2021 NFL season: Which NFL fan base most deserves a Super Bowl title?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a Super Bowl title in February thanks to a dominant defensive effort and a no-nonsense quarterback in Tom Brady, who has seven rings to his name. While the franchise celebrated its second championship, there are 12 NFL franchises that have yet to win one.

In contrast, four franchises have been spoiled with Super Bowl victories, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy five-plus times, more than any of the remaining 28 organizations: the New England Patriots have won six titles, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won six, the Dallas Cowboys have won five and the San Francisco 49ers have won five.

As we inch closer to the 2021 NFL season, we ask: Which fan base is most deserving of a Super Bowl title?

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I realize that the Green Bay Packers have no shortage of championships, with nine pre-Super Bowl era titles and four Super Bowl victories. But never has an organization and fan base been in so much distress while also being so stable and loaded with talent. After falling in consecutive NFC title games, their disgruntled reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers held out of OTAs, and there’s no sign he’ll return to the team later this month when training camp begins. Winning the Super Bowl is the only thing that can calm the nerves and dial back the current DEFCON warning system of Packers loyalists.

Let’s go, Buffalo! Having worked for the team for three years, I know how passionate and hungry Bills fans are for a championship — especially after the agonizing four consecutive Super Bowl losses in the early 1990s. Some other fan bases need one, as well (see: Cleveland), but after last year’s AFC Championship Game appearance and having one of the NFL’s brightest stars in Josh Allen, the Bill-lief is sky high and can’t be crushed again.

I’m going slightly off script and showing support for two fan bases: those of the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Both teams are very proud franchises with glorious histories full of great players, coaches, owners and classic NFL characters — all of whom helped grow this great game. Those figures had the “shoulders of giants” that our game now stands upon, and their fans are some of the NFL’s best. However, the Cleveland Browns have not won a championship since 1964, and the Detroit Lions haven’t since 1957.

Wouldn’t it be great if these two organizations met in Super Bowl LVI? We can call it the “Rust Bowl” or “Battle of Lake Erie.” (I know Detroit isn’t ON Lake Erie, but it’s on the Detroit River, which connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.) Think about all of those fans from two historic, blue-collar cities descending upon Los Angeles in February. (Plus, this would allow them to escape the snow and ice.) Not only do they need a championship, they deserve it!

Browns fans have been through it. But the team and fan base finally got a taste of success last season when Kevin Stefanski’s squad beat division-rival Pittsburgh on Super Wild Card Weekend after spending nearly two decades on the outside of the playoff picture. Now with one of the most complete teams in the NFL and the hunger for more, might they reach pinnacle of the sport? They certainly would deserve it.

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