Picking a New Favorite NFL Team, Part 2

Welcome back! I know all of you have been in eager anticipation for the second half of the “Picking a New Favorite NFL Team” countdown. For those who want a refresher of the first half, click here for the rundown on teams 32 through 17. As a review, the rankings are based on a mix of objective factors such as odds to win the Super Bowl and team popularity, and on my subjective rankings of fun players, good uniforms, and current fan base quality/amiability. The rankings of each of the five categories were averaged together to decide on the overall rankings.

Now that we have gotten the teams to avoid out of the way, it is time to discuss who you really should pick for your new team in 2016.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 12

Popularity Rank: 26

Uniform Rank: 24. Way too much red in these uniforms. They can be pretty hard on the eyes.

Exciting Players Rank: 11. The Chiefs are full of talent. Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, and Travis Kelce lead the offense, while the defense has studs like Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, and Marcus Peters.

Fan Base Rank: 9. Kansas City has some great fans. They fill Arrowhead every season and have one of the loudest crowds you will hear in a pro stadium.

My Take: The Kansas Chiefs would be a sneaky under the radar pick for a new team. This is a roster filled with good players and a team with a solid opportunity to make the playoffs this season. Kudos if you pick KC.

  1. Indianapolis Colts

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 11

Popularity Rank: 18

Uniform Rank: 12. Traditional old school uniforms. Pretty good overall. I am glad they did not give them back to Baltimore though, as you will see later.

Exciting Players Rank: 12. Andrew Luck leads a high octane offense in Indianapolis. This team will score points, especially in the weak AFC South. They would easily crack the top 10 if they gave Luck some more help.

Fan Base Rank: 24. Indianapolis fans are spoiled. They had over a decade of Peyton Manning, then they complain and fail into Andrew Luck right away. They are also recruiting St. Louis fans already. A little suspicious.

My Take: The Colts have been an easy, boring pick over the last 20 years or so. Everyone has had the chance to jump aboard their bandwagon. If you aren’t already a fan, why join now?

  1. Denver Broncos

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 7

Popularity Rank: 4

Uniform Rank: 25. The orange is hideous. The stripes are unnecessary. Their only saving grace is the helmets.

Exciting Players Rank: 19. This ranking seems pretty bad for the Super Bowl champs, but their new quarterback is Mark Sanchez, which brings every offensive player’s excitement down a notch (sorry DT). Their defense will still be amazing, despite a few free agent losses, assuming Von Miller signs and rejoins the team.

Fan Base Rank: 22. While the Broncos have huge fan base in the mountain time zone, I find them pretty annoying. They have also been spoiled by success and will run every QB out of town not named Elway or Manning for the rest of the century.

My Take: Personally, I am not a big Broncos fan. They also JUST won the Super Bowl, so you don’t want to be “that guy” rooting for a team immediately after they won. Wait until next year to pick Denver.

  1. Chicago Bears

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 20

Popularity Rank: 7

Uniform Rank: 13. The Bears have a classic look. As long as they avoid the ugly orange alternates, they are just fine.

Exciting Players Rank: 26. Chicago has fallen on some hard times. Their best offensive players are a combination of oft injured (Alshon Jeffery) and erratic (Jay Cutler). The Monsters of the Midway defense has also been suspect the past few seasons.

Fan Base Rank: 10. Bears fans are a lovable, Midwestern bunch. And they have Ditka.

My Take: The Bears are popular team to root for. They have a long history and a good fan base. While the on field product is struggling lately, they are bound to turn it around in the next few years. You might need to be patient if this is your choice.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 8

Popularity Rank: 25

Uniform Rank: 10. Pretty nice jerseys actually. The black and orange work well together. The incorporate the tiger stripes in as well. Kudos Cincy.

Exciting Players Rank: 13. The Bengals have produced a solid roster over the past few seasons. AJ Green is a monster and their defense is full of studs like Geno Atkins and Vontaze Burfict. Andy Dalton keeps them out of the top 10 though.

Fan Base Rank: 16. Cincinnati fans are okay overall. They suffered through a lot of heartache and finally have a consistent team to root for these days.

My Take: The Bengals stock might have peaked last year, when they should have made a deep playoff run. I think this team will start to regress now, so beware if you want to join the Bengals.

  1. New Orleans Saints

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 25

Popularity Rank: 10

Uniform Rank: 4. Fantastic uniforms. The black and the gold work well together. The logo is unique to New Orleans. Great look.

