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How to Choose an NFL Football Team to Support

Eric is a lifelong fan of NFL football who has followed the game for over 40 years.

Terrible Towels fly at Heinz Field as Steeler Nation roots for their team.

Terrible Towels fly at Heinz Field as Steeler Nation roots for their team.

NFL football is huge in the United States, and its popularity around the world increases every season. It is a colorful game packed with drama, heroes, and even a few villains. There is no wonder it has fans of just about every background glued to their televisions and crammed into stadiums every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday.

Rooting for a team makes the NFL experience even more exciting. You become part of the game, a member of a community of like-minded people all pulling in the same direction. You may have nothing in common with the person sitting next to you in the stadium, but if you are wearing the same color jerseys, you are family.

For many fans, choosing a team to support is easy. I was born into Steeler Nation, and I will die a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. That’s the way it is, as sure as the sky is blue.

If you don’t have that kind of foundation established early in life, how do you pick a team to get behind? This article will give you a few things to think about, and hopefully help you decide.

Hey, this is an important decision, right up there with choosing a college, getting married, or buying a house.

Actually, I take that back. Those things are often temporary. Your NFL team is forever.

Choose Your Team by Location

Most people choose their team by their hometown or region. This makes for some great rivalries around the country. When your home team does well, you can carry those bragging rights into the offseason. A successful season can often lift the spirits of an entire community.

Of course, you personally will never make a tackle, complete a pass, or score a touchdown. But, never underestimate the positive impact on players when their home stadium is rocking with wild fans every game. Homefield advantage is a real thing, and the fans are part of the reason.

Here is a list of the NFL teams and their cities, organized by state. Is one of them close enough to where you live to merit adoption?

NFL Teams By State and City

* While the Giants and Jets are New York teams, they both play their home games in New Jersey.

StateCityTeam

Arizona

Phoenix

Arizona Cardinals

California

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Rams

California

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Chargers

California

San Francisco

San Francisco 49ers

Colorado

Denver

Denver Broncos

Florida

Miami

Miami Dolphins

Florida

Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars

Florida

Tampa

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Georgia

Atlanta

Atlanta Falcons

Illinois

Chicago

Chicago Bears

Indiana

Indianapolis

Indianapolis Colts

Louisiana

New Orleans

New Orleans Saints

Maryland

Baltimore

Baltimore Ravens

Maryland

Washington, D.C.

Washington Football Team

Massachusetts

Boston

New England Patriots

Michigan

Detroit

Detroit Lions

Minnesota

Minneapolis

Minnesota Vikings

Missouri

Kansas City

Kansas City Chiefs

New Jersey*

New York

New York Giants

New Jersey*

New York

New York Jets

New York

Buffalo

Buffalo Bills

Nevada

Las Vegas

Las Vegas Raiders

North Carolina

Charlotte

Carolina Panthers

Ohio

Cincinnati

Cincinnati Bengals

Ohio

Cleveland

Cleveland Browns

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee

Nashville

Tennessee Titans

Texas

Dallas

Dallas Cowboys

Texas

Houston

Houston Texans

Washington

Seattle

Seattle Seahawks

Wisconson

Green Bay

Green Bay Packers

NFL Fans in Other Countries

What about viewers in other countries? Canadians have their own pro football league going on, up there is the Great White North, but some fans adopt the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, or Buffalo Bills as their NFL home teams.

For NFL fans in the UK, think about throwing your support to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags contracted to play a “home” game in London every season from 2012 to 2020. That contract has expired, but who knows what the future might bring.

The Dallas Cowboys are known as "America's Team"

The Dallas Cowboys are known as "America's Team"

Go With a Winner

Some fans just love a champion. This is why you see people wearing New England Patriots jerseys in Miami. It’s infuriating if you are a Dolphins fan, and has no doubt led to more than a few harsh words.

If you choose a team by this method, be warned: The NFL is a league of ebbs and flows. A champion today may be a bottom dweller tomorrow. Choose a team you can commit to for the long haul.

Here are some of the best teams in NFL history based on wins:

Top NFL Teams by All-Time Winning Percentage

TeamsWin %

Green Bay Packers

.573

Dallas Cowboys

.571

Baltimore Ravens

.566

Chicago Bears

.564

New England Patriots

.562

Top NFL Teams by Super Bowl Wins

TeamWinsLosses

Pittsburgh Steelers

6

2

New England Patriots

6

5

San Francisco 49ers

5

2

Dallas Cowboys

5

3

Green Bay Packers

4

1

New York Giants

4

1

Tom Brady helped the Patriots rack up six Lombardi Trophies.

