RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. — The New York Giants were eliminated from NFL Playoffs last week, but for many Bergen County football fans, their No. 1 team still has a shot: the Dallas Cowboys.
"When you’re a kid you associate the Cowboys with being the good guys," Ridgefield Park resident Victor Negron said.
Since he saw his first football game at 5 years old, Negron has rooted for the team despite pressure to root for one of the local teams like the New York Giants, New York Jets or Philadelphia Eagles.
The real question seems to be, why are there so many Cowboys fans in a state that's 1,500 miles away from the team's stadium?
Statistically, people in most states throughout the country have a higher chance of seeing a Cowboys game than games played by other out-of-state teams.
New Jersey Cowboys fans are a diverse group. A Facebook group called We Love The Dallas Cowboys In New Jersey has over 800 members.
Although the country is filled with Cowboys fans, New Jersey is in a unique position since it doesn't have a definitive home team.
"Jersey doesn’t have a team so it’s a true watering hole for fans. You could find a fan of any team for any sport," Hackensack's Alexis O'Shea said.
O'Shea grew up attending yearly Super Bowl parties during the Cowboys heyday, when they won back-to-back championships in 1993 and 1994. The team won another Superbowl in 1996.
She's maintained her love for the team over the past 20 years as they've struggled to make the post-season since their success in the '90s.
Some Jersey residents became Cowboys fans because they felt they didn't have a local team.
"I do not like the fact that New Jersey residents consider New York teams a home team," Paramus resident Billy Kuzmanovski said.
Kuzmanovski was drawn to the look of the Cowboys franchise, comparing their clean white jerseys to the Yankees pinstripes. He also appreciated their storied history in the league.
He roots for the Cowboys first, but if they get knocked out of competing, he supports a local team like the Giants. But not all Jersey Cowboys fans are the same.
"Anybody in my division — Giants, Redskins and Eagles — they all make me want to throw up a little bit," O'Shea said.
The rivalries in the National Football Conference East are some of the most intense in the league. Made up of Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Redskins, some of the fanbase revel in rival losses.
"I have two favorite teams: the Cowboys and anybody who plays against the Giants," Negron said.
The Dallas Cowboys will play the Greenbay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 4:40 p.m. on Fox.
Fans are hopeful for the outcome.
"Do I expect this team to produce like they have been all season? Yes I do," O'Shea said. "I think [the team this year] is very special. This is grounds for a Super Bowl-winning team. They're the real deal."
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