Exciting Players Rank: 22. Drew Brees is still in town, so the Saints will still be somewhat enjoyable to watch. Fair warning though, their defense may be the worst in football.

Fan Base Rank: 4. Great fans in the Bayou. WHO DAT Nation is strong.

My Take: The Saints great run this past decade is coming to a close, but I won’t talk you out of heading to New Orleans for some football. You can enjoy Bourbon Street, phenomenal food, and the ear-shattering Superdome crowds. I would recommend just a visit though, don’t become a full time fan of the Saints at this juncture.

  1. Baltimore Ravens

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 14

Popularity Rank: 21

Uniform Rank: 2. Some of the best in the business. The purple and black work so well together. The black helmets, black jersey, and black pants combo during night games is such as intimidating look. Hard to beat .

Exciting Players Rank: 23. The Ravens roster has slipped since their Super Bowl run a few years ago. An aging Steve Smith will keep the offense exciting and CJ Mosley and company will do enough to keep the defense afloat. Justin Tucker is also the coolest kicker in the NFL.

Fan Base Rank: 3. Not gonna lie, this is a pure bias pick. As a Ravens fan, I have to keep my guys in the top three. Great fans in Baltimore.

My Take: How can I not invite you to join the Ravens? Definitely a great team and franchise to root for over the years. The roster might not have as much talent as it used to, but Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will keep the team competitive moving forward.

  1. Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 10

Popularity Rank: 1

Uniform Rank: 9. A super clean look. Nothing too fancy, but they always look good out on the field.

Exciting Players Rank: 7. Jerry Jones loves the stars. Tony Romo, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dez Bryant make a frightening three headed trio on offense. They have the best offensive line in football. Sean Lee captains a passable defense as well.  

Fan Base Rank: 32. One of the easiest rankings. Everyone hates Cowboy fans. They are still talking about titles from the 70’s and 90’s. They haven’t won anything lately. Some of the biggest bandwagon fans in all of sports ride for the ‘Boys.

My Take: As enticing as Dallas is, do not become a Cowboys fan. You don’t want to be associated with the bandwagoners and frontrunners. Unless you are already a Yankees, Warriors, and Alabama fan, do not root for “America’s Team”.

  1. New York Giants

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 15

Popularity Rank: 8

Uniform Rank: 7. Big Blue! Classic, old school jerseys. The helmets are great. The home jerseys are very nice, and the away jerseys are solid as well.

Exciting Players Rank: 8. Three words: Odell. Beckham. Junior.

Fan Base Rank: 17. Not nearly as obnoxious as Jets fans in my experience. They are also easily the most pleasant fans in the NFC East, which isn’t saying too much.

My Take: The Giants are the kings of New York. So if that is your town, go with them. They have been pretty consistent over the past few decades, winning multiple Super Bowls with some historic upsets. They are a popular team that plays like underdogs most of the time. A good choice for a new team.

  1. Seattle Seahawks

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 2

Popularity Rank: 6

Uniform Rank: 15. I went back and forth on this one. On one hand, the ‘Hawks jerseys are great and progressive. On the other hand, they can be tough to watch at times, and the all grey is a really bad look.

Exciting Players Rank: 3. Even without Beastmode, this roster is stacked. Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Jimmy Graham on offense. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, and Kam Chancellor on defense. Watch out for Seattle again in 2016.

Fan Base Rank: 27. The “12th Man” has gotten way too full of itself. They went from a cool upstart to constantly in your face about their success. They need to calm down.

My Take: The Seahawks are probably the most trendy team to follow since 2012. They have cool players, distinct jerseys, and have had a ton of success. They even have Macklemore on their side. Everyone loves the Seahawks these days. If you are cool with that, they will be cool with you. If you want to find the next trend, keep reading.

  1. Arizona Cardinals

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 6

Popularity Rank: 11

Uniform Rank: 26. The red is just off putting to me for the most part. They are also trying to do too much and the white helmets aren’t great. A full redesign could help.

Exciting Players Rank: 2. David Johnson. Fitz. John Brown. Nkemdiche. Chandler Jones. Patrick Peterson. Honey Badger. Have mercy.

Fan Base Rank: 7. A surprisingly decent fan base in the desert. The Big Toaster has become one of the best gameday atmospheres. Not to mention Jerry Maguire!

