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A Fan Favorite – What Does It Take?

September 24, 2008

I’m going to get a bit off topic in this article when I talk about what it takes to be a fan favorite. I have always wondered how these players become so popular with fans and after I did some studying I am here to share this with you.

To start off I chose some current and past Broncos “Fan Favorites” and I will analyze why everyone loves them so much. My first of which would be the all great John Elway to kick off our fan favorites of the past.

John Elway: John Elway is every fans great love. They can not get enough of this guy. It does not matter what fandom you are John Elway is one of the most lovable players of all time. If you can have the affection for him that people do from other teams you can only imagine how Broncos fans feel about him. Really… I think you know. You are probably that guy I am talking about. I think that main reason that John Elway is a fan favorite is that he was just plain good. Nobody could stop this guy. Elway turned around the Broncos franchise into one of the all time greatest teams ever. He was pure magic his entire career and while being soft spoken and letting his play do the talking he was a fan favorite.

Shannon Sharpe: Unlike John Elway who earned all sorts of affection from fans through his soft spoken and gentle manner off the field Sharpe was the opposite. Elway was not quiet on the field but Sharpe was loud everywhere making him as well a fan favorite. Sharpe is a member of the trash talk Hall of Fame and I would say began the trend of Touchdown Dances, trash talk and just pure craziness in the NFL. While this could hurt some in their attractiveness to fans Sharpe while wild did not exceed some limits like players are doing today just to get media attention. Chad John… I’m sorry, Chad Ocho Cinco anyone? Sharpe also became a favorite with his pure talent. He is the one player who I loved enough to get his signed jersey.

Tom Nalen: When fans grace you with the nickname Tommy Nails… Well there is something special about you. He is a hero to anyone who ever played on the line. Ever. He is a future Hall of Famer who is aloof yet very intimidating. Fans love his quiet yet scary swagger. He has been a staple on the line for years and is all that is left in our minds of the great Super Bowl era. While he has become injury prone Tom Nalen stays in the hearts of fans everywhere. He is the kind of guy who you do not want to mess with. Nobody knows what will happen if you do because no one has dare gone near that point. Tommy Nails defines a fan favorite.

Nate Webster: Webster is not a fan favorite because he is a future Hall of Famer or he won a Super Bowl or any of that stuff. His talent is decent but still not starting material and one of the best reasons he may be a fan favorite is that he has a gimmick. Yes, a gimmick can be very good for your fan favoritism. That would be his helmet flying off. As Hercules Rockefeller once quoted on BroncoTalk “You do not mess with Nate Websters helmet. That thing is a sentient being. It will kill you and everyone you care about.” True Herc… Very, very true. With the nickname hats and his presence on the field, Webster has become very popular among fans, blogs and reporters of all kinds. Helmets off to Webster.

Eddie Royal: Eddie is what the Broncos have been looking for since the Rod Smith, Ed McCaffery days. They have wanted a killer one, two receiver punch. With Eddie Royal by Brandon Marshall’s side they have finally got it. Fans love him due to the fact that he fits a need in Denver. He is great because he can return the ball and play Wide Receiver both at elite levels. He is cool headed and he has become very humanized by the media. He seems like a fun person too.”Eddie’s a little bit of a girl. He listens to some girl music. Every now and again, we’ll hear him listening to Backstreet Boys or Natasha Bedingfield.” One of his good friends had to say about him. Hearing things like this makes us feel like he is down to earth and that you can really connect with him.

Now mind you, there are a lot of other fan favorites. These are just some I picked up. If you have noticed there are some common things among them. First off, they all have some sort of swagger or an appearance to us and the media. That makes them look either good or bad but all the time fun. Some have light hearted personalities and others are trash talkers. Either way we like them. 

Also a popular thing is to have a gimmick. Whether it is a Touchdown dance, or having your helmet fly off it helps you stand apart from the crowd making us see you more only to enjoy you more. Nicknames are another way that a person stands out to us making them popular among groups. We like hearing them. It makes players like The Bus, or Big Game all fan favorites from other teams. I hope for your own sake that you know who they are.

So as you can see, there is almost an art to becoming a fan favorite. I just thought point this out. Tell me if you have any other ideas of what makes players fan favorites. I am interested to hear your opinions.


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