Every state has one team that they live and die by. For many states, such as Ohio, the team is obvious, but for others, such as Pennsylvania and Texas, many great teams fight for that title. This article will be broken up into segments: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, in that order.
Today, here is a look at the northeastern states, consisting of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
Connecticut: UCONN Huskies Basketball
Connecticut has no professional sports teams, but ESPN’s home certainly loves their college basketball. The men’s basketball team at the University of Connecticut is always a contender for the Big East and NCAA title.
UCONN has been a pro factory throughout the years, producing some of the NBA’s greatest players, including Ben Gordon, Rudy Gay, Ray Allen, and Emeka Okafor.
UCONN is also crazy about their women’s basketball team, which is arguably the most dominant team in all of college sports and has produced great players such as Diana Tarausi.
Delaware: Philadelphia Eagles
Like Connecticut, Delaware doesn’t have any professional sports teams, but they don’t have any competitive college teams either. Sure, Delaware State and Joe Flacco did pretty well in the FCS Football Tournament a few years ago, but they really aren’t a marquee team.
For Delaware sports fans, you have to go northwest to Philly. While Baltimore sports do have a presence there, the Eagles are the team for many fans in the Diamond State.
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont: New England Patriots
These are the random New England states with no sports teams. The Patriots are the pride of New England, except for the state that they actually play in.
Some of these states have teams that are somewhat prevalent, such as UNH football in New Hampshire, but when it comes down to it, nobody in New England has a bigger following than the Patriots.
Maryland: Baltimore Ravens
Maryland’s favorite team really depends on the time period. Back during the Cal Ripken Jr. era, the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the Orioles were the team in Maryland.
That slowly began to change after the Ravens won the Super Bowl and the Orioles got progressively worse. Baltimore definitely hasn’t forgotten the Orioles.
If they start winning, they could become the favorite again, but you know you’re in a football town and a football state when you hear “F--- the Steelers” chants at baseball games.
Massachusetts: Boston Red Sox
It’s odd that three states have the Patriots as their favorite team, but not the state in which they actually play. Let’s face it—the Red Sox are the face of Boston, and the rest of Massachusetts.
It's impossible to get a ticket to a game at Fenway Park through the Red Sox, and the only hope a fan has of getting a ticket is paying hundreds of dollars through Stub Hub or Ebay. Ever since the BoSox have gotten good, tickets have become even harder to get.
While the Patriots and the Celtics have both been good this decade, the Red Sox definitely take the cake.
New Jersey: New York Giants
Although it sounds like New Jersey only has one sports team, the lowly Nets, the state actually has three. The names are deceiving, but the Giants and the Jets actually play in New Jersey.
Since the Nets and the Jets have both been decent at best in recent years, in New Jersey, the Giants are the best thing since sliced bread.
The Jets were just as popular as the Giants during the Namath era, but ever since their decline, the Garden State has become the Giants State.
New York: New York Yankees
This is a tough one. This would have been a no-brainer a decade ago, but the Yankees have gradually decreased in popularity, while the Giants have gained popularity.
Besides Syracuse basketball, college sports really have no relevance in the Empire State. Although the Yankees can’t even sell out their new stadium, they are still the favorite in New York. Their 26 championships are unbeatable, and they will always be the face of New York sports.
Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Steelers
There are three teams that could be considered for Pennsylvania’s favorite team: the Steelers, Eagles, and Penn State Nittany Lions (football).
For now, the Steelers are the winners.
While Eagles fans have a reputation of being the hardest, the Steelers are the rowdiest. Nothing intimidates opposing teams like tens of thousands of “Terrible Towels” swinging through the air.
Penn State also has a massive following, but Pennsylvania is more about pro sports than college sports. It seems like the Steelers have the bigger following in Pennsylvania. The Eagles aren’t far behind, though, and if they get better, they could take over the spot as the favorite team in Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island: Providence Friars Basketball
You can’t fit many teams into little Rhode Island, especially because Providence basketball has a monopoly over most of the state.
The Friars are a small school that shouldn’t be very good, but they always compete, even in the country’s best conference, the Big East.
Providence generally finds a way to get to the NCAA Tournament and do fairly well, or contend for an NIT Championship, something many schools their size could never dream of doing. The fan following makes all the difference for this tiny school in this tiny state.
Virginia: Washington Redskins
The Redskins are definitely the team in Virginia, especially northern Virginia. The main focus is on DC teams, but the Wizards aren’t great, and the Nationals are just plain awful.
While the Redskins aren’t amazing, they have shown signs of improvement and have very loyal fans. They may not be championship contenders every year, but the fans rock RFK Stadium every Sunday during the fall.
West Virginia: West Virginia Mountaineers Football
Like Rhode Island, West Virginia doesn’t have any professional sports teams. That doesn’t bother West Virginians, though, who cheer endlessly for their Mountaineers.
Every Saturday during the fall, thousands flock to Morgantown in the Blue Ridge Mountains for Mountaineer football games.
West Virginia has been very good in recent years. Two years ago, they were a loss against Pittsburgh away from a National Championship berth. Pat White was a big reason for that success, and he shined during the Rich Rodriguez years.
Now that Rich Rod is gone, the Mountaineers are in a rebuilding stage, but still have potential and still have the loyalty of their fans.