I have two favorite NFL teams:
1. The Detroit Lions
2. Whoever is playing San Diego
Here is why:
From 2005 to 2011 I lived in San Diego, with the exception of 2010 spent in North Carolina. I have many good friends who still reside in San Diego, and I have far more fond memories than poor ones. Growing up a Lions fan, the NFC North and regional rivalries with teams like Chicago, Green Bay, and Minnesota were common knowledge.
It surprised many, when I lived in San Diego, that I would be so vehemently against the San Diego Chargers and its organization. In all reality, there likely is no team that I should be more neutral or ambivalent towards than the “Bolts.”
But this is sports, and nonsensical dislike is welcome here more than anywhere else.
As I mentioned growing up a Lions fan, this is related to growing up in Michigan, where I also was raised in a Spartan household involving a father who is an alumnus of Michigan State University. The main rival of MSU is the University of Michigan, bearing the blue and gold onto the gridiron each Saturday. My entire life has involved the association of blue and gold with pure evil.
Flashback to 1995, when the San Francisco 49ers played the San Diego Chargers for the Super Bowl. I was living outside of the USA at the time, but my lower peninsula roots go deep. As the game was contested by two teams from California in the state of Florida, I had no rooting interest in either team — or so I thought.
Sports viewing is always more fun when you have a team to cheer for, it is a known fact. Not wanting to neglect this, I turned to the stalemate-breakers that have proved reliable for centuries: mascots and/or team colors.
The 49ers are from San Francisco, a city I had never been to at the time. Their namesake refers to the goldrush, about which I would not learn in school for a few more years. They wear red and gold, two colors which were not unlikable.
The Chargers play in San Diego, the city where I would one day meet my wife. I have no idea why they are called the Chargers, and it did not matter to me in 1995 either. What did matter was the Chargers’ uniform colors: blue and yellow.
Immediately and instinctively my mind associated the colors with what I previously mentioned as pure evil, the University of Michigan. As of that moment, I wanted the 49ers to win. As the fate would have it, they did.
Thus, I am the opposite of a Chargers fan to this day. I am an un-fan. I confess I have sometimes cheered more for them to lose than for the Lions to win. The Christmas
day Eve game of 2010 2011 was a doozy, as the Lions clinched a playoff birth by defeating the Chargers, who were thereby eliminated from contention as a direct result.