There are two types of fans. The first group is self-aware and, while passionate, reasonably privy to the national perception of their favorite teams.
That is not the group addressed here.
The delusional fans are those that stubbornly persist in their obnoxious claims despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Every team in the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, college basketball and college football has these fans in the stands.
However, those on this list exhibit the worst in delusional fan mania.
This list is meant to be fun, so no need to overreact if your team falls on the list. Chances are you are one of the good fans in the group. It falls on your shoulders to convince the "bad" fans to get a clue.
Here we go.
First, on a serious note, please reconsider your stance, Penn State fans.
Your riots in response to the departure of head coach Joe Paterno display insensitivity on the student body's part and place you squarely at the forefront of this list.
Here is the report detailing the allegations against Jerry Sandusky. It details Paterno's alleged involvement in the notification process. Even more chilling is the interview conducted by NBC's Bob Costas of Sandusky.
Given these details, the fans who rioted on two consecutive days in support of Paterno completely missed the ball. Paterno is not the victim. The children are the victims.
And what must the victims think when seeing students rally in support of Paterno?
It sends the wrong message, and now fans of the Nittany Lions must work to regain the respect of the nation.
On a much lighter note, let's bash Notre Dame.
However, fans of the Fighting Irish have long been known as some of the most delusional fans in college football.
Year after year, fans of other teams are told tales of why Notre Dame will again compete for a national championship.
Year after year, the Fighting Irish lose a home game early on in the season to the likes of South Florida or Michigan State. It is at that point we have to hear about the 11 national championships and seven Heisman winners.
If Notre Dame starts a season 10-0, then—and only then—is it acceptable for Notre Dame to rekindle talk of BCS aspirations.
The Chicago Cubs, or "Lovable Losers," make a not-so-surprising appearance on this list.
The ironic thing is that the Cubs are not even good. They haven't won a World Series since 1908.
The delusion of Cub fans can be summed up in the Steve Bartman incident during the 2003 MLB playoffs. Fans of the Chicago Cubs have the moxie to blame a series loss to the Florida Marlins on an innocent fan reaching for a foul ball.
Folks forget that shortstop Alex Gonzalez also booted a ball in the same inning and that the Cubs had another game to clinch the series.
When you're delusional, you tend to forget those things, I suppose.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the "Notre Dame" of the NHL.
See, even you non-hockey fans already know the state of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey.
Fans of Toronto often boast about 13 Stanley Cup titles and how they are Canada's team.
Well, not only has your team not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, the Maple Leafs haven't even been a contender for many years.
So, yes, boast about trophies won decades before many of us were born. Just remember, even the Tampa Bay Lightning won a Stanley Cup in the 2000s.
No offense, Tampa Bay fans.
Give Boston Red Sox fans an inch, and they take a mile.
After years of frustration, the Red Sox finally won another World Series title in 2004 and again in 2007.
Now, fans expect a championship every season. One rough collapse and Terry Francona is out as manager, and Theo Epstein bailed to Chicago.
Now that I mention it, the Red Sox resemble a certain "Evil Empire" that pervaded in the 2000s.
Red Sox fans need to lower expectations in order to give the new regime a chance in 2012. Otherwise, their ruthless expectations will resemble that of, gasp, Yankee fans.
Speaking of riots, Vancouver Canucks fans similarly need to get a clue.
After losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, Vancouver fans stormed the city, setting fire to buildings and breaking windows.
In other words, they threw a temper tantrum.
Hey, maybe I would be apt to show my frustrations too if my entire country, which claims to be the capital of hockey, hadn't won a Stanley Cup since 1993.
Then again, maybe I wouldn't.
The Vancouver Canucks are a talented team that will contend for future titles. Please, Vancouver fans, stop with the childish behavior. It just gives us Americans free ammo.
New York Knicks fans were shocked when they were shunned by such free-agent studs as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
They shouldn't have been.
The fact is the Knicks are just not as attractive as fans or media would have you believe. Madison Square Garden, while historic and popular, is actually quite the mediocre facility when compared to newer, more modern alternatives.
Last season, the Knicks did manage to acquire Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony as pieces for a potential run. However, management failed to recognize that it takes more than two good players to win.
This may be a moot discussion given the treacherous state of NBA labor discussions. However, Knicks fans have their place as some of the most delirious in sports.
Be careful what you wish for, Texas A&M.
Your move from the Big 12 to the SEC is lauded as a great decision by Aggie administration. Texas A&M gets to move to the powerhouse conference while simultaneously leaving the conference controlled by Texas and its selfish television contract.
Well, I and many other critics are here to tell you Aggie fans that the joke is on you. The Aggies are a combined 58-78-6 against SEC competition. Much of that was before the SEC began its annual domination of the national title picture.
If Texas A&M fans think the grass is greener on the other side in terms of success on the field, think again.
You might just be delusional.
Philadelphia Eagles fans are delusional in that they honestly believe booing their own team helps matters on the field.
I guess that's why they do it so often.
Its not like the Eagles are a bad team either. Philadelphia is annually a contender for the NFC East division crown.
Yet every time I tune in to an Eagles game in Philadelphia, I hear loud jeers against the home team.
I will give them this, though: It appears to be deserved in 2011.
In the NFL, what defines "America's Team?"
Perhaps it is defined by annual underachieving despite overwhelming talent. Maybe it is awarded to the organization with the largest stadium or biggest JumboTron.
Throw in a geographically diverse fanbase, of which many fans have no affiliation with the Cowboys other than being fair-weather, and you have the Dallas Cowboys.
Why there are so many fair-weather fans of the Cowboys is beyond me, seeing as how the Cowboys have not been a threat for the Super Bowl in recent memory.
By the way, Tony Romo is a great quarterback. Please stop debating on whether Romo is the franchise signal-caller. Should Romo depart, you will think mediocrity when the Cowboys are 4-12.
Fans of the Dallas Cowboys should lie low until Dallas can win a playoff game. That could be this year, so the wait may not be too long.
Country roads, take Mountaineer fans home and back to reality.
West Virginia is not an elite program yet.
You wouldn't believe it from the high expectations set by fans in Morgantown on a yearly basis. Fans of the Mountaineers expect annual trips to BCS bowls.
Actually, I do too given the weakness of the Big East conference.
Nonetheless, West Virginia has disappointed in 2011, and if fans are under the impression that the Mountaineers are going to compete for a Big 12 title in year one, they too are delusional.
Delusion does not even begin to explain the reason why Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the most popular driver in NASCAR.
He has not won a race in 110 starts. That is essentially three full seasons.
Yet if you are prone to attending NASCAR races, you are well aware that 75 percent of the crowd is in staunch support of No. 88.
Maybe it's because of his late father, Dale Earnhardt. Either way, the performance on the track for the younger Earnhardt doesn't merit the fan attention Junior receives week to week.