Attendees wave Oakland Raiders flags as fans cheer during a National Football League (NFL) game between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico, on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. The NFL has partnered with Mexico's Ministry of Tourism to announce an agreement to play three regular-season games in Mexico from 2019 through 2021, with the Ministry highlighting the importance of economical benefits that sporting events bring to the country's tourism sector. Photographer: Cesar Rodriguez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Let’s be honest, no sports franchise is going to survive without fans. This being said, what is it that makes a fan, and what proves they are real?

In the NFL there are many nicknames for fan bases. The Steelers Nation, the “Dawg Pound,” “Cheese-Heads.” The list goes on for all the teams. What’s the difference between one group or another?

Well there are the die-hard fans, the ones that no matter what, no matter how many losses, no matter how many dumb plays, they are fans of their team through everything. These are the lifelong fans, whether their teams wins or loses.

Then there are what we call the “fake fans.” The ones who don’t really seem to understand the game. These are the fans who get upset at every single missed opportunity to the point of, fire this guy and trade that guy. Annoying, sure, especially when the team is still winning games, but all these people can do is find fault. You have to question if they even really like the sport or if they just like to have something to complain about. Of course, sometimes you do need to make changes on a team, but there is no such thing as perfection in a NFL game.

Then of course we have the bandwagon jumpers. Oh these silly people. Where were you in the years that the team you love so much now was suffering and had no one to cheer for them? You know who loves these fans? The owners of the teams. Why? Merchandizing of course, for every bandwagon you jump on you need new jerseys, hats, everything. Who hates these fans? The real fans, those who have been with the team from the beginning. Every bad season, every heartbreak, every bad draft pick, every bad decision. Real fans are with their team forever. They bleed the colors of their team and wins are sweetened and losses softer because they have the others in the fan base to talk and reminisce with.

Are you a fan because it is your local team? Because your family was a fan of the team and you are carrying on the tradition? Or have you made your own decision for better or worse and sit in your living room or den. Screaming at the tv convinced if you yell loud enough they will hear you. You know who loves you? The teams, and especially the players who know without fans their dream of playing their sport would never happen.

So let’s all take a moment to enjoy being a fan and have a great week in sports.

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Hi there, I am a 48 year old sports addict, football being what my year revolves and a diehard black and gold girl. In addition to writing about sports I also write action/adventure books, and am a wife and mother of three and work as a mail carrier. Doing what I do, and talking with many sports fans I have what I feel is a unique perspective on the sports scene. I love any and all feedback and hope you enjoy what you read.