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Bag-Headed Sports Fans Who Love Awful Teams

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2015

Bag-Headed Sports Fans Who Love Awful Teams

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    BILL FEIG/Associated Press

    Losing isn't something that sports fans ever accept with grace.

    While no one really likes to be on the wrong side of a game, it sucks a hell of a lot worse when a team is notorious for doing it, losing multiple contests in a row or having a couple of seasons that are wasted away.

    Since alcohol sometimes just isn't enough, fans resort to other options in order to show their embarrassment for the team—wearing brown paper bags over their faces.

    The routine has become popular since New Orleans Saints fans in the '80s began doing it, and many fanbases have followed suit.

    See some of the other teams that would rather not be a part of such a tradition.

Cleveland Browns

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Being a Cleveland Browns fan, I can tell you firsthand just how difficult it has been to watch the team ever since its rebirth in 1999.

    With a record of just 84-172 in the 16 seasons since, the carousel at the quarterback position and the rotating door in the front office and on the sideline, it's only natural for members of the Dawg Pound to be embarrassed by the team on the gridiron, donning paper bags over their heads.

    Things got so bad that, back in 2009, two guys who tried to sway other fans to boycott a Monday Night Football game actually got to sit down with then-owner Randy Lerner to talk about the team's strategy to improve.

    Ladies and gentleman, this is dysfunction at its finest.

Florida/Miami Marlins

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Ask any fan of the former Florida and current Miami Marlins—yes, Marlins fans do exist—and he'll tell you, in-depth, his true feelings on owner Jeffrey Loria.

    Perceived as cheap and selfish, Loria has put the fanbase through two separate fire sales following the club's two World Series wins. And after building a gigantic stadium in the city, he's been criticized for the amount it actually cost—though he defends it's tourists who paid for the stadium and not taxpayers.

    With the club never appearing to actually build anything, it's clear that fans have gotten frustrated. Marlins fans have taken the chance to show how they feel on a few occasions, with fans seen wearing paper bags over their heads and homemade signs and T-shirts ripping the team.

    But hey, at least Loria made a smart baseball decision this offseason by re-signing young slugger Giancarlo Stanton—even if it was for a ridiculous amount.

St. Louis Rams

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    There was a time when the St. Louis Rams sported the most exciting offense in the NFL, running over and past defenders on their way to loads of points, earning them the nickname of "The Greatest Show on Turf."

    Boy, those days seem long ago for Rams fans, huh?

    While the team has seemed to improve in the three seasons that Jeff Fisher has been at the helm, it hasn't restored the excitement that those early 2000s teams brought to the Edward Jones Dome.

    And following a 2-3 start to the 2005 season, fans showed then-head coach Mike Martz—who was eventually fired—just what they thought about watching the struggling team.

Syracuse Orange Football Fans

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    Kevin Rivoli/Associated Press

    Although it isn't necessarily considered one of the classic rivalries in college football history, the Syracuse Orange and Penn State Nittany Lions began the series all the way back in 1922, with the teams playing a total of 73 games since.

    One of those matchups is one that Orange fans would rather forget, though.

    That's because, back in 2008, the 17th-ranked Nittany Lions came into the Carrier Dome and completely stomped the Orange, winning by a score of 55-13, leading to many 'Cuse fans putting a bag over their heads to hide their faces.

    Seeing how that Penn State team ended up in the Rose Bowl against the USC Trojans, maybe Orange fans shouldn't be so humiliated that they were just one of the 11 wins that team ended the season with.

    OK, maybe not.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    To all the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans out there—be careful what you wish for.

    Fans called for the head of former head coach Greg Schiano following his 11-20 overall record in his two seasons, but the first year under his replacement, Lovie Smith, didn't go as planned.

    With the team "earning" the top overall choice in this year's draft, that's pretty obvious.

    Still, Bucs fans weren't aware such a debacle would happen, and many showed their hatred for both Schiano and the squad by making signs and wearing bags as a sign that something needed to change.

    Unfortunately, the change wasn't one that was all that productive, and the paper bags may again come out sooner than some would want.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Although the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs own the second-most Stanley Cup titles in league history with 13, their fans haven't had too much to cheer about in recent seasons, as the squad endured a playoff drought of near-epic proportions, stretching seven full seasons before ending in 2012-13.

    During those unlucky seven seasons, there was a lot for Maple Leafs fans to boo, including turnover in the front office and on the bench and a team that couldn't seem to get its act together.

    For that reason, fans stooped to the good ol' paper bag trick, showing team execs just how bad it really felt to support the Leafs.

Washington Redskins

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Anytime a team drafts a presumed franchise quarterback who can impact an entire squad and lead his team to a postseason berth in his first season, expectations for the encore are always high.

    Sometimes, though, the team doesn't repeat such success.

