Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?! These superfans sure are! When you get NFL tickets, you embark on a journey of thrills and disappointments along with hundreds of thousands of other fans. Who’s your guide? It’s not the players or the coaches; they’re focused on winning. It’s the superfans. They’re there at every game–no matter how cold, no matter how snowy. Their voice is the loudest and the proudest, cheering on their team on through victory and defeat.
As Spiderman says, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” and these fans do not take their titles lightly. Whether they are part of the Pro Football’s Ultimate Fan Association (also known as the PFUFA), the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Hall of Fans”, the ESPN’s “Hall of Fans,” or simply a crowd favorite to spot at every game, there is no denying that The Superfan is a highly revered part of each team’s culture.
It’s time to get to know the fans behind the face paint and crazy costumes. Meet the top 10 NFL superfans of past and present.
10. The Custom Made: Big Papa Pump (aka Thomas Phillips), for the Miami Dolphins.
Big Papa Pump was ‘born’ through pure enthusiasm being caught on the big screen during a Dophins’ game – soon, fans and cameramen alike could not get enough of the hype-up excitement. Big Papa might be ‘new’ to the Superfan scene, but he knows how to play the game – he boasts Miami Dolphin tattoos, wears custom-made team gear, and even drives a tricked-out truck with his monkier on the side. Great style, sir!
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9. The Activist: Dr. Death (aka Ray Perez @26DrDeath), for the Oakland Raiders.
Don’t let his black paint, chains, bones, and knife helmet fool you – Dr. Death brings joy, not destruction, to Raider Nation. Dr. Death has been a well-known and passionate voice in petitioning to keep sports in Oakland, as well as supports many local Oakland organizations. We salute you and your good-doings, Dr. Death! Now go destroy the opponent!
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8. The Fresh Face: Spirit Star Shelby (aka Shelby Kelly @TxShelbyTx), for the Dallas Cowboys.
This blonde haired, blue eyed gal is all spunk and excitement – and a 2012 member of the PFUFA. Known for her signature foam star-shaped hat and star earrings, she is equal parts Superfan and Superhospitable. Fun fact: Shelby’s star hat easily doubles as a food and beverage tray – take it off, turn it upside-down, and get your tailgate going! Shelby, we think you are a beacon of southern hospitality on gameday! You go girl!
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7. The Nastiest: Big Nasty (aka Keith Kunzig), for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stay out of Big Nasty’s way! His rhino helmet and red face paint brings a larger-than-life energy to games (a 6’ 3” energy, to be exact). Being Big Nasty brings Big responsibility, and he doesn’t take it lightly – his “Drugs Are Nasty” program for elementary schools helps kids learn about drug prevention at an early age. When he’s not in Superfan mode, we like to think it’s Keith – Mr. Kunzig, if you’re Nasty.
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6. The Lifer: Catman (aka Greg Good, @theCatman1), for the Carolina Panthers.
NaNa-NaNa-NaNa-NaNa-NaNa-NaNa-NaNa-Na-NA-CATTTMANNNNNN! Catman is an electric blue-and-silver cross between Don King, Elvis, and a feline transformer – at 7 ft tall (with hair!), he has been a force to be reckoned with since 1998. Catman is also a proud member of the PFUFA, inducted in 2004. Amazingly enough, he still finds time to teach elementary school while attending every Panthers home game since the formation of the team.
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5. The Most Official Officer: Captain Dee-Fense (aka Larry “Wes” Henson ), for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ahoy, Captain! This former Navy man defends his country’s honor in a whole new way – his commitment to the game is only rivaled by his commitment to charity work with Caring Communities. In 2012, Captain Dee-Fense was inducted into ESPN’s “Hall of Fans” – we salute you, sir!
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4. The Soulmates: St. Vince and Cheese Louise (aka John O’Neil and “Cheese Louise” @GBCheeseLouise), for the Green Bay Packers.
These two are proof that there really is a match for everyone out there. After dedicating his pope-like costume to Vince Lombardi in 1997 (an idea credited to his wife), St. Vince has been blessing Packers fans with his cheese-bra-wearing wife by his side ever since. In good weather, they even arrive in their 1957 Chevy station wagon, affectionately named the PackerMobile. Far out!
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3. The Least Civil Civil Servant: Fireman Ed (aka Ed Anzalone), for the New York Jets.
A retired FDNY, this faithful “J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!” chant leader began his Jets devotion in 1975. A seemingly unending source of Fandom at MetLife Stadium, Fireman Ed hung up his hat in 2012 just after Thanksgiving. After a Fireman Ed-less season last year, he has teamed up with the Jets to find a replacement chanter for 2014 – proving he is still a devoted fan even without the helmet. Only time will tell if a fan as loyal (and as loud!) as Fireman Ed will emerge from the stands of MetLife Stadium.
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2. The Commuter: 100% Cheese Free (aka Syd Davy, @SydDavy), for the Minnesota Vikings.
This Canadian-born Viking Does. Not. Mess. Around. A 5’10, cigar smoking, championship belt donning, face paint wearing, wrestle-mania-esque Superfan, 100% Cheese Free is a hulking institution in the Vikings’ stands. 100% Cheese Free has been around since 1986, and faithfully drives 500 miles to each home game from Winnepeg, Canada. Can someone get this guy a green card already?!
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1. The Long Haulers: The Hogettes (lead by Michael Torbert), for the Washington Redskins.
Unarguably the most recognizable clan of Superfans, these 12 cross-dressing, snout-wearing, cheer-leading men devoted 30 years of time and energy to their favorite team and their favorite charitable causes. After years of raising money for Children’s Miracle Network, The Ronald McDonald House, and March of Dimes, they retired on Jan 11th, 2013 – proving you really can work hard and cheer hard while still having a great time.
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WHO’S THE BIGGEST SUPERFAN IN NFL HISTORY? CAST YOUR VOTE HERE:
Think you’ve got what it takes to be a real superfan? Stay tuned for our September contest. We’re giving away 100s of dollars of ScoreBig credit so that you can get tickets to your NFL favorite team.