Best of Both Worlds: NFL Cities with Major College Teams

Mark Tye Turner is the author of Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks

While some of the biggest college football programs are located in such outposts as Tuscaloosa and South Bend, many Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams share cities and fans with NFL franchises. Every weekend in the fall, a lot of major cities host college games on Saturdays followed by the pros on Sunday.

Sometimes one of the city’s teams is successful which softens the heartbreak of its other team’s failures. There are also the fortunate cities with both teams doing well and other places that are only experiencing gridiron depression.

For years, Los Angeles was the king of the NFL/college combo with the Rams and USC Trojans playing at the L.A. Coliseum. Unfortunately the City of Angels is taking an unending sabbatical from the NFL so the town is not part of this discussion.

Of course, not all fans in a particular NFL city root for the same college team. Some cheer for the same team since childhood while others favor their alma mater. But for this story, I am grouping an NFL city with its brother FBS team. In cities with more than one FBS team, we will use the record of the higher profile school.

Some cities (such as Seattle with the Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies) have its NFL teams and FBS schools both located within city limits. Others like San Francisco have their teams contained inside the city’s metropolitan area. Therefore, I have split the teams into “city limits” and “metro area” divisions.

New York City is problematic when dealing with the NFL/FBS combo. The city itself doesn’t have any FBS teams and both of its NFL teams actually play in New Jersey. The closest FBS school to the MetLife Stadium is Rutgers. I have gone back and forth about whether to include the Big Apple. In the end, I decided to keep the NYC metro area in because of the proximity of Rutgers with the NFL stadium. However, I have split up the two NFL teams.

I could have included Cleveland with the Browns and Akron Zips but Akron is only sometimes considered part of the Cleveland metro area. The combined record of the two teams is not very good (5-10). No need add to Cleveland’s sports futility. That city has had enough problems.

You have to feel pretty good if you live in New Orleans (pictured above), Seattle, Detroit or the west side of the San Francisco Bay. Conversely, the east side of San Francisco Bay is football misery.

NOTE: The combined records as of October 21.

*Not technically within the Denver metro area but close enough to be considered part of the Greater Denver area. This would be the equivalent to Anaheim if it still had the Rams and combine it with USC or UCLA.

**Neither the Patriots or the Eagles are located inside the Boston’s city limits. BC is in the unincorporated Chestnut Hill and the Pats play in Foxborough, Mass.

Photo of New Orleans by Ron Reiring

Mark Tye Turner

Mark Tye Turner is the author of Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks. You can find it on Amazon here. Follow Turner on Twitter @mtthawk