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What the ‘Red Sea’ of fans means to this Cardinals lifer

A lifelong Cardinals fan on why he’s the NFL’s ultimate fan.

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There are super fans, and then there is Rob Freedman. He went to his first Arizona Cardinals game in 1993 and never looked back. It was his first professional sporting event and he simply fell in love with the team, the crowd, and the organization. Now you can find Rob at tailgates, home and away games, charity events, and official team functions rocking the signature Cardinal red. He’s become a fixture in the fan and team community through his relentless positivity and energy, two characteristics he brings to every game no matter the matchup.

The NFL launched the Fan of the Year contest presented by Captain Morgan to celebrate extraordinary fans who inspire others through their love of football and bring an “original spice” to what it means to be a fan. In collaboration with the 32 teams, the NFL collected nearly 35,000 submissions from fans vying for the chance to represent their team as a nominee. The contest will identify one winner among the final 32 nominees to be named the ultimate NFL Fan of the Year at NFL Honors in February 2022.

Here’s what makes Rob one of the candidates for NFL Fan of the Year presented by Captain Morgan.

Why do you love being a fan of the Cardinals?

Robert Freedman: My first professional sports event was a Cardinals game back in August of 1993. I went because it was the local team and there was a lot of buzz about them—and my mom was a Cardinals fan and still is. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 2007 when I bought tickets right after college and my mom and I still go to games together regularly.

What is the most rewarding part of being a fan of the Cardinals?

RF: Cheering on the players and being a part of an amazing fan base. The Red Sea fan community treats each other like family. I have made a lot of new friends with the Red Sea, and we have a tailgate crew in the green lot each week with all season ticket holders. I’ve also met a lot of people through social media, including other Cardinals fans from around the world.

How would you describe your own original spice and how you bring it to every game?

RF: My energy and passion that I bring on a daily basis for the Cardinals. I’m always promoting positive vibes when I’m at games and tailgates, I’m never negative.

How do you like to watch the game?

RF: I like attending all the home games, and I always attend 2 or 3 road games every season. This season I went to Cleveland and Jacksonville, and I’ve been to 10 more NFL stadiums to catch Cardinals games. I’ll usually book the trip on my own but I always find others from the Red Sea who are going.

What are your game day rituals?

RF: I usually tailgate with friends before some of the home games, and I like to take game day selfies as well. Each week we have a themed tailgate depending on what team we are playing. For Thanksgiving we cooked up some turkey legs!

What is a Cardinals moment or season that is most meaningful to you? What makes it so memorable?

RF: I got to set off the Big Red Siren before the Cardinals vs Texans game back In October. It was a Cardinals experience that I got to cross off my bucket list.

Why is giving back to the community so important to you?

RF: I have to do whatever It takes to make this community a positive and healthy place. The Cardinals make their fans feel like a family and create a safe space for everyone to be themselves.

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