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The NFL's 15 Best Fan Traditions, Ranked

September 19, 2022

Football isn't just about football. It's also about the fans in the stadium getting up to some pretty wild hijinx. Over the course of more than 100 years, the fans have come up with some great traditions to celebrate the sport.

Here's our ranking of the top 15 best NFL traditions. If you've experienced any of these first-hand, you'll know there's nothing quite like them.

15. Cleveland Dawg Pound: Beer Can Chicken

 Beer Can Turkey Dawgs Gotta Eat T-Shirt

The Browns may struggle as a team, but that's not for their fans' lack of passion. Every Sunday during the NFL season, you'll find the Dawg Pound starting their legendary tailgate at 7 a.m. with beer can chicken on the grill. Nothing says football like a chicken stuffed with a can of beer served in a parking lot.

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14. Baltimore Flock: Pit Beef

Baltimore Pit Beef Sandwich Flock T-Shirt

Continuing the theme of epic tailgates, we have the Baltimore Ravens' meaty tradition of pit beef. A style of barbeque native to Baltimore, it's roast beef cooked over a charcoal fire and served in a tin with tiger sauce. Ask around, and you're likely to hear old family stories about the origins of each pit beef recipe.

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13. New Orleans Who Dat Nation: Zing Zang Bloody Mary's

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Sunday game mornings in New Orleans start with football and a bloody mary cocktail—one specifically made with Zing Zang. Best served with horseradish, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, and spicy green beans, this bloody mary mix is a fan tradition spicy enough to get any fan going.

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12. Atlanta Dirty Birds: The Dirty Bird Dance

Atlanta Dirty Birds Dance

Originating from Falcons running back Jamal Anderson's touchdown celebration, the dirty bird dance has caught on with Atlanta players and fans alike.

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11. Philadelphia Eagles Fans: Cheesesteaks and Booing

Philly Cheesesteak T-Shirt 

Eagles fans are known to be rowdy. So rowdy in fact, Veterans Stadium in Philly even used to have a jail inside of it (no, we're not joking). When fans of the Birds get a cheesesteak or two into them, they love to carry on the 'tradition' of letting their feelings known by booing—even if that means booing their own pick at the draft, Donovan McNabb.

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10. Miami Dolphins: Cheerleaders and... Stripper Poles!

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Arguably not the most family-friendly tradition, the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders are known to take traditional sideline cheerleading up a notch with the help of provocative gyrations and even stripper poles. Fans with high blood pressure might be advised to look away!

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9. Kansas City Chiefs Fans: KC Barbeque

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The Chiefs have courted plenty of controversy over their team name and the "Tomahawk Chop." But one thing that isn't controversial is their love of great barbeque. Before, during, and after the game, Chiefs fans consume vast quantities of KC-style ribs, brisket, and burnt ends.

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8. New England Patriots Fans: End Zone Militia

Patriots End Zone Militia

Looking like they just arrived via time machine from the War of Independence, the End Zone Militia are a fan-favorite attraction at Pats games. Armed with muskets and 18th-century costumes, they bring a fun taste of New England history to the field.

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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cannons and Pirate Costumes

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cannons Tampa Bay Retro Mascot T-Shirt

Giving New England a run for its money in the costume department are the Buccaneers fans and their tradition of pirate get-ups and cannon firing. Whenever the Bucs score, fans are treated to the familiar sound of cannons from the giant pirate ship at the end zone.

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6. Minnesota Vikings Fans: Skol Chant

Vikings Skol Chant

The fight song for the Minnesota Vikings, Skol, Vikings dates back to 1961, around the time of the team's creation. With the fans chanting along to the beat of a drum, this Viking war chant makes U.S. Bank Stadium an imposing environment for visiting teams.

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5. Chicago Bears Fans: Dressing Like Mike Ditka

Dressing Like Mike Ditka Da Coach T-Shirt

Whether it's in the crowd, at the tailgate, or at a Bears-watching party at the bar—you're bound to find a few Chicago fans dressed as legendary Bears tight end Mike Ditka. One of them has even made a bit of a career as a Ditka-lookalike!

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4. The Seattle 12s

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Most teams have 11 players in the game; Seattle has 12. Seahawks fans, known as the "12th man", have shown their rabid support with feats like setting the Guinness world record for loudest crowd noise. Talk about a home team advantage.

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3. Pittsburgh Steeler Nation: The Terrible Towel

Steeler Nation The Terrible Towel

A rally towel proudly showing off the team's black and gold, the Terrible Towel is present at every Steelers game. Fans have even taken them to the summit of Mt. Everest and on board the International Space Station.

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2. Green Bay Cheeseheads

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The nickname for Green Bay Packers fans, Cheesehead also describes their iconic headgear. Dating back to the late 80s, fans have shown their Wisconsin pride with the tradition of wearing cheese-shaped hats. Between that and the Lambeau Leap, Cheeseheads know how to do football traditions.

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1. Buffalo Bills Mafia: The Table Smash

Buffalo Bills Table Smash Billa Mafia T-Shirt

Our number one NFL fan tradition is also the most dangerous: Bills Mafia members jumping through folding tables. Since about 2015, Bills tailgates have seen hundreds of tables crushed to pieces by flying football fans. Don't try this one at home.

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There you have it—our top 15 football fan rituals. Sorry to those teams who didn't make it (we're looking at you, Dallas Cowboys). If you're looking to show your team support, check out our collection of awesome football shirts.

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