Tom Brady helped the Patriots rack up six Lombardi Trophies.

Get Behind a Lovable Loser

Some NFL teams have had terrible luck over the past few decades. No matter what they do, they can't seem to make it to the big game.

Rest assured, their time will come, and you might want to be there when it does. It is easy to cheer for the Patriots, Buccaneers, Chiefs, or other winning teams, but there is something special about seeing an underdog team finally win a Super Bowl. For the fans of that team, it is extra special.

Here are a few teams that will have their days in the sun soon enough:

Perennial Underdogs

These teams have never been to the Super Bowl.

  • Cleveland Browns
  • Detroit Lions
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
The Cleveland Browns are one of four NFL teams who never made it to a Super Bowl.

The Cleveland Browns are one of four NFL teams who never made it to a Super Bowl.

Make Your Decision by Team Colors

While it is a bit beyond my understanding, some fans decide what NFL team they will support based on their favorite colors. Others prefer teams with an old-school, hard-scrabble look.

As a Steelers fan, my team’s uniforms have remained generally unchanged for my entire lifetime. Aside from the facemask color and the jersey number font, they really haven’t seen an update. I kind of like the classic NFL uniforms, but I will admit some teams have adopted really sharp uniforms in recent years.

Here are (in my opinion) the teams with the coolest uniforms in the NFL today.

Top 5 Modern Uniforms

Here are some of the best uniform redesigns over the past few years:

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (home powder blue, based on the AFL Chargers)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (away white and dark blue)
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Los Angeles Rams
  5. Buffalo Bills
The Chargers' powder blue home uniforms (left) look fantastic!

The Chargers' powder blue home uniforms (left) look fantastic!

Top 5 Classic Uniforms

These old-school team uniforms have hardly changed for decades.

  1. Cleveland Browns
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Chicago Bears
  5. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts' uniforms have changed little since the days of Johnny Unitas in the '50s and '60s.

The Colts' uniforms have changed little since the days of Johnny Unitas in the '50s and '60s.

5 Most Colorful Uniforms

If a shock of color or shiny helmets is what you like, these teams might be perfect for you:

  1. Seattle Seahawks (neon green alternate)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (purple)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (red)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (silver)
  5. New Orleans Saints (gold)
You either love or hate the Seahawks' alternate neon green uniforms.

You either love or hate the Seahawks' alternate neon green uniforms.

Choose Your Team Based on Legacy

Most NFL teams have storied histories. Some are known for their toughness and grit, others for the role they played in shaping the league, and still others for their pursuit of perfection. Some are known as underdogs, who rarely make the playoffs.

Here are a few lists to consider if you intend to choose your team based on their history, good or bad.

Toughest Teams

All NFL teams are tough, but these teams (and their fans) have cultivated reputations as the meanest on the block:

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Philadelphia Eagles

Classic Franchises

Here are 9 old-school NFL Franchises with histories dating back to the early days of the NFL.

  • Chicago Bears
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Detroit Lions
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Washington Football Team
  • New York Giants

Almost Champions

These were some of the best teams of all time, but lost every Super Bowl they played in:

  • Buffalo Bills (4)
  • Minnesota Vikings (4)
  • Atlanta Falcons (2)
  • Carolina Panthers (2)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (2)
  • Arizona Cardinals (1)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (1)
  • Tennessee Titans (1)

Stick With Your New Team 'til the End!

NFL football is fun to watch, especially when you are pulling for your favorite team. Hopefully, this article helped you get a step or two closer to choosing that NFL team you can support. Once you make your decision, there is one more important piece of advice to keep in mind. Whatever team you choose to root for, stick with them through good times and bad.

It's easy to be a fan of an NFL team when they are winning. However, every team goes through those bad spells where it seems like they will never get to the Super Bowl ever again.

If you hang in there, your team will eventually come around, and that will make that Super Bowl championship seem that much sweeter. Imagine how great it will feel for a Cleveland Browns or Detroit Lions fan when their team is finally holding up that Lombardi Trophy.

It will happen, eventually.

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