nfl superfans don bearman wachter

A Rundown of the Most Passionate NFL Superfans

The spirit of the game lives in the hearts of fans everywhere who support their teams so passionately. ~David Baker, President and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame

Do you ever wonder what would happen to NFL teams and players without their fans? Well, that’s an undesirable place for sure.

It’s good to know that starting 2019, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is opening up its halls to accommodate the NFL’s super fans. 

In January 2019, the organization inducted three fan honourees into the Ford Hall of Fans. Over 170,000 ballots are cast through online polling that began months before the announcement of finalists. 

These are Don Wachter, a Chicago Bears fan; Rick Holman, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan; and Roger Avila, a Miami Dolphins fan.

Here’s a list of the most passionate NFL fans.

Don “Bearman” Wachter

Wachter is a 56-year-old Plainfield, Illinois resident. He was a season-ticket holder for 33 years and counting. 

Also known as the Bearman, other than painting his face, Wachter also wears a bear head hat to games—where he got his moniker from. 

Between 1998 and 2004, he was the Bears most reliable ally in firing up the home crowd. Wachter would run onto the Soldier Field 

Roger “Dolfan Maniac” Avila

Avila, who is also 56 years old, is from Miami. He was a season-ticket holder for 24 years now.

Avila was called the Dolfan Maniac and considered one of the faces of the team. He appears on TV broadcasts on his usual attire—his No. 40 white Miami jersey. 

Rick Holman

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Holman is the youngest of the three, at only 39 years old. He was a season-ticket holder for 18 years. From Beaver, Pennsylvania, Holman is a history teacher.

Holman never missed a match played in Heinz Field, whether a preseason, regular or playoff game. Holman also travels to Dallas, Tampa, and Detroit to watch the championship games of the Steelers.

Other NFL superfans

Wachter, Avila, and Holman are on a different league now that their names are up in the wall.

And while fans are not created equal, many others are worthy of the same recognition.

100% Cheese Free

Syd Davy’s alter ego, 100% Cheese Free first appeared in Halloween 1993. Other fans motivated him to continue dressing up because they loved how it looks. He is regarded as the face of the Minnesota Vikings.

Hunka Burning Fan

John Lang, 56, is a Buffalo Bills fan who dons Elvis Presley garb. It started with a bet that he couldn’t appear on TV, only he did. He received an airtime thanks to his old guitar, white jumpsuit and painted sideburns. Now known as the rock n roll fan, Lang is now a staple at every Bills game.

Sound and Fury

Leroy Mitchell has been wearing a giant whistle headdress since 1996. A fan of the New Orleans Saints, his whistle can hit up to 120 decibels.

Queen Falcon

Carolyn “BirdLady” Freeman started following Atlanta Falcons in 1998—after 12 years of confinement in bed. She was a deputy sheriff and was severely injured while on duty. She was in every Falcons game, even flying to Houston to watch the Super Bowl LI. Freeman also painted her home black, white, grey, and red or the Falcon colours.

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Sad Stories Behind 6 Fallen NFL Players

The NFL is made for the greats. However, some players fall from grace even before they reach greatness.

Below are some of the fallen NFL players who sadly ruined their own careers.

1) Ryan Leaf

Leaf was imprisoned for five years in 2014 due to violations of his probation. He was on probation because of burglary charges.

He was the 1998 NFL Draft’s second top pick and played for San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. He had 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

Leaf’s professional football career was halted not just by his imprisonment alone, but also his addiction to painkillers.

2) Todd Marinovich

Marinovich had to grow up with an abusive father around. Because of this, he never experienced a normal childhood. Although not confirmed, this could be one of the reasons why he resorted to substance abuse.

One time, while he was still playing, the police cops caught him at their neighbour’s backyard naked and high. In 2011, he claimed sobriety. However, he was arrested again for possession of marijuana, controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia in 2016.

Marinovich attempted to stage a comeback. He was with the World Developmental Football League.

3) Aaron Hernandez

Hernandez affiliated with gangs and lost the chance to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

He was accused of murdering two people in Boston in 2012 but found not guilty. However, he was found guilty of killing Odin Lloyd. 

