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Simple. These are the 12 pro teams with the best die hard fans. (College teams are another list!) There's no arguing these teams have a thorough following and a fan base that goes above and beyond what most other teams will ever dare to dream of experiencing.
-Twelve teams just missing the cut (no particular order): Seattle Seahawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Yankees, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Rockies, New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Angels.
-12. Pittsburgh Steelers - The thing about Steelers fans is they are EVERYWHERE! Sure, most Steelers fans started their allegiance when the Steel Curtain was gathering rings in the 70's but they haven't stopped giving their all.
-11. Utah Jazz - A ton of their success has had to do as much with recently deceased owner Larry Miller as Stockton-to-Malone. But you'd be hard pressed to find a more rabid fan base than the Salt Lake City crowd. Like many of the towns on this list, SLC only has one team to root for, but they go all out for their Jazz.
-10. Chicago Cubs - say what you will about the Bleacher Bums and the art of hopelessness that makes a Cubs fan so endearing, but Chicago fans know their stuff. Anybody who can root regardless of the pain is a die hard fan indeed. The fact that the Cubs still dominate a rich sports landscape in Chicago is proof that Cubs' fans are awesome.
-9. San Antonio Spurs - Stuck part way between Houston and Dallas, San Antonio is a heritage rich town. There's art, culture, food and history. All of which pale in comparison to the beloved Spurs. Not just another holdover from the ABA, San Antonio is a prime example of how to mutually take pride with a community and one of the classiest organizations in sports. Most of the NBA's biggest crowds have been at San Antonio games when they were regularly filling the huge Hemisphere Arena.
-8. Boston Bruins - Despite all the recent success of the other pro sports teams in Boston, the B's still have a tremendous following. One of the Original Six franchises has it's rivalries and it's tradition but today's bruins fans are downright nasty as they come. Turn on a Bruins game and the crowd is always on edge. The fans are INTO the game and they only want to see the home team do well. Passion amounts to a four letter word to Bruins fans in a town where it is more fashionable to be seen than to root.
-7. Oakland Raiders - How crazy do you have to be to still be a Raiders fan? The Raiders have been on the long side of lean for a long, long time. yet the crazies still give their all to the organization. Maybe it has more to do with the mentality of life in the east Bay, but Raiders fans are second to none on the "all out" scale. Remember, this franchise left cozy, cash-flushed Los Angeles to return to the East Bay.
-6. Portland Trailblazers - Blazer fans have put up with more crap than most fan bases. These fan LOVE to make a game into an all day event. Rarely do you see tailgating at an NBA game but they are commonplace in Portland. After some lean years, Portlanders are finally seeing their team blossom much like the rose gardens of the city itself.
-5. Kansas City Chiefs - Chiefs fans are die hard... and LOUD. They certainly aren't frontrunners since the team hasn't been very good in forever. They come out to cheer their faces off. Arrowhead Stadium is perhaps the greatest atmosphere to experience a sporting event - a stadium full of vocal, knowledgeable and downright hopelessly optimistic fans. When you consider the Chiefs' following, remember that Kansas City is not that big a town yet they pack that stadium every game with red and yellow.
-4. Montreal Canadiens - Hockey is Canada, Canadiens are hockey and since Canada's biggest city - Toronto - has fallen far by the hockey wayside the history, the glory, the honor and the insatiable fans have flourished in Montreal. Les Habitants have a seething following, a sometimes downright violent fan base as a riot could erupt if all is not well. Pride and glory goes a long way.
-3. St. Louis Cardinals - Middle American values, but also geography play a big part in the Cardinals' success. When Jack Buck used to announce games on AM Radio, half of America could hear them. Fans of the Cardinals range from Louisiana to the Dakotas, from West edge of the Appalachians to the East edge of the Rockies. St Louis fans know the game as well as any fan base. They are respectful, traditional and live and die with their beloved Cardinals.
-2. Cleveland Browns - LeBron James will probably win an MVP and a ring in June. The Indians could win back-to-back-to-back World Series. So what? All that matters in Upper Ohio is how the Browns are doing. The "Dog Pound" is so die hard that the NFL HAD to put a team back in Cleveland after Art Modell packed up and took the original franchise to Baltimore. The town is crazy for the Browns that they wouldn't allow the NFL to do anything except bring back the name and logo as it was. Teams have left and been replaced before, but not like the Browns were. They were dead and gone, yet it was a necessity that they came back in the same form. THAT is a die hard fan base!
-1. Green Bay Packers - Packers fans are #1 for three simple reasons: The "fans" own the team, Green Bay has probably the least pleasant weather conditions and it's the smallest town in America with a professional sports franchise yet they routinely have a tremendous outpouring of followers. Tradition is rich - going back to the area's meatpacking heritage and that spills over into the tailgating. Sure, there isn't much competition for things to do around 'the frozen tundra' so football IS life in Green Bay. When a city nearly doubles in size on game day, it's a quality fan base. Packers fans have suffered through some very lean years, but they can be proud that they truly are the most die hard fans in pro sports.