This time of year technically is called the NFL’s off-season, but that’s because there aren’t any games being played.
But, really: Is there ever an off season in the NFL?
From the combine to the draft (coming later this week) to pre-season, football fans always have something to obsess about. Whether it’s who’s going to get franchise tagged, how many hundreds of millions a quarterback will get paid, or ESPN’s Adam Schefter breaking into “SportsCenter” to report the latest trade or signing, it’s always football season.
BetOhio.com - your source for sports betting in Ohio – set out to determine The Most Obsessed Fans in the NFL.
In our survey, BetOhio.com utilized Statista’s 2022 “Attitudes of NFL Teams” survey of NFL fans with 1,239 respondents to find the most obsessed fans in the NFL. To do so, we counted the NFL fanbases who responded in the most positive manner to the following statements:
- I do not want to imagine my life without my NFL team
- My NFL team is part of my day-to-day life
We averaged the percentage of positive responses to these two questions to arrive at a final number.
Making a strong showing at No. 6 are Cincinnati fans, with 26% saying they do not want to imagine life without the Bengals.
In our survey, Cleveland Browns fans didn’t even make the Top 10. But neither did Pittsburgh Steelers fans, so that should make the Browns fans feel a little better.
Here are some results you won’t find on any Ohio sports betting apps:
NFL’s Most Obsessed Fans
What’s Up with Bengals Fans?
In fairness, Ohio’s obsession with the Bengals is mostly southwestern Ohio, and there’s a certain recency bias involved. Call it the Burrow Factor. Since the Bengals joined the AFL in 1968, the Bengals have been down and up, with down winning. They lost in Super Bowl XVI (1981) to the 49ers, in Super Bowl XXIII (1988) to the 49ers and in Super Bowl LVI (2021) to the Rams. Their next Super Bowl win will be the franchise’s first and nothing breeds obsession like always reaching for the brass ring and coming up short. In fact the Bengals Super Bowl odds this season are about as good as they've ever been in 2023.
But there have been long stretches in which the Bengals fan obsessions focused more on the draft than the season. You can find our primer to the Bengals draft on this site.
Bengals fans also have a certain hatred/jealousy of their cross-state rival, even though the Bengals have been the more successful franchise since they entered the NFL. But the Bengals are like the Browns’ kid brother: They exist because legendary coach and franchise founder Paul Brown, longtime coach of the Browns, and former Browns owner Art Modell couldn’t stand each other.
Brown was the Browns coach when the team was good, until Modell fired him in 1963. When he had the chance to start his own franchise with the AFL’s expansion in 1968, Brown, an Ohio native, got the Bengals. When the AFL and NFL merged a few years later, he got a rivalry with his old boss – who later would become the most hated man in eastern Ohio when he closed down the Browns and took the franchise (but not the name) to Baltimore. Few things breed obsessions like in-state rivalries and hatred of owners.
For many years, when both the Bengals and Browns were bad, bragging rights were largely due to which team beat the other or if either of them could beat the Steelers. Recently, with the emergence of QB Joe Burrow and a Super Bowl contending team, Bengals fans have poured their hearts and souls into the team.
Burrow’s stardom became such a problem for Cleveland, the Browns went all in on signing . . . Deshaun Watson, even as the Houston Texans’ QB was under suspension. The Browns have been trying to massage the public relations hit.
This coming season, the Bengals and Browns should both be vying for the AFC North title, making their fans’ obsessions even more intense.
Here is a look at the Bengals’ playoff chances in 2023.
And while the Browns have The Dawg Pound to try to intimidate opposing players, the Bengals have the chant: "Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? Noboooody.”
BetOhio.com will keep a close eye on the Bengals and Browns at all times as well as provide Ohio sportsbook promo codes.