One of the first encounters a person has when they join an online community like Off Tackle Empire is the introduction of his or her favorite team. Specifically, the job of 'sizing up' or 'labeling for the purposes of making fun of the Illinois fan' is a rite of passage that we all endure or - at minimum - try and force others to endure. I mean, considering the SB Nation platform even has a profile page with your 'favorite teams' that allows users to stalk you in an awkward internet research sort of way... if you're into that sort of thing.
Of course, we often don't really get to know about a person until we figure out how they landed on "Nebraska" as their favorite team despite not being from Nebraska or going to Nebraska for school. Maybe it was because they were watching ABC as a kid and saw Nebraska blast Kansas State? Perhaps they have an affinity for women's bowling? Or still, maybe, this person just really likes the idea of a fighting Cornhusker. No matter what the reason is, it usually boils down to a specific favorite team. One that sparked the imagination of fandom. For each of 'my teams' I have a favorite that got me into the sport. Whether it was the 1992 Nebraska Cornhusker football team or the 1994 Nebraska Basketball team, the 2000 Nebraska baseball team or any number of dominant Nebraska volleyball teams, the fact remains that the players and plays of that team mean something to me.
Because of that, we are going to be launching into an on again, off again series focusing on our writer's favorite teams. This is the offseason for football, and it only seemed right that we kind of take some time away from trying to be the hard hitting news site that you all come here for and focus more on passion projects. From some early drafts of upcoming pieces, I think you all will be really excited to read and discuss what makes up a favorite team. Is it the players? The success? The non-success? The factors are limitless, but the unifying idea is that a favorite team got us to where we are as fans. It makes us invested.
And so, lastly, I want to put this out there to the OTE community. This is one of those projects where you all should participate. Specifically, go into the FanPosts and start telling us about your favorite teams. Perhaps it's something obscure to the public like the 2004 Northwestern Women's LAX team, or maybe it's something completely obvious like the 2014-15 Ohio State football team. No matter who it is, we want this to be as collaborative and inviting as possible. When our team started talking about this project, the end result - at least as a goal - was hopefully going to be an archive of what makes us all tick. Off Tackle Empire is one of the most commented on sites in the SB Nation network, and that's because you all are passionate. So, let's talk about the teams that made us this way. If you have a team, talk about it. It can be short or really in-depth. I'm okay with whatever. Just let a writer know and we can try and highlight as many of these as possible. In the upcoming week, you'll get a feel for the diversity we have out there, and I think you'll all want to join in.