Who is Portland’s football team of choice?

I ask this question in all earnestness.

I’m throwing (well, more correctly, my wife is, and I’m helping) a baby shower-type function on Sunday the 10th for work friends of my best bud and his wife, who are expecting in November.

Today, lamenting the failure of my peeps to RSVP to the Evite I sent them well over a week ago, I started the arduous process of calling each and every person on the list who’s phone number I have. Not my idea, mind you, as I firmly believe that e-mail was invented so I’d never have to talk to people again.

But my wife insisted.

Anyway, I talked to my friend Bill, who said that he’d misread the Evite to say that the party was this weekend, which (of course) is the launch of the football season. And he had thought me off my rocker for doing any such thing.

I agreed that, had I scheduled such a faux pas, it would mean that I should have my sports-loving gizzards drawn and quartered as punishment.

Then, after hanging up, I realized something. Football season is coming, Portland will be just as stuck to their TV’s as everyone else, and, yet, we don’t really have much in the way of a football team to call our own…

Sure, there’s Portland State. But who, really, follows them? Noone I know.

So the question I have for you is this:

Who is Portland’s team come football season?

To be fair, this is not an original question. I think Ian Furness discussed it on the air last year, and may have even blogged about it (though I searched and couldn’t find anything). But it’s a question that, I suppose, will get asked periodically by sports fans throughout town.

If I read the winds correctly, Portland is primarily a college football town. Perhaps because so many of us (me excluded, actually) come from U of O or OSU stock, whether by our own attendance or that of our predecessors. If you’re like me, it may be because you once dated a Duck or a Beaver and you got hooked watching a game with them (particularly when it was the Ducks/Penn State Rose Bowl back in the 90’s…). Or, perhaps, it’s the accessibility of Eugene (2 hours away) or Corvallis (somewhat less) that allows you to pop on down I-5 and attend a (relatively) cheap, almost-pro-quality sporting event.

Whatever it is, I’d say that the Ducks and the Beavers (and I’ll put them in that order) are atop the heap of Portland teams.

But who’s next?

Not PSU. Not by a long shot. Not to be mean. Just being accurate.

And not necessarily the Seahawks, though I’d suggest that they are growing in prominence after their recent success and their radio deal on KXL.

I’d suggest that next on the list is probably an NFL franchise with high-powered marketing and a good TV deal, like (perhaps) the Dallas Cowboys. I remember the Raiders used to get a lot of play in this market, but they aren’t competitive enough to keep us on the bandwagon.

After that, the fall is precipitous, and you start to run into a lot of ties. Notre Dame rates high because of the airtime they get on TV and radio, and the fact that they have a built-in constituency nationwide with the Catholics among us. BYU enjoys a similar constituency advantage, though certainly to a lesser degree.

So, here it is, my top 10 list of Portland’s football teams. See if you agree. If not, offer your alternative.

1) U of O
2) OSU
3) Dallas Cowboys
4) Seattle Seahawks
5) Notre Dame
6) tie – San Fran/Oakland (due to geography and TV scheduling)
8) PSU
9) Cincinatti Bengals (aka OSU East)
10) Wild Card – Miami Dolphins (or Harrington’s Last Stand)


10 Comments so far

  1. Russ (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 7:36 am

    In lower reaches I would place University of Washington and Washington State- plenty of alums in this area..not only on Washington side of the river but ours, too. Plus don’t forget WSU-Vancouver.

    Linfield College, too, nat’l NCAA III champs just two years ago. Probably even above PSU.

  2. valkraider (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 8:22 am

    The Oakland Raiders. Definitately.

    They are a blue collar team. They are gritty and personify what Football is all about. Art Shell is a fantastic coach, and they have a great storied past…

    Drop the Cowboys. They are not doing any better than the Raiders and they have the annoying moniker of “America’s Team” when most people outside fo Texas could care less about them. Oh yeah, they are Texan.

    I would stick to the AFC West – Raiders, Broncos, Chargers, and Cheifs. Good solid teams with great rivalry.

