STEIMER: Colts fans in Knoxville faced with interesting dilemma

Throughout most of the country, fans root for the NFL team closest to their home. This is definitely not the case in Knoxville. While many Knoxville fans root for the Tennessee Titans, just as many root for the Indianapolis Colts. To the average American sports fan, this makes little sense. After all, Indianapolis is six hours from K-Town (by comparison, Nashville and Atlanta are around three hours away). The reason for this anomaly is, of course, Knoxville’s love for Peyton Manning. Knoxville heard a week ago that their beloved had just gone through a second neck surgery and is quite possibly out for the season. It cried a little. But what does this mean for Knoxville football fans? Will they root harder for the Titans? Or will some start cheering for the Falcons? Or will some drop NFL football altogether? These fans have been rooting for the Indianapolis Colts for 13 years. So why should they stop now? It would be refreshing to see Knoxville continue to root for their adopted team. After all, most fans of the NFL root for a franchise rather than a player. Football is a team sport, and Knoxville’s insistent rooting for a single player is arrogant and unrealistic. Manning is not the team and is one of 22 starters for the Colts. Yes, he is their MVP, but he is one player. If Knoxville fans want to root for his team, that’s fine, but it needs to root for the franchise. Fans are much more satisfied when they invest their support into a team and that team does well. And it won’t work to continue to casually root for the Colts, while also cheering for the Titans. A man, by rule, is allowed to have one team to root for, according to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. I, however, prescribe to the train of thought that as long as rooting for a second team does not detract from your ability to follow and root for your favorite team, then it is okay. For instance, even though I am a Packers fan, I root for the Jets. If they play, I root for the Packers, and I will always watch the Packers’ game if they are both on at the same time. However, this doesn’t work for Knoxville fans who try to cheer for both the Titans and the Colts. They are in the same division. Therefore, each true fan base dislikes the other and true Colts fans cheer for the Titans to lose so that they are not in competition for the division title. So Knoxville, do not root for franchises based on a single player and please stop rooting for two teams that are in the same division. Thank you, Jacob Steimer Sports fan