From painted faces to personalized banners praising their favorite players and teams, many football fans prove their love of the sport by packing their home stadiums to watch their favorite NFL teams play. Even when their beloved players showcase some less-than-stellar performances, dedicated fans are still always there to root for the home team. But some fans turn out more than others. These five teams have the highest rates of attendance in the NFL during the 2018 season, according to figures from ESPN.
5. Dedication to da Chicago Bears
- 100.5% capacity
Backers of their favorite team based in Chicago are considered so loyal that Saturday Night Live regularly parodied them as beer-guzzling, cigar-smoking, sunglass-wearing fans. The comedy bits were centered around bar discussions showcasing their dedication to “Da Bears” and worshipping then-coach Mike Ditka. However, the Bears really do have some of the most dedicated fans out of all the NFL teams. The Chicago fanbase is still strong and loyal since they’re consistently coming out to cram the stadium at Soldier Field at more than 100% capacity.
4. Selling out in San Francisco
- 100.9% capacity
Between quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2018 injury and a tough NFC West, the 49ers struggled last season. The product on the field was average, but that didn’t stop fans from making the journey from San Francisco south to Santa Clara to watch their team play in one of the worst stadiums in sports. San Fran fans filled every seat and then some during the 2018 season.
3. Mega Miami Dolphins fans
- 101.2% capacity
Playing in the shadow of the seemingly unstoppable Patriots hasn’t been easy for the Dolphins, but they finished second in the division behind New England in 2018. That second-place status doesn’t seem to bother fans of the Dolphins who continue to show up to support their team in their sunny home state of Florida. They also don’t seem to mind reviewers commenting about the Dolphins being a terrible team and destined to another disappointing season.
2. Oakland Raider Nation
- 103.4% capacity
Whether they’re playing in Los Angeles, at home in Oakland, or Las Vegas in the future, Raiders fans are the true definition of die-hard. Even though they share an aging stadium with baseball’s Oakland A’s, their overall ticket sales are strong regardless of their standing among NFL teams. The fans, at least, deserve the number one spot for several reasons, and some of the best include:
- Their own designated celebratory zone in the stands to praise touchdowns aka “The Black Hole” where players are swallowed up by fans
- Some of the most elaborate, insane and over-the-top costumes you’ll ever see in any sport professional or otherwise
- Let’s not forget the stage-worthy makeup, colorful signs, banners and support these fans consistently give these pirates of the gridiron
The next time you watch a game where the Raiders play away, during times where there’s no action happening on the field, often sportscasters and cameras turn their attention to fans in the stands. Take note that when the Raiders don’t have the home-field advantage, still droves of their fans turn out in full force to support their team regardless of the numbers showing up in win/loss columns.
1. Celebrating the Los Angeles Chargers
- 121.4% capacity
Similar to backers of the Dolphins in Florida, fans of the Chargers also find themselves behind a division-leading team (the Chiefs) when it comes to their standings in the AFC West. Still, the Chargers were the envy of all the other NFL teams in 2018 — they filled their stadium to more than 121% capacity. When the Chargers relocated and changed their prefix from San Diego to Los Angeles, fans didn’t have to follow them very far to watch them play and cheer from the stands on the newer Rokit field at the Dignity Health Sports Park in nearby Carson.