Hey everyone, Ryan Sudol here! I hope you guys are all having a Happy New Year! This entire holiday break I have been scouring through all of the episodes of Season 1 of Football Fanatics to find which fan bases were my favorite. Originally, I was just going to name my top four in this article and leave it at that. But then I thought about it further and concluded that this whole thing needed something bigger. So, I came up with the idea of the Football Fanatics Final Four!
In this article, I name my four favorite Football Fanatics fan sections. Then, it will be put into the hands of the people (you). Through the poll below, these four schools will be pit against each other to determine the ultimate WINNER of the All Unruly Fan Section Award for Season 1 of Football Fanatics. The winning school will receive a framed award that will be mailed to the school’s office to be placed in (hopefully) the trophy case! So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Before we get to the Final Four, let’s check out some honorable mentions.
All Unruly Honorable Mention Fan Sections
The Falcon’s Nest made their only appearance on the show in Week 3 vs. Par Hills. That night the Falcons decimated the Vikings 38-0, so those kids never lost a single bit of energy! Plus, their “Pink Out” theme was an amazing success for an amazing cause. Their Silly String and streamers were an awesome touch, and they even gifted me with one of their pink rally towels which I still have hanging up in my room to this day. I hope to see even more of the Falcon Faithful next season!
The Dodger fans were part of my first and last episode, first and last interview, and the most featured school for Football Fanatics this season (3 times). Obviously, the Dodger Nation holds a special place in my heart. I have many notable memories from the season with them. When I asked this one freshman girl in Episode 1 about what a Dodger was, she gave me the best answer possible, talking about how a Dodger is someone who is welcoming, prideful, and helpful to their community. Again, a FRESHMAN who had only been in the school for two weeks said that! Amazing! Also, at MetLife, as soon as I went to their sidelines, they welcomed me with such open arms it was ridiculous. When I went into their fan section to get some interviews, they were crowding around me, screaming, and chanting so much that I couldn’t hear myself think. My dad (and camera man) could barely even get in the fray to film! It was a mosh pit!
But probably my favorite part of Dodger Nation this year was meeting Mrs. Mulcahy. In Episode 1, her jubilance and energetic support of her kids (PJ and Matt) was contagious and an absolute riot! Her cowbell and fatheads of her kids were awesome touches too. Then when they faced Hanover Park a few weeks later, she one upped herself by bringing even BIGGER fatheads of her kids, a fathead of her DOG, and even more incredible energy. I was simply speechless and couldn’t stop smiling! Finally, at MetLife, when I interviewed her for the last time this year, her antics were so hilarious that I could barely do the interview. I somehow finished the interview and I told her how much I was gonna miss her and she pulled me in and then said “We’re like family”. The icing on the cake for this whole thing was the fact that the young man who scored the game winning touchdown with 1:00 to go was none other than Matty Mulcahy. When I saw him score, a tear almost came to my eye because everything had come full circle. After the game, I went up to Matt to congratulate him on his win and he said, “Me and my mom love your show”. At this point I looked into the crowd to see Mrs. Mulcahy as happy as can be. It was the perfect ending.
Not putting Madison in the top 4 was honestly the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a long time, but they deserve all of the recognition in the world. NOW FOR THE FINAL FOUR!!!
All Unruly Final Four Best Fan Sections
The first time that I got to meet the Patriot faithful was the the series premiere of Football Fanatics when they went up against Madison. I went into the game not thinking that a lot of them would show as the drive from Lenape to Madison is almost 40 minutes. Not to mention that it was absolutely SCORCHING hot outside that day. However, they proved me all the way wrong. The Patriot Nation came out in full force and I could just tell how much they loved their school and their team. Everyone was decked out in their best red, white, and blue attire and they didn’t let the elements affect their fandom whatsoever. It may have been hot, but their spirit and chants were on FIRE! Probably the coolest thing I saw them do was all exit the stands and run down near the end zone to watch their team score. Awesome stuff! They were oh so confident too as one student said the score would be 1776-0! And then I met Mr. Walt Wormann…the “Sign Guy”. I was told by George that he was a riot and held incredible passion for his Patriots. Boy, was he right! The fact that he brought 20-30 signs to that game blew my mind, and his enthusiasm was simply contagious. The best sign was arguably the “Thank You Morris Sussex Sports” sign, for obvious reasons. The kids absolutely love him and connect with him on such a high level. Not to mention that he is the nicest and most humble dude on the planet. All of these elements added together, I was so thrilled when they made it to MetLife to play Madison once again.
At MetLife, I peered at the south end of the stadium where Lenape was seated and noticed that not only did the students come out, but damn near the whole community did! The Lenape Valley section of the stadium went back nearly 13 rows! I could see it on all the kids in the fronts rows’ faces how happy and excited they were to see their boys on the big stage. Mr. Wormann was incredibly thrilled as well as he got to be on the field with his cavalcade of colorful signs. However, the night before he had to take off all of the sticks from the signs to get them into the stadium. Now that’s dedication! Plus, he was running down those sidelines like a kid in a candy store! Even though Lenape was on the losing end when it was all said and done, those folks never lost an ounce of pride throughout the whole night and through the bitter cold. I think it was best said by one of the Lenape students when she said, “We’re strong, we don’t give up, we’re fierce, and we’re awesome”. I couldn’t agree more. And for that, Lenape Valley cracks the top.
