Dating is serious business. If you’re an NFL fan, there’s another aspect of dating that might derail any hope of starting a relationship: your fandom. There are lines that fans won’t cross no matter how great the girl or guy is. Many fans of opposing teams may refuse to date one another.
We surveyed over 2,900 football fans to find out how a person’s NFL fandom might affect their dating habits.
Unsurprisingly, fans of divisional rival teams are hesitant to date one another. Fifty percent of Baltimore Ravens fans won’t give a Steelers fan the time of day. Dating is clearly off the table for the fans of opposing AFC teams.
Fans of the Chicago Bears come in second place, with over 45 percent of them preferring to not date Packers fans. Fans of the Los Angeles (formerly St. Louis) Rams aren’t too interested in the fans of their rival team, the Niners, with nearly 44 percent of them against any chance of romance. Forty percent of Vikings fans are unwilling to date Packers fans, and nearly 40 percent of Chiefs fans will definitely not date Raiders fans.
The rest of the top 10 dating rivalries run along a similar vein, with most being division rivals. However, even the fans of non-division rivals can turn their nose up at one another, particularly with fans of the Houston Texans, where 44 percent of them won’t date Cowboys fans. Too close to home, possibly? Despite not being division rivals, Ravens fans aren’t too affectionate toward Patriots fans – our survey shows that 42 percent of Ravens fans won’t date Pats fans.
Pray to the Football Gods
Faith or football? That’s the question some fans have to ask themselves when it comes to dating. For 68 percent of Philadelphia Eagles fans, becoming a fan of their team was more important than switching religions. Over 62 percent of Jaguars fans and 60 percent of Colts fans placed football before their religion, as well.
Fans of other teams may not be quite as extreme, but nearly 58 percent of Steelers fans still preferred like-minded sports enthusiasts with different religious backgrounds than fans of other football teams. The rest of the top 10 fan bases that valued football over religion included the Bills, Cardinals, Broncos, Rams, Redskins, and Patriots.
Endure Celibacy or Date a Rival Fan?
Baltimore Ravens fans, again, are No. 1 on a “would you rather” list. This time, nearly a quarter of them would rather live without sex for an entire year than date a fan of a rival team. That’s the epitome of dedication! Chicago Bears fans aren’t too far behind, with more than a fifth saying they’d do without, rather than date a rival fan. Houston Texans fans feel the same, with exactly 20 percent saying, “Nope,” and Bills fans are right behind them at just under 20 percent.
Other fan bases on the list weren’t quite ready to give up sex for a year, though over 12 percent of each agreed that celibacy would be better than dating a fan of a rival team. More than 16 percent of Falcons fans would choose to go without sex instead of dating a rival fan, along with nearly 15 percent of Saints fans, Dolphins fans, and fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Detroit Lions fans and Arizona Cardinals fans sit at the bottom of the top 10, with less than 13 percent of respondents, for both, choosing to sacrifice sex for a year instead of linking up with a member of the rival fan base.
Switch Political Parties or Date a Rival Fan?
When it comes to NFL fandom, a surprising number of respondents said they’d actually cross party lines and vote for the opposing candidate rather than date a fan of a rival team. While it’s not as extreme as, say, cutting off your finger, it’s still a sign of serious commitment to an NFL team.
The most avid fans willing to change political affiliation in honor of their favorite teams are those of the Buffalo Bills, where nearly 30 percent would rather support a different political party than date a Pats, Dolphins, or Jets fan. Texans fans are right behind at nearly 27 percent, followed by a quarter of Rams fans.
Other fan bases that would rather switch political sides than date a fan of a rival team include Atlanta Falcons fans (23 percent), Cleveland Browns fans (20 percent), Baltimore Ravens fans (20 percent), Cincinatti Bengals fans (19 percent), Kansas City Chiefs fans (nearly 19 percent), and Chicago Bears fans (18 percent).
The Most and Least Dateable Fan Bases
Sports success leads to many favorable outcomes – glory, trophies, legendary moments, and even more legendary fan bases. It also happens to breed a healthy competition between fan bases of rival teams.
The recently relocated Los Angeles Rams ranked as having the most dateable fans. With only 2.08 percent of fans deeming them to be “undateable,” perhaps the team’s lack of playoff football for more than a decade has softened people’s hearts. This seems evident with other teams that rounded out the top five – the Lions, Cardinals, Bills, and Chargers – combining for a 43.75 percent win percentage in the 2016 season.
The New England Patriots – winners of the most recent Super Bowl and owners of five Lombardi Trophies (and almost yearly playoff appearances for the last two decades) – seem to have the fans with the most shade thrown their way from other fan bases. They easily clinched the top spot as the most undatable fan base – a resounding 17 percent of survey respondents said that they’d never date a Pats fan. The team has gone to the Super Bowl a league-record nine times, which is great for fans of the team, but may have contributed to a sour taste on the tongues of other fan bases.
Unlike the Pats, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t had as much luck recently, but the team did have a solid run in the ‘90s (including three Super Bowl wins and some of the most renown NFL players), making them a household name and earning them thousands of fans across the country. That seems to be a point of contention as far as the dating pool goes, though, as just over 13 percent of respondents said “no way” when asked if they’d ever date a Cowboys fan.
Other “undatable” team fan bases, according to our survey, are those of the Steelers, Packers, Falcons, Raiders, Seahawks, Giants, Broncos, and 49ers.
NFL Dating Deal Breakers
If you’re an NFL fan, you know that some rivalries run extremely deep, and divisiveness between the fandoms may be impossible to overlook when it comes to dating. A deep-rooted dislike of another team means you may not be down to date a fan of one of those teams. Our results suggest this to be fairly prevalent in the NFL world. Luckily, no matter which NFL team you’re rooting for this fall, you can grab some pretty sweet gear to represent in at Fanatics.