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.
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.
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.