Detroit, Cleveland and the Top Five Most Hostile Locales in the NFL: A Fan’s View

According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Detroit is quickly becoming one of the NFL's most hostile locales. The city isn't just home to the NFL's next powerhouse. It is a city that is a throwback to the days when the game-day environment represented a place and a people. There is no pastoral beauty surrounding Ford Field. No grassy spots for picnics. No views of lakes or mountains. It isn't surrounded by vast parking lots, a setting designed for controlled tailgates and traffic and special access roads for the really rich. This is downtown Detroit in all its rough and tumble beauty, a modern facility set up in the heart of a past-its-prime-metropolis. All around it are structures in various stages of construct, from modern offices to collections of ancient bricks about to fall over. Dive bars, humble homes, downtrodden neighborhoods and a casino ring it. It's gritty. It's grimy. And like the team the fans come to see, it's absolutely, uniquely wonderful.

Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Wikimedia Commons

Green Bay

Green Bay might just be the NFL's last great small-town place, where time stands still and football is the only way of life. While baseball steals most of the headlines year-round in big-market cities like Boston and New York, Green Bay sports fans eat, sleep, and breath Packers football. Lambeau Field, one of the most unique and historic stadiums in the NFL, hosts many traditional celebrations such as the "Lambeau Leap." At Lambeau Field, you find a crowd that creates a small-town, intimate environment that feels more like a college football atmosphere than your typical NFL game.

Buffalo

According to a Yahoo! Sports report, something strange happened in Buffalo following the Bills' improbable win over the New England Patriots this season. The team's radio announcers first noticed it as they described the chaotic moments after the win. They described fans literally hugging and crying. Throughout the city people stopped their cars and honked horns when the game ended. People ran out onto the sidewalks and cheered. On Union Road, not far from the stadium in the suburb of Orchard Park, three young men walked down the street without shirts holding a giant Bills flag. Cars pulled up alongside. Horns honked; drivers waved. Buffalo might be the last simple place left in the NFL, but it is the home of some of the most diehard and passionate football fans in the league. Buffalo is a place where fans navigate tiny roads and pass signs for $10 parking on people's front lawns, and they can walk to a stadium that doesn't look like the Emirates Palace.

Cleveland

Cleveland can be a tough place to travel to for opposing fans. The Browns' fanbase is very knowledgable, dedicated and long-starved to see a winning product on the field. Cleveland is one of the NFL's most hostile locales because the fans are very emotionally tied to how the team performs, and they let the players know it when they're upset.

Philadelphia

When you go to a game in Philadelphia wearing an opposing jersey, don't expect to be welcomed with open arms. While not every Eagles fan looks to start fights and sling beer at innocent people, there are always a few loud yahoos in the stadium trying to cause trouble. Philadelphia can be a hostile location for opposing fans because the crowd is so passionate, and the boobirds come out early when the team isn't playing well.

Follow the author on Twitter @ericholden.

Sources

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=dw-wetzel_detroit_lions_ford_field_bears_mnf101011, Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=lc-carpenter_buffalo_bills_jim_kelly092811, Les Carpenter, Yahoo! Sports

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Updated Friday, Oct 14, 2011