sports gazette

My first season as an NFL fan

Published: 6 Feb 2017

Before this season, my relationship with the NFL was pretty much non-existent.

Outside of attending a few American Football training sessions at university, filming at a couple of university-level games and watching the last few Super Bowls, I couldn't really say I had any interest in the sport at all.

For me, it was long and tedious and I held many stereotypical views about the sport, including it being rugby with too much padding and adverts. This season however I swore I’d try and learn as much as I could about the sport in an attempt to broaden my sporting knowledge.

I’d learnt most of what I knew from TV shows such as ‘The League’ and films like ‘The Longest Yard’ amongst many others so I had no idea which teams were actually any good and worth supporting.

Following the logic that if I had a team to follow, I might enjoy it more, I set about finding the right team for me. I settled on the Los Angeles Rams. With the help of the internet's ‘If Premier League teams were NFL teams’ advice, I discovered that Watford are apparently just like the 1999 Super Bowl Champions.

Having just moved back to Los Angeles after a 20-year spell in St Louis (a concept that is still strange to me), I began to research my side. I liked the colours that they played in, and they were similar to Watford in how they hadn’t actually done anything of note for many years.

My decision to start following the Rams came after the first week of the season so I fortunately missed out on an awful 28-0 defeat by San Francisco. I guess it’s probably a good thing I didn’t watch that one as I probably wouldn’t have bothered tuning in for week two.

Not that week two was much better. The result may have been a win against the division favourite Seattle Seahawks but my god was it boring. My Rams side won 9-3 but no touchdowns made for a pretty dull affair.

The next two games are what got me hooked: a 37-32 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where I fell a little bit in love with Todd Gurley after he scored two touchdowns and another win against the Arizona Cardinals the following week, with the winning score coming with less than three minutes left on the clock.

I couldn’t believe it. My first year following the NFL and my new side had made their best start to a season in a decade. It didn’t last. Just one win from the next 12 and the Rams ultimately decided to part ways with Head Coach Jeff Fisher.

Hope, followed by massive disappointment - this was all very Watford - but despite the poor results I began to appreciate the sport further. The athleticism, the technique and the energy are all reasons why I now class myself as an NFL fan.

If you’d have said to me last year I’d spend Christmas Eve watching the LA Rams lose 22-21 to the San Francisco 49ers following a last-minute two-point conversion, I wouldn’t have even known what that meant.

Throwing it all away in the last minute is also something I’ve grown accustomed to in my lifetime as a Watford fan and although it has been pretty tough watching my team put in one terrible performance after another, I can’t say I’ll be switching allegiances any time soon.

Following an incredible 2017 Super Bowl, I experienced something I never thought I would. Now, I was the one explaining something to a friend. It was an incredible finale full of all kinds of drama, it’s just a shame I have to wait until September before next season - and its inevitable disappointment - starts once again.

^ Back to top ^