When I got to Butler High School’s field for the Boonton vs. Butler game, I looked at the size of the away bleachers and I said to myself, “Uh oh, this episode may not work out so well.” The space that was given to them was so crammed and small that I didn’t think that they’d look good on camera. However, once I approached the “Bomb Squad,” my fears were put to rest. Those tiny stands were packed to their absolute maximum and then some. There was so much Bomber pride in the air! The thing I remembered the most was this cool cheer that everyone did along with the cheerleaders, “Y-E-L-L, everybody yell!” In fact, it was so loud that it almost seemed like a Bomber home game! I can only imagine what their home games are actually like. Also, they were so welcoming and all-around nice people. When I walked in front, they immediately knew who I was and so many people were volunteering to be interviewed. I interviewed a cheerleader named Shakay, and she was absolutely awesome. She came up to me beforehand and was yelling, “Oh my God, I love your videos. Me and my friend watch them all the time!” It was the first “fangirl” experience I ever had! When the game ended, she even took a picture with me! And then came what was one of the funniest segments of the year, the Boonton game show. I’m not gonna go into detail about what happened, because I think you should just watch it for yourself. Let’s just say that I almost was in tears when I was editing it. At the end of the game, the coolest thing happened. I had just completed my final interview of the night and I all of a sudden hear a “Thank you Ryan” chant from the “Squad.” It was so humbling and cool for me to hear, and I thanked them right back. All and all, the Bomb Squad was easily the best “away” section I saw all year, and they definitely deserve a spot among the best period.
West Morris Central
The first time I got a taste of the Ultras of West Morris Central was their game at Sparta. It was absolutely FRIGID that day, so I didn’t expect the Pack to make the trip. That paired with those dreaded tiny bleachers, I was a bit nervous. But then little by little, a crowd formed. The camouflage attire of the Ultras began to fill the miniscule space. The crowd wasn’t the biggest, but it proved that the Wolfpack faithful weren’t gonna let the elements conquer their pride. In fact, one guy even had his shirt off! I question his judgement but he gets points for dedication! They also did what Lenape Valley did by running down to the end zone to watch their boys score. I give them extra points considering that they had to run through piles of mud. All and all, this game made me crave more of the Wolfpack student section, and I got just what I wanted when they faced Fair Lawn at home in the state quarterfinals.
As soon as I walked up to the Wolfpack’s home field, I knew it was gonna be something special. The huge banner that read “Home of the Wolfpack” over the team’s entranceway was unlike anything I had seen all season. What was also unique is that the fan section laid alongside of where the team enters, so the fans are right on top of the team when they charge through. Oh, and that entrance!!! Another banner reading “Go Pack” drops down from the press box and the team breaks through to the field followed by a freaking BAGPIPER! It was easily the best entrance I had seen all year. The fans themselves were absolutely incredible too. They never lost a single bit of energy all game long! Whether it was them singing along to “Hey Baby” as played by the Wolfpack marching band or their catchy as hell, “P-A-C-K, PACK PACK PACK” chant, I simply loved to watch them do their thing. During the process of filming, so many kids were volunteering to be interviewed that I almost couldn’t keep up! We had our first and only clean sweep of the trivia challenge, our first ever mascot interview, and I got to talk again with arguably my favorite group of cheerleaders I met all year! Such nice ladies! But the best part about that experience was the incredible classiness and kindness the fans had. Most notably, when the game was winding down, these three girls in the front row (Gabi, Allie, and Jamie) called me over to talk, and we had such a great conversation that went on for literally 15 minutes. They genuinely wanted to learn more about me, and me the same with them! I told them that my school, Morris Hills, was going to have a shot at MetLife, and they wholeheartedly wished us luck. I also said that my dream school was Syracuse, and when it was time for me to go, Allie said, “Thanks for coming, I hope you get into Syracuse.” Furthermore, everyone else held out their hand and thanked me as well. I was so touched by that and it was the icing on the cake for what was such a great fan section.
I had heard a lot of things about the Roxbury Gaels student section before I first encountered them in Week 3 vs Par Hills. My close family friend who had graduated from Roxbury said that it was so hard to get good seats at any game (home or away), that you have to get into the bleachers an hour in advance! Sure enough, an hour before kickoff, the Roxbury faithful started packing them in, and they brought a party with them!!! I’m talking glow sticks, glowing glasses, body paint, and a Harambe costume!! They also brought along an infinite amount of cans of Silly String, which me and my father were ceremoniously covered in once we entered the madness. But these Gaels brought a lot of substance to match their party. They had sing along songs with their marching band, they had this awesome chant where the crowd spells “Roxbury,” they did the famous “Rollercoaster” after the half, etc. They were so loud that when I first entered the crowd to conduct an interview, I couldn’t speak for almost 5 minutes due to their consistent activity. It was the best type of annoyance ever! The interviews were great too. The guys explaining what a Gael was is one of my personal favorites. I also must say that the interview that I did with two Gael cheerleaders was one of the funniest ones of the years as it took an infinite amount of takes for them to say their lines they gave each other. To top it all off, at the end of the game, they rushed the field! Keep in mind, it was an away game!! I wanted more of them, and I got that when they played Sparta.
When we arrived at Roxbury’s field, the Gaels were out in full force. I knew we were in for a good time when they all simultaneously turned their backs when Sparta entered. I cracked up! However, when the game was going on, it was evident that Sparta came to play as they were up 35-0 at the half. I was so worried. I wondered how the hell I was gonna interview Roxbury people when they may be all leaving. Awesomely, 80% stayed put. The three people that I interviewed before the second half started were a true testament to the dedication of the Gael faithful. None of them lost a single bit of hope and they all emphasized the community and how they were fighting together with their boys. That just made me smile. To add on, before that other 20% left, everyone stayed for their marching band’s halftime show, which for my money was the best band I saw this season. The crowd was so receptive of them that it made me wish that was the same for all other schools. Roxbury’s dedication, despite loss and partying hard no matter the score, puts them near the top!
There you have it, folks! The Football Fanatics Final Four! Congratulations to all of the schools that made it and all those who made appearances this season as they were all so great! Now it’s up to you. Please vote which of the Top Four is your favorite fan section!