So, you may have heard that there’s a football game this weekend. In honor of the single day in which over 100 million people get together to watch football, we’re featuring one who actually talks football most other days of the year, too. Underdog is a big Denver Broncos fan (lucky him, this year!), and spends much of his time sharing his knowledge, and debating others, on It’s All Over Fat Man (the story behind the community’s name is brilliant — you can read more on their site).

Underdog is the nice guy you want around to give it to you straight. Civility is sometimes the first thing to go when amongst passionate sports fans, but Underdog is a guy you can trust not to lose sight of the thing that matters — the game. To prepare for Sunday, head over to It’s All Over Fat Man and see what Underdog and the rest of the community have to say.

Q: What are your favorite sites to visit and why?
A: It’s All Over Fat Man for intelligent analysis and commentary on the Denver Broncos. Dodger Insider, True Blue LA, Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, and Dodgers Digest for LA Dodgers analysis and discussion. I read a host of of film web sites, too (like Mubi, IndieWire, Masters of Cinema, Reverse Shot, and so on) but less frequently comment there, and when I do it’s using a social media login. Other than the sites I respond to and moderate for work (Independent Lens), these sites I mention have a good strong community with above average (in intelligence and humor) conversations, led by bloggers who write thoughtful analysis of the teams I follow diligently. There is another Broncos site that is an SBNation commenting system. Those have pretty active communities where I’ve met people in person. I haven’t done that yet with the Disqus sports sites, but the people commenting on IAOFM, if any of them were local to Bay Area, I’d be up for a meetup because I’ve gotten to know many of them virtually.

I’ve also commented on news sites on occasion when the topic is important to me, but can’t recall the details other than remembering that news articles don’t have as many rational commenters as some of these other sites I mention. ;)

Q: What types of stories lead to good discussions?
A: Debates about a team’s roster construction, analysis and breakdown of specific games, debates about an offsite article. Some of my favorite It’s All Over Fat Man site blog posts include ones with in-depth analysis that have taught me a lot about the game I thought I knew pretty well already, using diagrams and images to explain certain plays and strategy. These are the kinds of things that keep me coming back, since I know all the writers there are smart and mature, unlike a lot of other sports blogs. I can actually watch a football game now and feel like I can foretell the future, understand plays as they happen, and even teach other people. Imagine that!

Q: How do you know you’ve captured your thought well?
A: It gets replies that are on-point and show they understand mine, or more agreement and recommendations other than “huh” and a thumbs down.

Q: Why did you choose the screen name or avatar you did?
A: My using “Underdog” goes way back. I chose it when I first started participating in online discussions (even BBSs!) and picked that name because I a) always liked the cartoon character and b) always root for the underdog in sports and in life. I like to come across as nice and understanding online, where possible, though maybe Shoeshine Boy would be more apt. ;)

Q: What kind of feedback or reaction are you looking for when you comment?
A: Either positive affirmation, or spawning an interesting commentary thread.

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