The Football Fan's Manifesto

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The Football Fan's Ten Commandments

  1. You Must Choose Your Team by the Age of Eight.
  2. Value That Team Above All Else, Even Yourself.
  3. Under No Circumstances Can You Switch Teams (And Expect to Live).
  4. There is a Limit to the Amount of ...
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The Football Fan's Manifesto

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The Football Fan's Ten Commandments

  1. You Must Choose Your Team by the Age of Eight.
  2. Value That Team Above All Else, Even Yourself.
  3. Under No Circumstances Can You Switch Teams (And Expect to Live).
  4. There is a Limit to the Amount of Merchandise You Can Own (But It's Very Generous).
  5. Sportsmanship is for the Athletes. Fans Can Gloat Endlessly.
  6. A Self-Induced Coma to Skip the Off-season is a Practical Solution to an Annoying Problem.
  7. An Inoffensive Fantasy Football Name is a Lame Fantasy Football Name.
  8. Wealth Doesn't Matter So Long As You Don't Have to Work Weekends.
  9. Respect Superstitions. If Your Team Lost, It's Because You Jinxed Them.
  10. In Life, the Order of Importance: Football First, Football Second, Football Third, Family . . . uh, I Don't Know, twelfth?

These are just the basics if you wish to be a True Football Fan. The full picture is much more complex and boozy. Thankfully, The Football Fan's Manifesto is your very own playbook to the strict rules and bylaws that must be scrupulously observed. After all, trash-talking is an intricate science and running onto the field a dangerous but irresistible pursuit. There are many lessons to be learned, especially that choosing a favorite team to live and die with is not a choice made easily: It's the most important decision of your life!

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  • The Football Fan's Manifesto
    The Football Fan's Manifesto  

Editorial Reviews

Will Leitch
“The Football Fan’s Manifesto is the throbbing id of the NFL, a throwdown in the name of football supremacy, the type of book you just know Roger Goodell wishes he could write. If you think football is the only thing that matters on earth, this is your book .”
Gregg Rosenthal
“Fantasy football fans that don’t read Michael Tunison’s book and recognize it as the gospel truth aren’t real football fans.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061735141
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/18/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Sports blogger and freelance writer Michael Tunison is the cofounder of the NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber. He is also a contributing writer for Deadspin, With Leather, Pro Football Talk, and Yahoo's Shutdown Corner. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

The Football Fan's Manifesto

Chapter One

The Supremacy of Football

I.1 Other Major Sports Are Inherently Inferior to Pro Football and Therefore Unworthy of Our Time.

Professional football is the undisputed god-king of American sports. It always has been so, even back in the times when we hadn't quite realized it yet. The mere existence of pro football obviates the need for all other contests of athletic skill, yet these other "sports" (parlor games, really) remain despite their complete and utter irrelevance. Why we abide by such unnecessary, quasi-athletic diversions when we have the game of football is a testament to our modern excess.

To be fair, these other "sports" do serve some minor purpose. And not only to give us something to mock. Because the NFL has yet to genetically produce elite athletes able to withstand the rigors of a year-round schedule (why the hold up?), we're left with nearly seven desolate months of no meaningful football. During these dark times of despair, some of these lesser sports are all we have to stave off the clammy hands of adult responsibilities and a social life. They're passable, if barely adequate, distractions to fill the hours until the late summer rolls around. That's all. Nothing more. Certainly nothing to get worked up about.

However-and it should come as a great shock-there are depraved individuals out there who maintain that some of these other "sports" can produce a level of enjoyment on par with the NFL. The sickest among these deviants even insist that others sports can provide a preferable viewing experience to professional football. As if such a thing were actually possible.Wrongheaded as this belief is, our permissive, increasingly soccer-tolerant culture has allowed it to propagate in certain circles with an air of acceptance. It's high time we set the record straight. In doing so, hopefully we can reach these woefully misinformed souls before they do something unforgivable like purchase season tickets to the Red Sox.

