Rooting for Rival Football Teams

In a perfect universe, you and your significant other would cheer on the same football team. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

For example, I am a diehard Ravens fan and my boyfriend is a Browns fan. (I know, I pity him, too.)

When our respective teams take the field this Sunday at M&T Bank in Baltimore, we’ll be rooting against each other. So what do you do when you love your sweetheart, but hate his or her team? Here are a few suggestions to make sure no one gets hurt while rooting for rival football teams:

1) Establish some ground rules. You may be fine with some light teasing and name calling. Your partner, however, may not be. If you decide to watch the big game together, keep these things in mind unless you want to be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct!

2) Create a friendly wager. Even before we started dating, my boyfriend and I had a friendly Browns vs. Ravens rivalry. As a joke, he sent me a Browns shirt for my birthday:

Circa 2010, thus the phone. #SelfieBeforeSelfiesWereCool

Circa 2010, thus the phone. #SelfieBeforeSelfiesWereCool

We created a bet when our team played for the second time that season: Whoever lost had to wear the opposing team’s shirt and profess his/her love for the winning team and that person on Facebook. Guess who lost:



You can make your bet as G-rated (washing the dishes) or X-rated (I’ll let you decide) as you like. No judgment here!

3) Try to understand. Your husband or wife may have a good reason for supporting the team of his or her choice. Perhaps it’s her home team. Maybe he established a love for the team as a result of attending games with his grandfather. You never know until you ask, just remember to be respectful!

4) Don’t be a jerkface. Generally, a good rule for life and the same applies to football games…

5) Remember, it’s just a game. My cousin, a fellow Ravens fan who married a Steelers fan (now that’s a real rivalry), offered the following insight: Neither one of you is on the roster and you’re not getting paid. Yeah, it’s fun to boast and poke fun at the losing team, but there’s no reason to be downright rude! No one likes a sore loser either. Hug it out at the end and go about your non-sports life afterward.

Editor’s note: In all fairness, my boyfriend did find a Ravens bar for me to watch the games with fellow relocated Marylanders since I recently moved to Chicago. Must be love…

YOUR TURN: Do you and your sweetie root for rival teams? How do you keep the peace during football season?