    For Washington Redskins fans, they discovered that in 2013, as the team dipped from a 10-6 record to a 3-13 record, with former No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III clashing with his then-head coach, Mike Shanahan, while trying to come back from injury.

    And just when things were looking to turn around with a new coach and season in 2014, the dysfunction continued, as the Skins finished just 4-12, with new man Jay Gruden flip-flopping on who would be starting under center for his team.

    Of course, fans took notice by going grocery shopping and leaving with just the brown paper bags.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    After they enjoyed a surprising season in 2011-12 by going 35-31 and defeating the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, things have turned pretty sour for the Philadelphia 76ers.

    How bad? Well, how about just 26 wins in their past 120 games.

    With debate floating around earlier this season that the team might have struggled against the University of Kentucky men's hoops team, fans were embarrassed to claim the Sixers as their team.

    And after Philadelphia got off to an 0-17 start, a few fans showed that disdain by slipping paper bags over their heads to remind the team that it needs to try and turn things around—and fast.

New York Jets

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Seeing how the New York Jets just fired head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik, it's clear that the team wasn't on the right path toward getting back into contention.

    Ryan, a defensive guru, was able to get his Jets to compete in games thanks to a solid D, but for failing to ever develop a quarterback to lead the offense, the front office grew impatient.

    And given how they reacted in recent seasons, so did the fans.

    Going all the way back to 2012, Jets fans have been seen wearing brown paper bags and booing the action on the field, which is never a good thing for a football team when it's playing at home.

Houston Texans

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    DAVE EINSEL/Associated Press

    As with other fanbases on this list, a few Houston Texans fans took it upon themselves to stage a protest against the team and demand changes be made.

    With former head coach Gary Kubiak failing to lead the team to the promised land in 2013—even if he had taken Houston to two playoff appearances in his seven-plus years—that's exactly what happened.

    During a pitiful 2-14 season in 2013 that led to Kubiak getting canned after 13 games and the team ending up with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, fans wearing brown paper bags became about as routine as ones wearing a Texans jersey.

New York Mets

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    Paul J. Bereswill/Associated Press

    It has to be pretty tough being a New York Mets fan.

    In addition to being the little brother to the more accomplished New York Yankees, Mets fans haven't had much to really cheer about since they made a trip to the World Series in 2000, where they, interestingly enough, were beaten by the Yanks.

    Since then, the team has dealt with the whole Bernie Madoff situation, a historic collapse that cost it a postseason berth and lots of turnover in the organization.

    Sure, Citi Field might be state of the art and all, but with fans wearing bags over their heads in shame, it hasn't brought better moments for the fans who show up.

Detroit Lions

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    0-16.

    That's all anyone needs to know about why Detroit Lions fans preferred paper bags on their heads instead of Lions hats during the 2008 season, as the franchise became the first NFL team to ever finish with such a record.

    Having to suffer through a winless season is a good way for fans to turn on a team, so it's unsurprising that it happened in Detroit.

    The good news about reaching rock bottom, though? It gained the Lions a franchise quarterback to pair with stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson, as they selected Matthew Stafford first overall in the 2009 draft.

New York Knicks

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    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    The New York Knicks and their fans are some of the most prideful in all of sports.

    Unfortunately, the 2014-15 season has tested their patience and been a shot of reality for both, as the Knicks have struggled to a current 16-game losing streak, giving them the second-worst record in the entire league.

    During their 14th loss in that streak, hometown fans showed up to Madison Square Garden donning an extra accessory that no team wants to see—brown paper bags.

    With a first-year head coach, an injured superstar and a roster with weaknesses from top to bottom, the Knicks and their fans are in for a long rebuilding process.

Oakland Raiders

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Since the Oakland Raiders' last Super Bowl appearance—a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003—the team has gone an absurd 56-136, going through eight coaches and proving that there's no leadership within the organization.

    With such futility, Raiders supporters who fill the Black Hole behind one of the end zones have had their patience tested, forced to watch a product that isn't exactly living up to the "commitment to excellence" that former owner Al Davis strove for.

    In addition to the fans who wear spikes and wild costumes each game, a few fans have shown up with paper bags on their heads, growing tired of the terrible display on the field.

New Orleans Saints

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    As mentioned in the introduction, thanks to the New Orleans Saints in the 1980s, the brown paper bag became a symbol for fans to voice their disgust with a team.

    After Saints fans became known for their "New Orleans 'Aints" bags during a decade that was full of losses and embarrassment, other teams' supporters began duplicating the trend, growing it into what it has become.

    With the team struggling to a 1-15 record in 1980—the worst year in a streak of 16 straight seasons from expansion in which the Saints finished under .500—the brown paper bag mask was born.

    Even with the Saints winning a Super Bowl in 2010, one can't see a paper bag at a sporting event and not think about the team in the Big Easy.

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