Baseball-In 1987, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell memorably attempted, and epically failed, to enumerate ninety-nine reasons why baseball is better than football. Of course it didn't take him more than five to screw the whole thing up. Singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field is supposed to be a virtue? I guess that's a possibility if one were to disregard the famously awful renditions by Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Gordon, and dozens of other celebrity duffers. More to the point, the Major League Baseball regular season lasts approximately two and a half lifetimes and feels at least three times that long. A Lord of the Rings movie doesn't drag on as much. By the time it gets halfway interesting in September and October, football season has already begun. Poor timing on your part, besuboru. Half the players in the league now require the ser­vices of an interpreter to tell fans to fuck off (at least have the courtesy to cuss me out in my own language, Ichiro). The game falls back on its puffed-up long-gone era of cultural import; meanwhile, MLB playoff games draw about half the audience of an NFL regular season contest. And any sport that considers Bartolo Colon an athlete immediately gets bumped down to second-tier status. At least the fatties in football can block. Unless they play for the Rams.

Basketball-Thanks, but I prefer to stick with sports that I know are only probably fixed. Not to mention those whose leagues aren't teetering on the brink of insolvency. Contraction is a very real threat for several NBA teams, which figures to ruin the lives of nearly dozens of rabid hoop fans. Besides, the NBA Playoffs drag on about as long as the baseball regular season. The perennial powerhouse Spurs might be the most unlikeable team in all of sports. The most compelling story line in recent years is the never-ending drama surrounding LeBron James's eventual departure from Cleveland, as though anyone found LeBron even remotely likeable. And, okay, sure, college basketball is a hoot (for about a month, anyway), but anything that Duke excels at is ruined for all parties involved. Not to mention the disconcerting correlation between getting older and the creepiness of getting emotional about teenagers committing to a certain school.

College Football-The bastard cousin of professional football exists solely as a refuge for aged frat boys and Southerners. Proponents will harangue you endlessly about its superiority to the pro game, claiming that the atmosphere at a college football game is far more raucous than its professional counterpart and that student athletes play for love, not money (okay, love, under-the-table gifts from the university, the promise of future riches, boylike adulation from boosters, and poon up to your hairline). All this is actually fairly accurate, but ultimately moot, because the NCAA refuses to implement a playoff system, opting to continue with its convoluted Bowl Championship Series, which leads to the annual screwing of more deserving teams in favor of USC and Ohio State. It may be true that the way college football conducts overtime is technically fairer, since each team is guaranteed at least one possession. Problem is, it takes goddamn forever. I will say in college football's defense that at least Duke sucks at it.

Soccer-Soccer fans will never fail to remind you that there are more people around the globe who follow "the Beautiful Game" than what they dismissively refer to as "American football." That's all well and good, Ronaldinminihinho, but there are also more people around the world living in abject poverty than in America, so let's all jump on that bandwagon too!

Rugby-I'm not even sure rugby fans actually like their sport so much as they enjoy snottily explaining to you how much tougher rugby is than football because rugby players don't wear helmets or pads. Rugby could actually be fun to watch, but you'll get so tired of the bombardment of smug coming from the guy who spent a summer abroad in Australia that you'll never actually bother to check it out. That, and their fans wear scarves. You know the other type of fans who love scarves? Harry Potterphiles. From this we can conclude that rugby is one step removed from Quidditch.

NASCAR-Fess up, racing fans. This is just an excuse to spend an entire day getting plastered, isn't it? Not that football isn't, but at least football fans don't make it quite so obvious. Nor do they need a hefty supply of OxyContin to make it through the sheer crushing repetition that is watching cars circle a track eight thousand times.

The Football Fan's Manifesto. Copyright (c) by Michael Tunison . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv

Article I The Supremacy of Football 1

Section 1 Other Major Sports Are Inherently Inferior to Pro Football and Therefore Unworthy of Our Time 1

Section 2 A People's History of Football Fanaticism 7

Section 3 The Football Fan Is the Next Evolution of Man 11

Article II The Fundamentals of Fandom 17

Section 1 Pick a Team, Any Team. Just Pick One and Only One 17

Section 2 Who You Root for Defines Who You Are 19

Section 3 The Memory of Your Team's Epic Playoff Loss Will Set the Tone for All Your Future Personal Failures 29

Clause A The Most Epic Chokes 30

Section 4 Choose a Player to Idolize Based on His Carefully Crafted Public Persona 34

Section 5 Know Thine Enemies, So You Can Identify Them After Crushing Their Skulls into Powder 40

Section 6 Bandwagon Fans: Can't Live with Them, Can't Line Them Up and Melt Their Insides with a Flamethrower 46

