US Betting Report recently released data collected from a survey of 2000 U.S. sports fans. Among their findings was the fact that Dallas Cowboys fans are considered, overwhelmingly, to be the “cringiest” sports fanbase.
16.6% of respondents decided this superlative belonged to Cowboys Nation. That's almost seven points ahead of the fanbase in the number two slot, the Philadelphia Eagles fans. And the Eagles are only 1.3 points above the third cringiest fanbase, fans of the Las Vegas Raiders.
For those who haven't incorporated “cringey” or “cringiest” into their vernacular, the simplest explanation of the modern use of the term is that it's an adjective to describe something that makes one cringe.
According to Google, cringey means, “causing feelings of acute embarrassment or awkwardness.”
So what is it about fans of America's Team that makes other sports fans consider them awkward of embarrassing? Although the report did not expound upon the rationale behind respondents' choices, there are a few easily observable reasons that sports enthusiasts might have less-than-positive perceptions of the Dallas Cowboys fandom.
4 OUT OF 5 EXPERTS AGREE
Perceived expert power can sway minds and change hearts in the world of sports.
It's similar to pharmaceutical and cosmetic commercials that assure viewers that four out of five experts recommend the advertised product. They don't go into who the experts are or their backgrounds, but the fact that they're labelled as experts should be convincing enough.
That same concept is magnified in sports, so when the established faces of the worldwide leader of sports consistently say negative things about one particular fanbase, there is bound to be a segment of sports fans that buys into that narrative.
In this case, I'm referring mainly to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, of course. Smith discussed the Dallas Cowboys fanbase to the extent his disdain has practically become associated with his brand.
He has created songs, viral videos, and catchphrases centered around the idea that Cowboys fans consistently and illogically expect their team to make it to the Super Bowl no matter the circumstances.
His descriptions paint Cowboys fans as naive sports viewers with an inaccurate perception of the rest of the NFL landscape – if they pay attention to the rest of the NFL at all.
Stephen A. says he has no problem with the Cowboys team. He says it's only the fans that are an issue for him. However, his negative representation of the brand seems to have spread amongst his colleagues. The coverage of the Dallas Cowboys, especially on ESPN, seems to lean towards the negative end of the spectrum.
I've met people who are not even sports fans that somehow “know” that Dallas Cowboys fans are an insufferable group who expect their team to end up in the Super Bowl despite the fact that their quarterback is “a**.”
This is, of course, an inaccurate description of both the fanbase and our quarterback, but perception is reality for most. And the above description definitely paints a cringe-worthy picture.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT
The descriptions of Cowboys Nation recounted above are not an accurate depiction of the entire fanbase. However, there are a number of fans who fit that description close enough to where it could seem realistic to outsiders.
But of course, that's the case for pretty much every fanbase. I can't think of a single sports fandom that doesn't have a segment of cringey ones who make everyone else look bad.
Usually, that segment is a loud minority. And when your fanbase is the largest and most covered sports fanbase in the world, as is the case with the Dallas Cowboys, that small segment is amplified to the masses.
Online articles that describe the most annoying, insufferable, or most hated fanbases usually rank them based on their behavior. Naturally, writers and survey respondents will be quicker to comment on the behavior of the fanbases to which they're most exposed.
With the size of the fanbase, other teams' fans are more likely to randomly encounter Cowboys fans on social media than fans of other teams. And with the boosts in ratings and viewership media outlets tend to get when they discuss the Cowboys, fans over other teams are more likely to hear about Cowboys fans than fans of any other team.
As a result, even if Cowboys fans are somehow cringier than other fans, the disparity might not be as large as it seems from this survey.
IT ALL STARTS FROM WITHIN
Upon reading the title of this post, most Cowboys fans probably fell into one of three categories. There are those who felt offended and became defensive. There are those who rolled their eyes in disagreement but weren't shocked at all by the survey results. There are also those who totally agree.
Yes, there are a lot of Cowboys fans who find other Cowboys fans to be very cringe-worthy. For some, their opinion might be related to the reasons mentioned above. For others, their personal interactions with other fans led them to hate a portion of the fanbase even though they love the team.
Some Cowboys fans, honestly, seem outright miserable. They describe their team as a failure despite winning records. The seem to constantly want someone fired whether it's the quarterback, head coach, offensive coordinator, or someone else.
And when asked why they still claim to be a fan of a team that they seemingly can't stand, their response is usually related to the fact that they've been a fan for too long to simply stop being one. As a matter of fact some fans claim their tenure gives them a right to complain incessantly.I'll leave it to you as readers to pass judgment on the merits of such arguments, but they had to be mentioned.
I would be remiss to mention how other fans view Cowboys Nation without addressing the fact that many Cowboys fans think their fanbase is the cringiest, too.