In April 2017, he took his own life, leaving several notes to his family. Before committing suicide, though, Hernandez was diagnosed with severe CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

4) Terrell Owens

Owens was unarguably one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. He was included in the NFL Pro Bowler and All-Pro for six and five times, respectively. He was also recently voted for Hall of Fame.

He was awarded a multimillion contract but lost all his earnings, amounting to $80 million, to bad investments. He also lost $2 million buying a home in New Jersey and another $750,000 for rental expenses.

All the money he made through playing football was never put into good use. Owens is currently into modelling.

5) Michael Vick

Vick used to be Atlanta Falcons’ star player as a quarterback. He even appeared in the Pro Bowl selection four times.

In 2007, he was arrested and pleaded guilty for dogfighting charges. Vick spent 23 months in prison. The league put him on indefinite suspension without pay.

In 2009, Vick was reinstated, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. His story has a good ending, though because he was chosen as the comeback player of 2010.

6) Johnny Manziel

Manziel is notorious for his party boy lifestyle. He showed up to Cleveland Browns practice hungover despite being under a concussion protocol.

The Browns released him because of that and other reasons mainly pointing to his performance. While he got all the hype as a dominant quarterback in college, he did not perform to expectations.

Manziel was known for his inability to adapt to the changing speed of the game while he was still with Browns.

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NFL embarassing moments

4 Most Embarrassing Moments in NFL History

Much like any other sports, NFL players are bound to make mistakes. What these players did not know then was they are making the biggest mistakes of their life worthy of a spot in this most embarrassing moments in the history of the league.

Here are some of the most embarrassing moments in the NFL.

Jim Marshall ran in the wrong direction

Although a comical moment that you’d find glorified in bloopers reels, it’s easy to see how embarrassed Marshall was. It was the worst play between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers that involved the defender Marshall who grabbed the loose fumble right after a completed pass.

He ran towards the end zone for 66 yards on that fateful day on October 25, 1964, throwing the ball on the sideline upon reaching the end zone. Blaming a mental lapse, he ran in the wrong direction. It cost Vikings two points but won the game anyway with 27-22.

Redskins’ zero points in a championship game

It was simply known as 73-0, a match between Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins that happened on December 8, 1940, on a sellout Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The Bears controlled 100% of the game with the infamous T-formation. 

The Bears had 11 touchdowns, resulting to a one-sided victory in history. It was a rematch since the Redskins had defeated the Bears in the regular season with a 7-3 score, three weeks earlier. 

George Preston Marshall, an owner of Redskins, said that the Bears are crybabies and quitters during an interview. George Halas, the Bears head coach, showed the clip with Marshall’s comments to his team. Indeed, the rest is history.

The 73 points still hold the record of most scores in a match, regular or postseason. It is also the largest margin of victory to date. The 1940 championship win of the Bears is also dubbed as one of the ten games that mattered.

Eugene Robinson as Man of the Year

This one’s cringe-worthy because it involves a football player who supposedly best exemplifies excellent leadership and character on and off the court or the Bart Starr Award. The guy was Eugene Robinson.

The night before Super Bowl XXXIII game, Atlanta Falcons’ safety was arrested for attempting to solicit a prostitute. In a modern twist of event, the prostitute was an undercover cop. The fact that he left his W-I-F-E in the team hotel on the night of his arrest.

Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction

Fans look forward to Super Bowl half-time shows—they prepared for it. But no one was quite prepared when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake took over the stage of Super Bowl XXXVIII. 

Whether intentional or accidental, Timberlake tore Jackson’s clothes, exposing her breast and the nipple shield. The artists downplayed the issue by calling it a ‘wardrobe malfunction’, but the media called it a planned publicity stunt. It was referred to as the Nipplegate in mainstream media.

Instead of focusing on New England Patriots’ win against the Carolina Panthers, it was shifted on the event and the countless complaints after that. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) conducted a crackdown on indecent displays within the entertainment industry. The FCC fined the CBS a fine amounting to $550,000.


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