Clause A How to Identify a Bandwagon Fan 47

Section 7 Choose Your Friends Based on Football Allegiances-and Maybe Their Parent's Beach House 50

Section 8 Learn to Deal With People Who Actively Dislike Sports While Somehow Resisting the Urge to Strangle Them 53

Article III The Formative Years Of Fandom 57

Section 1 Matriculate into College (So You Can Learn That Word Doesn't Mean Advancing a Football) 57

Section 2 The Liberal Arts Agenda Against Fandom 59

Section 3 Attend a Game a Week and a Class Per Semester: A Fan's Guide to Higher Education 61

Section 4 Befriend NFL Prospects Now, While They'll Still Let You Do Their Homework for Them 62

Clause A The Duties for the Aspiring Hanger-on 63

Section 5 Watch Football While Tripping Balls: Drugs and Gameday 65

Section 6 CountriesMost Likely to Cease Being Useless and Catch Football Fever 68

Section 7 Land a Football-Related Job 74

Section 8 Root for Your Team from Afar 78

Article IV The Two-Minute Driven Life 83

Section 1 You Can't Have a Tailgate of One 83

Section 2 Make the Game Part of Your Game: Picking Up Women 85

Section 3 Convenient Conditioning for the Football Fatty 87

Section 4 The Diner Quiz For a Post-Post-Diner Generation 90

Clause A The Football Manifesto Mate-Matching Metric 91

Section 5 The Obligatory Guidelines for Female Fans 94

Clause A Ground Rules for Female Fans 96

Section 6 Vow to Have a Football-Themed Wedding 97

Section 7 Raise Your Kids to Root for Your Team Through Coercion 102

Section 8 Acceptable Levels of Involvement in Your Kid's Pop Warner League 104

Section 9 Scenes from a Broken Fan Marriage 106

Section 10 Lord Your Personal Success Over Baseball Fans Because You Don't Spend All Your Time Watching Baseball 109

Article V Gameday Operating Procedure: The Gop That Wants You to Have Fun 113

Section 1 Flout the Fan Conduct Policy 113

Section 2 Personal Seat Licenses Are a Bigger Rip-off than Buying a Home 116

Section 3 Your New Pair of Underwear Is to Blame for a Ten-Loss Season 119

Section 4 Tailgating Is the Pregame Alcohol-Based Ritual of Kings 123

Clause A Avoid Tailgating Scenesters 125

Clause B Tailgating Grub: Meat, Meat, More Meat, Wash Down with Beer, Repeat with Meat 127

Section 5 Get Pumped for Victory in the Game You're Not Playing 128

Section 6 The High Five Is an Intricate Art Not to Be Toyed With 131

Section 7 Like All Extreme Sports, Running onto the Playing Field Is Dumb and Wrong-and Irresistible 135

Section 8 The Challenge of the Superfans 138

Section 9 Gamble, Because of Course You're Smarter than Vegas 145

Section 10 Probably Should've Known Before You Bought Those Season Tickets: Watching a Game at Home Is Far Better than the Stadium Experience 147

Article VI The Fantasy Football Chapter (Now With Tear-Out Cheat Sheet!) 153

Section 1 Fantasy Baseball Is for Geeks but Fantasy Football Is for Men 153

Section 2 Know Your Fantasy League or Know Draft Defeat 156

Section 3 Naming Your Fantasy Team, or Which Anchorman Reference Shall You Go With? 161

Section 4 The Fantasy Draft Is the Only Time Being an Unrepentant Homer Doesn't Help 163

Clause A Draft Trash-Talk Tips 165

Section 5 Fantasy Football Magazines Are the Most Useless Thing You'll Reflexively Purchase Each Year 166

Section 6 A Letter to Brian Westbrook Regarding His Questionable Playing Status for Sunday 169

Section 7 Issue Threats to People Who Veto Your Fantasy Trades 172

Article VII A Fan For All Seasons 179

Section 1 Seventeen Weeks of Sweet Delusion 179

Section 2 Strategies for a Losing Season: Blame All Parties Involved 185

Section 3 Drink Deep of the Haterade, That Cool, Refreshing Drink 187

Section 4 When "Wait 'Til Next Year" Is an Annual Mantra, or the Fan Bases of the Damned 191

