Take a drive down any interstate in Southeastern Conference country and college fans will quickly begin to stand out because of the stickers and magnets on their cars. Head inside a store or restaurant and team logos on shirts, hats, and almost everything else will become visible. SEC fans are arguably the most passionate fans in the country, which is the main reason college football trumps professional football, at least in this region of the United States.
SEC schools are located in 11 different states, with five of these states lacking a professional football team. This is one of the simple reasons people prefer college football because fans are more passionate about a team located in their hometown or home state. The National Football League can't have teams in every major city or state like the NCAA, so many college fans just watch NFL games as a way to pass time, but still maintain the football mood as they wait for Saturday.
SEC fans are so passionate because they are invested in the team on various levels. Most of the fans are graduates from any of the 14 universities, while others want to represent their city or state's home team. It's hard to be as invested in a professional team because people can't attend school and support a professional team in the same place. The NFL is also missing the student section, where young people learn traditions they will carry on for the rest of their life after college.
In addition to some geographic issues, the pay issue comes into play. Professional football players are obviously paid to play, while college athletes just receive a scholarship to help pay for their education. It can be argued that college football athletes are more involved and passionate because they are not playing for money, only the enjoyment of the game and the hopes of turning pro. While most professional football players are passionate about the sport, sometimes the NFL seems more serious and business-like than it should be.
The style of play also is the reason many people prefer to watch college football. The college game is a more open and fast-paced style of football than what is played in the NFL. More points are scored and more fun plays like long touchdown passes are displayed in the college game. Many fans get bored with the low scores and little offensive production by NFL teams, which draws more fans to the college game.
Game day atmosphere is just another reason why college football is superior. Tailgates, marching bands, traditions, and hate filled rivalries are all what make college football unique and irresistible. A game day experience at any SEC school rivals that of an NFL team because of all of these different elements. The game day atmosphere is what makes college football unique and keeps the fans interested.
Without a doubt, football fans want to be invested in the team they support. With many states in the South lacking an NFL franchise, football fans find a college football team to support. In the SEC, college football is a way of life. Once the schedule is released for the season, life revolves around whether a team is home or away for the weekend and what time the game is played. College football is king because the teams are made up of people who simply love the game and play to represent the universities that numerous others support. Next time you're out on the road or in a public place, keep an eye out and compare how often you notice a college logo versus an NFL logo. If you're in the South, I promise the preference will show.