“When you become a part of a new family, you definitely adopt their way of life, customs and football teams if you’re in their world. I don’t get the Roethlisberger guy in the commercial however. That just seems strange that someone would adopt a team like that with no familial motivations.”
In probably what was a brilliant marketing scheme, the NFL Shop commercial featuring the Vikings, Bengals, Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys family, did its job.
Everyone is violently agitated by the spot every time it runs during games. And it runs a lot. I’m fairly certain once the commercial became the ire of all football fans, for featuring a seemingly front-running, band wagon family, the powers that be in the NFL demanded it run during every break. Simply because people hate it and don’t think a family like that exists.
But I’m here to tell you, nay admit to you, that these kinds of families exist. How do I know? Because I belong to one.
I asked the guys at South Stands Denver if I could tell my story because I was hurt by all of the negative comments thrown toward a family like this. Since I grew up in one, I wanted to tell people that it does happen and we’re not the monsters you make us out to be. Thankfully, I was allowed to tell my story. Here now is the tale of a Bears-Bucs-Eagles-Lions-Broncos family.
My father grew up in Chicago and was a diehard Bears fan until he moved my family to Florida in the early 80’s. I was only four, so I don’t remember growing up in a Bears household, but I do recall the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the team of choice in the suburb of Tampa I grew up in. Sure, they were awful, but since my friends rooted for them, I did too. My dad was alright with this, but the 85 Bears complicated things, and being a kid, I became a Bears fan during this time. My Bears fandom was ignited then: partially due to their success, but mostly because I watched my father cry when the Bears won the Superbowl. I still rooted for the Bucs, and definitely cheered them later on from Michigan when they won the Superbowl. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My brother went off to college at Temple and just like soaking up the local flavor of Tampa, he became an Eagles fan. It helped that (just like in the commercial) he met a girl from the area and settled down with her. He already had a split Bears/Bucs allegiance so mixing in the Eagles was no problem for him. In fact, it kind of had to happen because his wife’s family was not very open to a new family member with allegiances to other NFC teams. He now lives in suburban Philadelphia and has raised his children as Eagles fans.
I went to school at the University of Michigan and met the same fate: I met my future wife and quickly discovered I needed to adopt the Lions as my team, at least on the surface, to make my future wife and in-laws happy. I guess that’s the one area of the NFL Shop commercial I can relate to. When you become a part of a new family, you definitely adopt their way of life, customs and football teams if you’re in their world. I don’t get the Roethlisberger guy in the commercial however. That just seems strange that someone would adopt a team like that with no familial motivations.
But I can relate to having kids and seeing them flank their grandfather, the Bears fans, at Christmas wearing their various gear from other teams. That was something from the commercial that I’ve seen up close.
But what about the Broncos you say? Well, my wife and I moved from Michigan to Colorado about eight years ago and have now added another team to the roster: The Denver Broncos. My kids, who are now in junior high, did exactly what I did when I moved to Tampa and have adopted the Broncos because that’s what their friends are in to. It doesn’t hurt that the Broncos are a good team. My wife and I are fine with it and still root for our teams, but if the Broncos do well, it’s great for our family in general.
So we truly are a Bears-Bucs-Eagles-Lions-Broncos family. We exist. We are not unicorns. And now that you know we are real, I’d ask you to be kind and realize the many moves, life changes and twists that go into a weird rooting decision like this. And when my children are grown and leave the nest, I’m perfectly fine with them adopting new teams when life makes that imperative. As long as they don’t become Pats fans. I hate those guys.
(author’s name withheld on request)