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The 30 Best Fans in Sports: How NFL, NBA, BCS, NHL and Other Sports Fire Us Up

Andy FryeContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2017

The 30 Best Fans in Sports: How NFL, NBA, BCS, NHL and Other Sports Fire Us Up

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    Being a sports fan involves a hell of a lot more than just showing up to a game. True fandom takes the form of near obsession when the season takes hold. Dads dress like their kids, people paint faces, pet owners dress their dogs in game shirts. Others nearly bare it all.

    Here's a look at some of the best fans in sports both nationwide and across the world.

    (Pic: Sunny Doench, with permission)

Cincinnati Reds Fans: The Faithful in Red

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    Reds fans consistently rally behind their famous club in years good or bad, whether they're hitting like Pete Rose or not hitting at all.

    Reds fans are so committed, search the Internet and you'll find the "Cincinnati Reds Group Therapy" fan page.

Dallas Mavericks Fans: From the Wilderness to World Champs

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    Perhaps a cult of personality, like with Raiders and Duke fans, under Mark Cuban the Mavs have gone from forgotten NBA team to an arsenal with an army of fans, to world champions.

    Fans are even going as far as tattooing Dirk Nowitzki's face on their rear ends.  

NASCAR Fans: The Biggest Bloc in Sports

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    NASCAR is more a way of life now than just a sport with fans, and they really live it. Fans are even courted as a bloc on Election Day.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

Cardinals Fans: Taking the Road Trip and All the Free Tickets

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    Wondering where all the tickets at Wrigley, The Bank or Miller Park went?

    Anytime the Cards are in town, expect their fans to show up en masse. Cards fans always make a trip of it.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

Flyers Fans: The Orange Storm of Madness

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    Flyers fans are Philly’s least unruly but maybe only because they're behind glass.

    Still, they're almost more fun to watch than the Flyers and gave the old First Union its nickname—“The FU Center."

Steelers Fans: The Best Thing West of Altoona

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    Ever since the first of four Super Bowls in the 1970s, the Steelers have grown from a joke to a powerhouse with steady nationwide militia, armed with Terrible Towels used for wiping up the remains of the competition.

    They’re fun, obnoxious and keep Western Pennsylvania interesting.

South Carolina Fans: Cocky Flavor in the SEC

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    Fans at The Cockpit in Columbia, SC could redefine the word “cocky”...claiming they're the real USC, not the 11-time national champions from Southern Cal.

    Still, they add life to the SEC and a little southern flavor too.

    (Pics: Andy Frye. Gamecocks mustard from Uncle Henry's fridge.)

Philadelphia Phillies Fans: Baseball's Unruly Young at Heart

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    Phils Phans are rowdy and brash. There’s one difference between them and most baseball fans: They really know their baseball.

    They don’t even mind getting tasered or arrested once in a while. Yet, some are more behaved.

    (Pic: Eric Gidney, with permission)

Kansas City Chiefs Fans: The Red Cyclone

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    Stacked with talent, but perennial underperformers, the Chiefs have fans that have been through every mediocre season and heartbreak imaginable since Super Bowl IV.

    Still, the Chiefs' 12th man pushes them toward a better season, always.

Ohio State Buckeyes Fans: Scarlet and Gregarious

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    Buckeyes fans juxtapose the best of in-your-face and polite.

    They love the Big Ten as a whole but won’t hesitate to make your visit to the Horseshoe an antsy one when they're beating you. Plus they sing.

Oakland Raiders Fans: Best/Worst Dressed, Your Call

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    Crazy but compliant, Raiders fans love Al Davis no matter what he does. Like knights (or pillagers maybe), they wear their black and silver proudly.

    Sometimes Raiders fans speak to Davis like the clergy speak to the man upstairs.

Miami Heat Fans: Mental Patients Always Wear White

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    Long before LeBron, the “Triple-A” in Miami was the only venue you’d see everyone dressed in white besides a mental hospital (same thing maybe).

    Even Jimmy Buffet has gotten ejected for his trash-talking enthusiasm.

Cleveland Indians Fans: Loyalty as a Tribal Tradition

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    Tribe fans have greater belief than many, and take their team’s roller coaster rides as part of life.

    With a decent shot at the playoffs and a winning record, Indians fans' brighter colors are beginning to show again.

Texas Longhorns Fans: A Nation Outside the Lone Star State

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    Texas Exes announce their strong presence everywhere, and show up in a sea of burnt orange.

    They even have their own hand sign.