    Of course the NFC West is OK, with the 49ers and Seattle…

    Forget about Dallas though… Seriously. They have no place in Portland. How did you even come up with them on a Portland list? I never see Dallas fans at the sports bars… Raiders and 49ers fans mostly, after Seattle of course.

    Other teams that have earned respect: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Cincinatti Bengals, and the Philidalphia Eagles.

    Dallas? Come on…

  3. jonashpdx (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 8:47 am

    all seahawks all the time for me. tho’ i grew up in seattle, so i’m biased. having them be successful finally does make me feel a bit weird tho. when i lived back east and the seahawks really really sucked, i adopted the eagles for a while too, so kind of follow them. and the falcons — wait, there’s a theme here, let me see if i can figure it out…

    but really, i just want good football, and there are certain teams/players that are fun to watch. but i just can’t get interested in college football for some reason.

  4. TKrueg (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 9:23 am

    I’m not a Packers or Vikings fan, but there are a lot of WI and MN transplants here in the Portland area… I believe there are multiple bars that declare allegience to one or the other. Honestly, besides the Seahawks, these two teams are in the top 3 to 5 for Portland. The 49ers used to be in this club back when they were worth following.

    Like a lot of Portlanders, I grew up resenting the SeaChickens, simply because their sh*tty games were forced upon this TV market. The only team I cared about was the Buffalo Bills… BRRRUUUUUUCE!!

    Go Ducks

  5. dieselboi (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    I have to agree with the Linfield statement, yet they always get relegated to the lower page even though they consistently do better than OSU or UO or PSU. Did you know Linfield holds the national record at all league levels for most consecutive winning seasons? Something like 58 or 60. (disclaimer – i’m an alumn.)

    For NFL, I’m a Steelers fan. I work with a bunch of Steelers fans also, so I’m gonna say that Portland Loves the Steelers.

  6. TKrueg (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 9:55 am

    Sorry, Linfield is always a nice story, but let’s get real… they’re not in Division I-A and the talent level is several notches below. ‘Doing Better’ than UO or OSU is always relative… plus there’s so much more on the line for UO or OSU. Linfield is rightly placed below the fold.

    PSU? Does anyone care? No commuter school is ever going to have a fan base to speak of. Plus, they’re still navigating the transition to I-A, which has been a bumpy ride.

  7. Rusty (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 10:22 am

    Good comments so far. A couple of thoughts. . . First, I thought of including Linfield, but honestly, despite their impressive level of success, they simply don’t seem to matter to most Portlanders. And this list is designed not so much to gain concensus on who should be Portland’s teams, but on who ARE Portland’s teams. Second, as a Minnesota transplant myself, I know a few Vikings fans around town. But I don’t know if I know enough of them to call Portland a Vikings town. Finally, I would argue that Portland-in-general, having no home-grown NFL franchise, is swayed toward the teams with greater media exposure: Seattle for sure, and to a lesser extent Oakland; Dallas, San Francisco, Green Bay and Pittsburgh due to their success-driven media dominance in the last ten years. The regional network influence is eroding as cable and satellite spread, but for now I think the behavior is engrained. Oh, and while I’ll throw the Cougs some love, I’ll never acknowledge the Huskies. Eff them.

  8. Kai Jones (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

    Who cares? I don’t follow professional sports at all, nor does my husband. The last time I cared was when the Blazers won in 1977 and school closed so we could go to the parade. Even then I only cared because school closed.

  9. Rusty (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

    And, yet, here you are, reading AND commenting…

  10. isis9352 (unregistered) on September 2nd, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

    I have to vote for the Raiders as well… and I went to Linfield. Dallas doesn’t even belong on the list. It’s mere presence dates you to the late-70’s cheerleader obsession, and wondering if Tom Landry ever took off his hat. Dallas has been getting a pass for years as being “America’s Team”. What a crock.

    Raiders all the way, since I was a kid back when Kenny Stabler was QB. They play for real.

    Second place has to go to the Packers. Anyone who has an outdoor stadium in Wisconsin, filled to the rafters with people wearing cheese on thier heads gets my vote. Plus, they play some awesome football.

    So happy to see Denver isn’t on your list. Talk about overrated.

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