. 

That is what unites fans and players into one nation, united under one flag, all sharing in the joy of victory and the sorrow of defeat. 

That is the soul of sports and that is why it is okay to say "we."


Mike Dussault is a Patriots Community Leader and on a much-needed vacation. He can be reached at