    (Pic: T. LaGorio, with permission)

Nebraska Cornhuskers Fans: Pride of the Great Plains

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    The Huskers are the pride of the Great Plains in football.

    Their fans proudly wear Cornhusker red, making their presence know from toddlerhood to the grave.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

Chicago Cubs Fans: Treading Hope Since 1908

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    One-hundred-plus years without a World Series win, and yet the Cubs are a strongly supported ballclub, even when they blow it. But as pitcher Ryan Dempster said, “They always have your back.” 

    Chicago comedian Rachel Farmer, right, hams it up at Wrigley with a friend.

    (Pic: Rachel Farmer, with permission)

Milwaukee Brewers Fans: More Than Just Cheeseheads

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    Summertime in Milwaukee is a fun time in a fun place. But the town has more going for it than bratwursts and street fests. It's a great baseball town.

    Brewers fans have one of the best parks in baseball and they know it.

    (Pic: R.Southern, with permission)

Green Bay Packers Fans: More Than Just Cheeseheads

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    A small town not normally big enough to have a pro sports team, Green Bay stretches the world in support.

    Their club shop outsells every other pro sports team, including the Yankees. And they have some Super Bowl rings too.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

New Orelans Saints Fans: Ain'ts No More

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    “Who Dat?” is both a nation and state of mind. Possibly the first fans to wear brown bags over their heads proudly, Saints fans got their reward in 2010 and still have a good club after the Super Bowl triumph.

    No more paper bags...

Chicago Bulls Fans: Reawakening the Dynasty

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    Possibly the most educated basketball fans, Bulls aficionados could do play-by-play with perfection and break down every facet of the game.

    Bulls fans are pretty good with the hairdos too.

Liverpool Fans: Spreading Red Across the Globe

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    Liverpool fans can be found wherever you see big cities on every continent, in the countryside, in the stadium and at soccer bars like The Globe in Chicago, even as early as 6 a.m.

    “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is the slogan on the English football club’s fans. Given their following worldwide, they never will.

    (Pic credit: Chicago Liverpool Fan Club, with permission)

New York Rangers Fans: New York's Finest

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    New York’s better hockey half are cerebral for NHL fans, and won’t let you forget that they bagged Gretzky and also the Stanley Cup in ’94. 

    Long way from home, Chicago comedian Susan Messing represents.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

Notre Dame's Fighting Irish Fans

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    Nobody goes to USC because of Methodism, but the Irish-Catholic cultural connection ND has with its fans is unique in America.

    Business aside, Domers are committed to football especially. And yes, they can be emotional.

New York Jets Fans: Off Broadway

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    They hate the Dolphins though they don’t need to, but this shows you Jets fans’ broad sense of history and loyalty.

    They don't play in New York anymore, but who cares.

Duke Fans: Blue and Battle-Ready

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    Coach K’s cult might be accused of bandwagoning, but the truth is they're unshakable as a fanbase.

    Duke fans form a line around Cameron Stadium before games, not to get tickets but just to tailgate. They play their part in the game too. 

Tennessee Volunteers: Rocky Top Rowdies

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    Ever been surrounded by 100,000 loud fans in traffic orange? That’s what UT’s big orange are like. And they are the politest trash-talkers of the Southeastern Conference.

    Raiders fans could learn make-up tips from Vols fans.

Boston Red Sox Fans: Northeastern Fire

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    Less lovable losers than Cubs fans, the Red Sox Nation was always firm even before two World Series wins this decade.

    The other thing that bonds Red Sox fans is that they hate the Yankees with a passion. Good baseball in Boston helps too.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

Roller Derby Fans: Actions Sports' Darkhorse

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    You're probably saying "What?" but flat-track roller derby is the dark horse among action sports. Consider derby the X-Games' little sister, the one you'd have a crush on.

    Plus, halftime at the Windy City Rollers' bouts in Chicago brings out some real bananas.

    (Pic: Andy Frye)

West Ham United: London's Legacy

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    Like the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago's Cubs, East London's West Ham have seen more ups and downs than most fans, but are among the English Premier League's most committed.

    Also, their ventures in "fortunes always hiding" were profiled in the film Green Street Hooligans, starring Elijah Wood, about a darker enclave of rabid Hammers fans.

Penn State Fans: Something in the Mountain Air

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    Some say that Penn State fans are a dime a dozen in the northeast.

    They are everywhere and sometimes look and dress alike (see photo). But they are part of a tradition of fervent football fandom that will stay long after Joe Paterno retires.

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