As I walked into work, the Bears and Giants game was playing on the big screen so I knew it was going to be busy.
The purple fluorescent light that hung along the wall gleamed off the piles of emptied beer glasses and mugs. The bar was starting to fill up with people eager to catch the game.
As football season gears up, more people stroll into the sports bar wearing jersey and t-shirts in a dizzying array of colors and mascots. The chatter turns to debates about quarterbacks, defense, and wagers on which teams are going to win their divisions.
This is what I love about Alaska;
You can support pretty much any NFL team you want.
Sure, you are going to get grief if your team isn’t doing well, but you’re not going to get beat up in a parking lot for wearing your team’s jersey either.
There are several unique aspects about living in the Last Frontier. The landscape, the weather, the fact that we’re bigger than any other state (especially Texas) and the lack of a football team sets us apart from any other state.
This gives residents the freedom to cheer for any other team with very little criticism.
Alaska has the most diverse population of NFL fans I’ve ever seen in one place. You’d be hard-pressed to find a fan that doesn’t have a story of how they came to support their team.
Maybe they used to live in that team’s state or they grew up cheering for that team. Maybe they know one of the athletes.
Some residents have lived here their whole lives and jump on a bandwagon for a new team each season.
My short curly blond-haired government teacher in high school was a dedicated Eagles fan, and proud of it. She plastered her classroom with almost as many Eagle’s headlines and posters as there were presidents of the U.S. She would frequently offer extra credit if you could admit they were the “best team” or could give positive stats from that weeks game.
Giants fan were idiots and guaranteed to flunk.
Alaskans can freely fly their own team’s colors without any concern for their safety, a freedom that is a rarity in the Lower 48.
You wouldn’t walk around in Minnesota wearing a Green Bay hat. You wouldn’t fly a Broncos flag in front of your house if you lived in Oakland or you life might actually be in danger. You don’t wear Redskin maroon and gold through the streets of Dallas.
This is common sense and an unspoken rule that applies no matter what region you’re from.
In one 2011 preseason game between the 49ers and Raiders, a brawl broke out between fans in the stadium. A man was beaten unconscious in a bathroom, and a post-game shooting in the parking lot left two injured.
So all you Alaskan football fans out there, embrace your unique freedom and cheer loud for your respective teams.
However, anyone who knows anything knows that the Denver Broncos are where it’s at. Orange crush!