Section 5 The Week Between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl Is the Tool of the Devil (as Well as the Networks, Which Are Run by the Devil) 196

Section 6 If You Need Don Cheadle to Motivate You for the Playoffs, You Aren't a Fan 200

Section 7 Super Bowl Parties Are for Amateurs but Still Worth It 203

Section 8 Celebrate a Title, Bitches! 206

Article VIII Surviving the Endless Off-Season 213

Section 1 Your End of the Year Denial Is So Strong You'll Actually Watch a Part of the Pro Bowl 213

Section 2 Feign an Interest in Other Sports and Other People 217

Section 3 Oh, No! Your Favorite Player Left in Free Agency! Disown Him at Once! 220

Clause A The Five Stages of Free Agent Dejection 222

Section 4 The Draft is Excruciating, but in April You'll Take Anything You Can Get 224

Clause A The NFL Draft Drinking Game 225

Section 5 The Arena League and the CFL Are a Sickening Farce and Not Even the Good Kind of Sickening Farce 228

Section 6 Beware the Post-NBA Finals Misery Vortex 232

Section 7 Training Camp Is Miserable for the Athlete, Only Kind of Boring for You 234

Section 8 Observe Madden Day Like the National Holiday It Should Be 236

Section 9 Dupe Yourself into Thinking the Preseason Matters 240

Article IX Take Fandom to Unhealthy Levels-Then a Little Further 247

Section 1 Fandom on the Intarwebz!!11! 247

Section 2 Heed the Officially Licensed Section on NFL Apparel and Merchandise 253

Section 3 Dress Your Pet, Because They Can't Tell You It's Lame 259

Section 4 The Mystery of Trash-Talking 262

Clause A The Laws of Trash-Talking 264

Section 5 "Can You Please Sign My Newborn?": Autograph Hunting 267

Section 6 Pester God to Intercede on Your Team's Behalf 269

Section 7 Fortify Your Conversations with the Power of Football Clichés 271

Section 8 Get Tat Up from the Mat Up 279

Article X Death: Because Only Al Davis Can Live Forever 287

Section 1 Retirement or "Which Team Do I Like, Again?" 287

Section 2 Your Team Relocated to Another City! Your Entire Life Was All for Naught! 289

Section 3 Buying a Team Means Buying the Affections of Millions, Even as You Screw Them 293

Section 4 Remain Die-hard Even When You're About to Die 299

Section 5 To a Bears Fan Dying Young 301

Section 6 Hector Your Favorite Players into the Hall of Fame 304

Section 7 On Death and Deep-frying 307

Section 8 The Afterlife, or As It's Known in Football-Speak, the Post-Life 310

Epilogue: This Book Gets Summ-ed Up! Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap! 313

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    No team is safe!!!

    Note to parents: This book is not for young sports fans. The colorful language is frequently inappropriate for young readers.

    I like this book. I can say that because I'd made it to page 19 and there hadn't been a direct slam against my beloved Seattle Seahawks. My sympathies to many other NFL teams in the league! I enjoyed a laugh or two at your expense!

    Actually I have mixed feelings about this book. For starters, I'm female! Michael Tunison has a whole lot of fun with female fans! (Thank God I don't own a pink jersey or show up to games naked in Green Bay, though I did pick my team because of its most awesome team colors and mascot and I refuse to apologize for it!)

    Which leads me to confess that I'm a Seattle Seahawks fan. Thanks, Michael, for taking it easy on us for the most part! We definitely got off light compared to some other teams. (Nice slam about Alexander's Madden Curse, though you missed an opportunity to showcase our goddess, Mama Seahawk!)

    I also happen to love Australia and Australian Rules Football, and might make note of the fact that they wrote their footy rules 30 years before Walter Camp came up with the rules of American football. I did particularly enjoy: Listen, you incredibly lighthearted, charming, sunny people...! Oh, and for the record, Hugh Jackman is hot!

    Minor squabbles aside, the book is hilarious, inappropriate, accurate, crude, enjoyable, inaccurate and gut-busting funny. It's a guy book. It's a fan book. It's gridiron smack-talk at its finest!

    Is it for everyone? Probably not. If the guy in the stands belching, spilling beer down your back, and stepping on your toes while he exits the row to take another whiz and fetch two more beers annoys you, you may not like this book. If you can trash talk with the best of them, this book may well become your Bible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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