As is the case for many fans of professional sports teams, not just the NFL, I do not and have not lived in the same state as my favorite team. According to market research, more than half of the fans of major U.S. sports teams are what they call “displaced fans,” meaning they support teams that are not in their immediate state. Between the rise of technology platforms and the recent pandemic, this has caused more and more Americans to enjoy sports from the comfort of their living room.
And for some of us, it’s just always been that way.
Speaking for myself, it’s always been an enjoyable experience to watch Falcons games at home. I live in central Florida, which isn’t too far from Atlanta, but far enough that I don’t drive up for a game every weekend. Thanks to technology, I can watch Falcons games from home, which gives me the flexibility to pick my game day food and not deal with traffic on the way in or out.
My game day experience (assuming it’s a 1 p.m. ET start) normally consists of waking up at 10 a.m., looking at my fantasy football lineups, deciding which Falcons jersey I’m going to wear (I have a lot to choose from) and then which food I’d like to enjoy while watching. I’m not a picky eater by any means, but I do have some favorite dishes that act as a comfort food to me while watching such as:
- Nachos with queso
- BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich
- Turkey sub
- Cheese pizza with pepperoni and black olives
It’s important, at least for me, that whatever you decide to eat during the game, it’s not too messy to where it takes your attention from the television screen. For example, I love Buffalo wings, but I rarely indulge while watching the Falcons play because the mess that comes along with it can be distracting. Additionally, it’s difficult to get a Buffalo sauce stain out of a football jersey.
One thing about being a Falcons fan is that you basically have to be loyal. With everything that this team has thrown at us over the several decades of below-average success, you must be. The Falcons community is arguably (and we might be a bit biased) one of the best in the NFL. Although scattered throughout the U.S., they follow their Falcons no matter what the season’s inevitable sad ending will look like.
We talked to some fans about what their home Falcons viewing experience looks like.
“I usually watch the Falcons at home in my man cave. Reason why I don’t eat is because watching the Falcons can make your stomach upset at times, haha. I’m more superstitious when watching the Falcons. If they are winning, I’m usually sitting on the couch. If they are losing, I’m on the floor in a rally position saying come on Falcons!” – Richard
“As someone who was living in southern Mississippi for the last three football seasons, aka enemy territory, I got used to watching Falcons games at home. So, a lot of my game day traditions revolve around rituals that I can do on my own. The biggest one is clothing, which I think is a common habit among sports fans. Also, being at home during the games means I can easily change wherever superstition gets the best of me. I’ve had a lot of Falcons garb in my lifetime, but I think my luckiest piece is my red Roddy White jersey. It’s a youth large and I got it at a steal! Just great vibes all around. My Todd Gurley jersey, however, I think I’m going to smudge that one with sage before the season starts. For what I think are obvious reasons.” – Katie
“I have a deal struck with my wife that I would be out of service on Sundays once the NFL season begins. So, all of my errands are done by Saturday so that I’m not bothered on football Sunday. My game day typically kicks off by donning my Matt Ryan jersey. I usually try to match jerseys with whatever the Falcons are wearing that weekend, whether they’re home or away. I get ready by 7 a.m. and park myself on the coziest spot in my couch and turn on NFL Network and watch as the commentators insult my guys in red, black and white. An hour before kickoff, I typically blast music from all Atlanta-based rappers to get hyped up for the game. Once the game begins, I go silent. I don’t move from my spot if things are going well, but when they usually aren’t, you can find me interacting with folks on Twitter. If we win, I am in a terrific mood for the rest of the week. If we lose, I make sure that I don’t watch a second of highlights.” – Vin
Although we may all come from different walks of life and have our own unique, and perhaps quirky, traditions for viewing our Falcons, we are all fans. Whether we win or lose, at the end of the day I will always be a fan.
The little things that go into enjoying football on Sundays just make it that much more special. What’s great about these traditions is that they’re something I can pass along to my future child, just as my dad passed down the love of the game to me.