NFL Traveling Fanbases, Ranked by Tier

All thirty-two NFL teams’ fanbases, ranked in Tiers 1 through 5 by how well their fans travel to road games.

Since every sportswriter with a cable modem is doing Rankings(!) and since the NFL schedule is released today, here are my Very Amateur Rankings of TOP NFL TRAVELING FANBASES

Tier 1: Packers, Steelers, Raiders

Other teams jack up prices & have their buildings overwhelmed by the traveling fans of Tier 1 teams. Being a fan of one of these teams is great in the sense that you always have plenty of support when traveling to road games. In another sense, it sucks because you always have to pay inflated ticket prices. (Something the Los Angeles-based author is all too familiar with, as his brother is a deep Packers fan from Milwaukee, and they meet up for one Packers road game each season.)

Tier 2: Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Bears

High prices, noticeable road fan contingents, but rarely overwhelm the home crowd. Not saying home crowd overwhelmings can’t happen, but they are reserved for downtrodden fanbases, a la Patriots fans taking over the Redskins stadium last season.

Tier 2.75: Rams, Chargers, Jets, Giants

These cities are too good. A major aspect of having a great traveling fanbase is having a city that people want to leave. Who wants to leave New York or Los Angeles? Certainly not millennial hipsters. If these cites were mediocre like Chicago and Boston, their traveling fanbases would likely join them in Tier 2. In reality, their fans travel like Tier 4, or lower.

Tier 3: Broncos, Vikings, Texans, 49ers

Similar to Tier 2, but prices are a bit lower, road fan contingent is a little smaller. Road fan traveling starts to get dicey in Tier 3. For example, a Broncos game in Los Angeles or Kansas City will surely see thousands of fans in Orange & Blue. In Jacksonville or Buffalo? Likely only a smattering of those two complimentary colors.

Tier 3.33: Dolphins, Redskins

Sleeping giants. These fanbases could end up in Tier 2 very quickly — or at least Tier 3 — if the franchise gets good. The 49ers used to be in this tier, before their Colin Kaepernick-led resurgence. Teams in Tier 3.33 have the added issue of recent Championship success by other teams in the market: Miami Heat, Washington Capitals & Nationals.

Tier 4: Chiefs, Browns, Seahawks, Colts, Ravens, Saints, Bills

What separates Tier 3 from Tier 4? Not too much, really. Tier 4 is the last tier where road fans are capable of overwhelming the home crowd. (Though it rarely happens.) What puts Tier 4 teams a step below Tier 3 is the fact that some games featuring Tier 4 road teams will have very few visiting fans. Tier 3 teams almost always have a noticeable traveling fan presence somewhere in the stadium.

Tier 4.5 (SEC country): Falcons, Titans, Jaguars, Panthers, Bucs

Not much to add here. These fans would rather drive the RV to Tuscaloosa or Talladega than fly to Detroit.

Tier 5: Bengals, Cards, Lions

Bad news: you’re in the bottom tier of traveling NFL fanbases. Good news: all you need is 30 years of Brett Favre-followed-by-Aaron-Rodgers to reach Tier 1.

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