My Take: The only thing holding the Cardinals back in my opinion is their jerseys. If you can look past that or have different fashion sense than me, go for the Cards. They should make a deep run this year and have one of the most ferocious defenses in the NFL. Also, they have never won before, so you wouldn’t be picking a front runner. Go for it!

  1. New England Patriots

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 1

Popularity Rank: 3

Uniform Rank: 11. A nice design overall. Like the Giants, nothing too crazy, but it gets the job done.

Exciting Players Rank: 5. Touchdown Tom Brady and Gronk are enough to put the Pats in the top five on most any list. Love them or hate them, the Pats are always fun to watch.

Fan Base Rank: 30. Have you ever met a Boston sports fan? Exactly.

My Take: Look, I know. The Patriots are one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL and are easy to hate. On the other hand, the NFL has staged a witch hunt on them for two years now over nothing. If there is a time to be on the Patriots side, it’s right now.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 5

Popularity Rank: 5

Uniform Rank: 3. The Black and Gold. A classic. One of the best looks in the league. I think Ravens-Steelers games are made that much better because both teams look so good coming onto the field.

Exciting Players Rank: 1. Pittsburgh has a franchise QB (Big Ben) who either hands it off to the best running back in football (Le’veon Bell) or throws it to the best wide receiver in football (Antonio Brown). Brown is the most exciting player in the league right now and I don’t think its even that close. The Steelers are tough to beat when it comes to star power.

Fan Base Rank: 31. I respect Steelers’ fans loyalty. They show up to home games. They show up to away games. I get all of that. Still, they never stop waving those dang yellow towels. They never stop counting their rings. And as a Ravens fan, they never seem to shut up.

My Take: I love to hate the Steelers, but I have to respect them. They have a winning organization, they play tough football, and they are super fun to watch on offense these days. You know what you are getting with them, but if you want pure excitement, they are a pretty solid choice.

  1. Oakland Raiders

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 13

Popularity Rank: 15

Uniform Rank: 1. Simply the best. Not even a question.

Exciting Players Rank: 9. A shocking plethora of talent for a team that was godawful a few years ago. ACDC (Derek Carr and Amari Cooper) on offense is a great young combo behind their awesome offensive line. Khalil Mack might already be the best defensive player in the league not named Watt. Watch out for the Raiders.

Fan Base Rank: 5. The Black Hole means loyalty and ferociousness. Love the Raider fans. I shudder to think what would happen if they move to Las Vegas.

My Take: Arguably the most shocking ranking on this list, the Raiders are a team on the rise. They might be the best choice on this list if you want to stay ahead of the game. The top two teams are already in the public consciousness, but the Raiders are still up and coming. Hop on board before it’s too late.  

  1. Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 3

Popularity Rank: 2

Uniform Rank: 6. While not the most aesthetically pleasing uniform, they are a classic and have to be in the top ten. Too much history for the Pack.

Exciting Players Rank: 6. Aaron Rodgers is awesome.

Fan Base Rank: 26. I almost feel bad for this poor ranking. I met some Packers fans in San Francisco last year and they were some of the nicest people ever. Frankly, most Pack fans I have met are pretty nice people. Having said that, cheesehead Packers fans can be super annoying. Also, they own the team. And we should know by now not to trust NFL owners.

My Take: The Packers are a great team to follow. They have history, they win, and they have awesome players. They have been one of the top choices for free agent fans for dozens of years and for good reason. I hate to say it, but the Pack are super likable.

  1. Carolina Panthers

Super Bowl Odds Rank: 4

Popularity Rank: 16

Uniform Rank: 5. Great uniforms. Black always works. The blue and silver works nicely too. The Panther is a good logo. It all comes together pretty well.

Exciting Players Rank: 4. Cam Newton is the most exciting QB in the league. Luke Kuechly is the best linebacker and the rest of the defense is fearsome as well. But mostly, CAMMMMMMMMMM!

Fan Base Rank: 8. This might be a little high, but Carolina fans are decent. They are amiable, enjoyable, and still pretty new to professional football. Their millennial fans have now grown up with the Panthers their whole lives and it has shown with the growing quality of its base.

My Take: The Panthers are your new favorite team. They still have not won a Super Bowl, so you are not completely jumping on a winning bandwagon. They are really good though and have great players to cheer on. Trust me, you will love rocking a fresh Cam Newton jersey to the bar watching the Panthers lay waste to the NFC South this season.

-Nick Bair

Photo Credit: Mike McCarn/AP

 

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