Steelers, Cowboys and NFL teams I won't be a lifelong fan of in 2019: "The FANtasy" Episode 1 recap

Sports fandom is much like a relationship. It’s not always easy. It comes with plenty ups and downs. If you’ve spent any time on planet earth, you know that love is complicated, as is the journey of being a fan of an NFL team.

I grew up a Carolina Panthers fan but several years ago, I decided I wasn’t built for the rigors of true NFL fandom. The teams couldn’t hurt me anymore; I was free to roam and just follow my feelings.

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Since I switched my Panthers status from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated,” I’ve just picked a new team to become a lifelong fan of each individual season. Back in 2015-2016, I got on board with the Jacksonville Jaguars (whoops). In 2017, as an attempt to embrace the city I now call home, I took up for the Los Angeles Rams. Last season, I followed Allen Robinson from Jacksonville to Chicago and became a lifelong Bears fan.

With the 2019 season on the horizon, I’m once again on the hunt for the team I’ll be a lifelong fan of this year. However, this year, Yahoo Sports will be producing “The FANtasy,” a five-part documentary series as I consider all 32 teams while they attempt to court me into their fanbase. You can watch the first episode in the video above and read my detailed thoughts on why I broke up with each team from Episode 1 below.

Oh and just to be clear: If this whole thing upsets you, just remember that not only do I know that it does I love that it does.

Here’s a recap of why I cut each of the 17 teams in Episode 1 of “The FANtasy.”

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are the team that first owned my heart, the team I grew up a fan of. Have I forever left the Panthers? It’s hard to say for sure. But, for now, the emotional wilderness is where I roam. Picking a new team to root for every year means that my original love is never truly in the mix. To have a future, one must learn to let the past lie.

How Cam Newton feels knowing I'm not coming back as a Panthers fan again this year, probably. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
How Cam Newton feels knowing I'm not coming back as a Panthers fan again this year, probably. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Detroit Lions

Come on. This was the easiest first cut in the books. Sure, young players like Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay bring a good amount of appeal but we don’t have much to get excited about here. I thought for a moment about maybe rooting for a team that’s a distant fourth on the interesting scale in their own division. However, it was impossible to imagine myself truly backing a team with Matt Patricia at the helm. No chance.

Los Angeles Chargers

For a wandering soul like myself merely looking for stability, a team that feels like a guest in its own home city just isn’t a fit. Frankly, I want a fanbase to make the case as to why I should join their ranks as a lifelong fan for 2019. So far, all three of the Chargers fans haven’t stepped up. I would know, I see all three of them at Rocco’s Tavern in Culver City every time I watch NFL games there.

Atlanta Falcons

I can’t completely forget my past. Just like you may never be able to enjoy the restaurant you and the ex frequented in the same way, I can’t just leave every bit of Panthers fandom behind. I can respect the Falcons if they get their offense rolling this year, especially by fixing the offensive line. It’s a stretch to say I’d ever root for them, though.

Green Bay Packers

Could you all really take me seriously if I jumped on the wagon of a team manned by perhaps the greatest thrower of a football to grace planet earth? You could argue this is the time to do it as they transition out of the Mike McCarthy era. In all reality, there are just too many Packers fans in my life whom I love to troll to make them my team for 2019.

Miami Dolphins

Snooze fest. We don’t even know if this team is going to try and win games this year. I won’t be sticking around to find out. I will say, I think “organically tanking” will be good for Miami in the long run. Much like Cleveland set itself up for success in later years by executing a full teardown, maybe we’re talking about the Dolphins as a top contender for the team I’m a lifelong fan of in 2021 or something.

Tennessee Titans

At about three separate occasions last year, I broke up and got back together with the Titans offense. My workplace proximity associate, Trevor, was wise to point out that I just couldn’t take them on as my team for 2019. After all, this exercise is about avoiding emotional turmoil. Jumping into bed with a team that already proved volatile with my feelings last year screams of a mistake.

Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the NFL’s most annoying teams. Couldn’t take myself seriously if I got on board with a team that’s constantly in the news for dumb little dramas.

Denver Broncos

I don’t think I could have ever imagined capping up for the Broncos as a lifelong fan for 2019. They made the decision even easier when they announced themselves to the new year by trading for Joe Flacco. John Elway is that beautiful but clearly self-destructive stranger across the bar. Maybe if you got yourself together we could make it … but not like this.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were the team I was a lifelong fan of in 2016. Shout out to the Jacksonville fans, their community on Twitter welcomed me with open arms when I fell for the team because of the presence of Allen Robinson. No credit to the actual team, though. Last time I fell for them, they blew it. We aren’t ready to get back together.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals don’t meet any of my qualifications for the team I’ll be a lifelong fan of this year. They are never good. They are always boring. If it was that hard for them to convince a coach to make big money to coordinate their defense, how can they expect to make an even bigger move in courting me as a fan? Get your house in order, please.

New England Patriots

Stop. As you can tell by this whole thing, I am someone who should be taken seriously. I don’t think anyone could take me seriously if I picked the Patriots.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are too good of a team to jump on board with. I like to go into this exercise with the possibility that the team I root for might be a total dive-bomb. Such whimsy wouldn’t be available with the Saints.

Los Angeles Rams

Ah, my once proud love. The Rams are the perfect example of why picking a new team to be a lifelong fan of every year is so wonderful. The upstart LA squad wasn’t on many radars to begin 2017 but when I decided to invest in my new city and root for them that year, it became a joyous ride. Alas, they’re now too in vogue for me to return to them just yet. Our glory days are in the past, LA Rams. I’ll always remember the times we shared. You’re always in my heart.

Dallas Cowboys

For the first time in years, the Cowboys have the makings of a nice young nucleus with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, and the like. We’ll see if they can retain on all those players on big money deals while not messing up the rest of the roster. History says that’s unlikely. I don’t think I’m ready to inherit this lover’s baggage. Also, let’s be real. They’re pretty obnoxious.

Washington Redskins

A snowball rolling through hell; no chance.

Oakland Raiders

Wow. Where to begin? America is a divided nation in many ways. But we all were united in taking gratuitous shots while dunking on Jon Gruden on Twitter last NFL season. While it would be a spectacular heel turn for me to then take up the mantle for his Oakland Raiders, there’s something to be said for authenticity. And there is not one single believable reason one could muster in convincing me to become a lifelong Raiders fan for 2019.

Didn’t see your team listed?

Good news! Your favorite NFL team made it to Episode 2. Be sure to make your case to me on Twitter (@MattHarmon_BYB) as to why I should become a lifelong fan of your squad this season.

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