Your team stinks.  I know, I know - it hurts.  And it’s not your fault either.  Ya loser.

The Simpsons GIF by MOODMAN


But as we get closer to the midway point of the season, you now have two options.  You can feel sorry for yourself and give up on football - maybe start gardening on Sundays or curl up with a good book.  Or you can pick yourself up by the proverbial boot straps and morph into a true super fan of your team by EMBRACING the tank.  Display the highest level of knowledge and sport fandom by investing in the future of you and your club.  And here’s how you do that.

How do I know we are “tanking”?

Some teams decide it’s a bridge year up front before the season even starts.  Here’s what Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions did this offseason, for instance.

  • Fire their head coach
  • Trade their quarterback for picks
  • Don’t sign most of your veteran free agents (Lions let Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew, Jarrad Davis, and Matt Prater all leave)
  • Don’t sign any incoming free agents so that you get compensatory picks back for the guys who left (the max comp picks is four and the Lions let five guys leave so they could sign one player to a multi-year deal with guaranteed money.  They chose Jamaal Williams.)   
  • Have the most dead cap
  • Have the least active spending (to still roll money over to the future)

Look familiar? It should.  This is EXACTLY what the 2019 Dolphins did as well when they were “Tanking for Tua” - right down to trading Ryan Tannehill for picks.  With other teams that aren’t so blatant about it however, you won’t know it’s time to flip your fandom to the dark side until they prove to you that they are just a flat out bad team.  And even then they might not tank - the Dolphins traded away their 2022 first round pick to move up and select Jaylen Waddle so, even though they are 1-5, they have no incentive to finish last.  If you are a fan of teams like the Lions, Texans, Jaguars, Giants on the other hand - it’s probably time to embrace the suck.


What do I do now?

Now you need to basically do the opposite of all your primal sports fan instincts.  And not just in regards to rooting for your team to lose games.  If you want to go full on loser mode, you need to root for a number of things that are going to be painful and against your better judgment.  For instance...

Root FOR the players that left your team in free agency.  I know, this one stings.  But you actually want those guys to have success THIS season.  After that, root against them all you want.  Per the collective bargaining agreement, the compensatory pick formula is a point system that heavily factors the amount of money that player was paid by the new team.  But it’s not JUST money - the point system is tied to performance as well.  Here is a snippet from the CBA.


So the Lions let Matt Prater leave in free agency at 37 years old.  He’s currently tied for fifth in field goal attempts but he’s missed three.  Your heart might say “good, screw that guy for leaving” but your head should be rooting for him to make all those field goals and make the All Pro team.  Because that could be the difference between your team getting an extra 6th round compensatory pick or not.  Know who was a 6th round compensatory pick? Just the greatest quarterback of all time, that’s all.


Root FOR the biggest threat in your division.  Again, this is wack.  And you obviously can’t root for your rival to win the Super Bowl or anything - that’s taking things too far.  But some people might not realize that the NFL schedule each year is based on the success level of teams within the division.  Teams from each division play all the other teams in the conference that finished in the same corresponding spot as them. So the top AFC teams from 2020, the Bills, Chiefs, Steelers, and Titans all have to play each other this season while the Jets, Bengals, Broncos, and Jaguars all get to play each other.  You want any advantage you can get so you want the best team in your division to have the most difficult schedule possible next season.  So you have to put your pride aside and root for them to win the division then you can resume despising them once playoffs start.

No positive changes. Want to see the young backup quarterback get his shot?  Tired of abysmal play calling?  Too bad.  In tank land, abysmal play-calling and bad QBs are GREAT!  The Jaguars did what they were supposed to and handed the ball to an undrafted free agent running back while quietly losing all their games.  The Jets did the opposite and inexplicably snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by winning two games vs. the Rams and Browns to end the season.  That was the difference in them getting Trevor Lawrence or not.  Brutal.

How do I keep my sanity?

Humor.  Your team is bad - let the world know it.  Bag on them.  The Detroit Lions subreddit is one of the internet’s finest production centers for memes.  Here’s a great one after the Lions finished their week 1 game in 2020 in a tie. 

Once you truly accept the reality and let the hate flow through you, you can start having fun again.  Losing is the new winning and every loss this year brings you closer to the wins of tomorrow.  Might as well have a good chuckle and make some Twitter friends along the way.

Want to be Twitter friends with the author Andrew Cooper? Follow him on Twitter @CoopAFiasco to get more sports tidbits and stupid gifs on a regular basis!