Don’t be a bandwagon jumper

It’s that time of the year, the beginnings of the football season. TV watchers everywhere are blessed with being able to watch the CFL, American College football and the NFL.
For people like me, Sunday now truly takes on the meaning of the Sabbath: a day of rest to watch football and not do much else. I have been a true football fan since as long as I can remember; a lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills (let the heckling begin).

Nothing marks the beginning of the football season like the beginning of the rush of pretend football fans to jump on their respective bandwagons. Judging by the start of the season I don’t think it will take a lot of time for the Texans to be everyone’s favourite team.

Arian Foster paraphernalia will suddenly be as popular as Quebec Nordiques jerseys are with the Conservative caucus.

This, of course, is hardly an occurrence limited to professional football. In fact, it is probably most common in the NHL, where there are a higher proportion of pretend hockey fans.
There are three types of bandwagon jumpers common to sports, and I will use hockey to illustrate.

The first are long-term jumpers. These are the people that jump onto a team when there is realignment in what I guess could be called the “balance of power” in the league. I know I do not remember hearing or seeing any Blackhawks fans around prior to two years ago.

In football the most obvious example of this are fans of the New England Patriots. Prior to Tom Brady signing on with the Pats and their Super Bowl run when they became dubbed the next “dynasty” no one cheered for the Patriots.

For most of the team’s existence they were more or less seen as a joke, routinely towards the bottom of the AFC East. How things have changed in a few short years. As the Patriots are further and further way from their string of Super Bowl victories it remains to be seen if these convert fans will stick around. I’m betting no.

On the whole though, this is the most acceptable form of bandwagon jumping. Often these people will keep cheering for a team if they have one or two bad seasons until it becomes evident the team is losing steam in the long term. There is at least consistency and a degree of loyalty to the long-term bandwagon jumper.

The second form is the short-term jumper. This is the most common form of bandwagon jumping. Nowhere were there Philadelphia Flyer fans until they came back from a three game deficit to beat the Bruins and advance to the Stanley Cup.

Short-term jumpers tend to either jump on board the hype of a team towards the beginning of the season, or wait until the playoffs to make a choice.

While the two previously mentioned types of “fans” are no doubt very irritating to varying degrees, they do not compare with the final form: the Leafs fan. How can a fan of a particular team be a bandwagoner?

Leafs fans manage to jump off and on the bandwagon of their own team after every game.
Every win and the jerseys come out and playoff speculation begins and with every loss are the shrill cries to fire the coach, manager and whoever else they point to for their failure. Ironically it is this pressure that ensures the management never takes the time to develop a team properly.

Leafs “fans” are no doubt the epitome of the irritating bandwagon jumper. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh. Wait, no I’m not.

So as the football season begins this year don’t be one of those irritating bandwagoners that real sports fans roll their eyes at. Pick a team and stick with them through thick and thin, even through a Scott Norwood wide right, four lost Super Bowls in a row, the Music City Miracle and a lack of playoff appearance since 1999.

You, however, don’t have to be a masochist and cheer for the Buffalo Bills, but if you insist on getting on the Texan bandwagon, do us all a favour and stay on for the ride.