Who's your alternative NFL team?

This may or may not work, but I’ll put it up and see what happens.

All (or most) football fans have a favorite team, one team of which they are always a fan through thick and thin. Some fans also have an alternate team or two, one(s) which they follow in a non-rabid, casual sort of way. That’s what I want to hear about.

So, who’s your alternative NFL team and why?

Mine is the Ravens. They’re close by and they’re far and away the better team (over the Redskins).

The Giants are my team, but I’ll watch and root for the Ravens (unless they’re playing the Giants!), since I live in Baltimore. They’re a good team and there’s really good spirit for them around here.

I’ve been a Patriots fan all my life, but I went to college in Chicago and lived in the area for about 13 years, so I sort of adopted the Bears.

I probably should have selected the Titans too, my current hometown team.

The right answer is that you guys are nuts if you can switch loyalties based upon circumstance. Pick a team and stick with it. Even after your team is out of the mix and you’re forced to at least sympathize with one team or the other to retain interest you should feel pain in doing so.

As I said in the other thread, once the Steelers are out I will only reluctantly favor a team if I hate the team they’re playing more. When the Giants played the Patriots a few years back I held my nose and backed the Giants. No sooner was the game over than I went back to despising them, because they accomplished the desired result. Same with the Saints last year.

Strangely, it’s the Colts that really taught me the lesson of betrayal and why one should never have an “alternative” team. I actually respected them until last year when they quit on their to-that-point perfect season. When they quit on the Jets with the lead at halftime they closed out Pittsburgh’s season while simultaneously quitting on history. My heart finds the first reprehensible and the rest of me finds the second incredibly offensive. Of course, the bottom line is that “nobody owes any team anything”, something I have been told many times. In that case, only one team is deserving of my loyalty, or even my interest. My interest in other teams now typically lies in hoping they lose, which is an interesting quandary because somebody has to win.

OK, I’m done rambling now. The answer is that if you have an “alternative” team you’re a traitor. Everything else is rationalization for why you choose to be one.

I’m originally from Louisiana, so I still have a soft spot for the Saints.

Other than that, my second favorite team is whoever is playing the Packers. I can also get caught up in individual season narratives for a particular team. For instance, I’ve really enjoyed seeing Michel Vick’s resurgence with the Eagles this year.

I was a Houston Oilers fan, but they no longer exist and by the time the Texans came to town I was no longer living there. Since I live in Chicago now, I am following the Bears but without much fervor and picked them in the poll.

The Packers are my team (and always will be), but I also like the Seahawks and Saints. I’ve been a Seahawks fan since I was in high school (the Zorn / Largent era), and I’ve been a Saints fan since Katrina.

The Colts. I used to get sucked into those epic Brady vs. Manning internet arguments all the time, and backing Manning just sort of became a habit (that, and I was always hoping for more evidence against the “Peyton is a choker” silliness). I have no problem with Brady or the Pats, however, so it doesn’t work both ways.

And liking a second team doesn’t make you a traitor, at least not as long as you don’t claim dual allegiance. The Giants are my team; my relationship with them is qualitatively (not quantitatively) unique. The Colts are just my platonic best friend.

First and foremost I’m a Cowboys fan, but I have a place in my heart for the Chargers as well, because my mother was a SD cheerleader their first season.

I’ve been a Raiders’ fan for 35 years, but when the Jags opened up shop I naturally switched to them (didn’t hurt that the Raiders were in the doldrums at the time). Truest test was their game 2 weeks ago, where I rooted for the Jags, albeit reluctantly and with serious mixed emotions.

Minnesotan living in Chicago.

First choice - Vikings. Second choice - Bears, solely based on the fact that there would be all kinds of craziness and partying around the city if they win the Super Bowl.

The Colts.

One reason: Peyton.

The Titans are my first team, being that I’ve been going to their games ever since they came to town, but after watching Peyton play for UT in college (and being disappointed that the Titans didn’t get him), I’ll watch the Colts just to see him play.

I don’t have one right now. I used to root for the Packers when I needed a backup, but not anymore.

I’m a Chiefs fan that lives in St. Louis and didn’t switch allegiances when the Rams came to town. But now I will happily root for the Rams when not playing the Chiefs.

I live in Northern California, and my parents were always big 49ers fans. I started paying attention to football during the mid-70’s watching the Steelers win Super Bowls. I became, and remain to this day, a Steelers fan, with the 49ers as my ‘alternative’ team.

I don’t have an alternative team per se. I am a Raiders fan first and last. That said, there are other teams that I follow in a sort of fair weather kind of way. For example, I have been following the Texans and the Falcons all year and rooting for each of them to win as long as their games didn’t effect Oakland. This is because I think who these team are this year is interesting (and partially because of the makeup of my fantasy team). They aren’t really my team, but all other things being equal I would be happy to see them win. Next year I might find someone else who is interesting to follow in addition to my team, and it might not be Atlanta or Houston, or I might not.

Bears fan with no real “secondary” affiliation. When I’m not watching my team, I tend to mostly root for the “Cinderella story” teams from year to year - teams that have been in the outhouse for a long time, but are starting to have success. I also like to watch teams that take crazy chances, going for it on 4th, running trick plays, etc.

Four years of college in Baltimore, so I was watching either the Ravens or the Redskins every Sunday. Which is to say my secondary team would be the Ravens, because they were by far the more entertaining team to watch.

No doubt at all about who to root for when they’re playing the Patriots, though.

I grew up in New York, so the Giants have always been my favorite team… but I’ve had many, many secondary favorites over the years, and they change regularly.

In the Sixties and Seventies, I loved the Oakland Raiders, because they played the kind of wide-open, deep-passing game I’ve always loved. (I know, I know… the Giants have traditionally been a dull team built around defense and the ground game… I rooted for them SOLELY because they were the local team! I’d never pick a team like the Giants as my secondary favorite.

After they moved to Los Angeles, I lost all respect for the Raiders. I remained a Giants fan, but started liking the Broncos a lot. Again, as time went by, I started rooting for Kurt Warner’s Rams, Peyton Manning’s Colts, anybody with an exciting, high-scoring offense. LAST year’s Super Bowl was a treat for me, because it featured two of my secondary favorites.

Is it possible, even likely that I’l start rooting for some completely DIFFERENT teams, if they ever get exciting young QBs? Sure! There are only a few teams I’m SURE I’ll NEVER ever root for: the Steelers, the Patriots, the Eagles and the Redskins.