Jennifer “Jen” Mills knows that fandom is about more than just cheering on your team when they’re putting in work on the gridiron. It’s about the fellow fans that become an extended family, a community of passionate people that you get to bond with over wins, losses, and so much more. Jen is as passionate about her Bolts as she is about her fellow fans, doing everything from traveling around the Southwest to going to watch parties to fundraising for fans who have been impacted by natural disasters.
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 Jen one of the candidates for NFL Fan of the Year presented by Captain Morgan.
Why do you love being a fan of the Chargers?
Jennifer Mills: I absolutely love the players and the coaching staff. The energy that is felt this season is electric. The “All In” episodes have given us fans a little insight to how the team prepares for games and is pumping us up for each game. The social media team and production team are doing a wonderful job keeping the fans energized, excited, and engaged during the season and off-season.
What is the most rewarding part of being a fan of the Chargers?
JM: The best part of being a fan of the Chargers is the Boltfam community because the love for our Chargers has brought our fan base together. We are a family.
How would you describe your own original spice and how you bring it to every game?
JM: Most people see me as being very quiet and calm. When it comes to watching the Chargers play, I am extremely loud. I yell at the refs when they make a horrible call, jump up and down when we make an awesome play, and scream at the top of my lungs when we win a game.
How did you become a Chargers fan?
JM: I grew up watching sports with my dad as a child and since we were a UCLA family, I gravitated to the Chargers because of the uniform colors.
How do you like to watch the game?
JM: Ultimately, watching games at SoFi is the best. I like to be able to watch away games either at a watch party with my Die Hard Bolt Club (DHBC) or at home depending on my schedule.
What makes Chargers fans like you the best fans in the NFL?
JM: Chargers fans are the best fans because we really are there to support each other and the team. If there is anything that entails voting, for example: for Rookie of the Week, we show up big time and make sure that our player wins. If another fan needs anything, we jump in and try to help as best as we can.
What are your game day rituals?
JM: This season, I have to wear the same leggings, shoes, my powder blue Chargers jersey, DHBC Family bracelet, and post the same picture on Twitter. When I don’t do all this, we have lost this season so far.
Besides the stadium, what other places celebrate the Chargers the way you do?
JM: I love attending watch parties through my club, DHBC. Our Stockton, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas chapters all hold watch parties. I have gone to the ones in Vegas, Inland Empire, and Los Angeles.
What is the local community like on gameday? Describe the feeling of being in LA on gameday.
JM: The best thing is randomly running into another Chargers fan on gameday. To be able to attend games throughout the season is amazing because it allows me to connect with my extended family and to have others feel the same excitement for the game just makes me smile.
What is a Chargers moment or season that is most meaningful to you? What makes it so memorable?
JM: The 2019 season is the most memorable for me because that is the season where I began to truly make connections with Chargers fans on Twitter. That is the season that I began my giveaways and started helping other fans in need.
Why is giving back to the community so important to you?
JM: Over the past few years, our lives have been faced with so much negativity that it’s important to spread joy and kindness. I have been blessed in my life and it’s only fitting that I share with others. I have learned that just a simple DM to make sure someone is doing well goes a long way. Giving back to others in the community doesn’t always have to be about financially helping them. Being there to listen and be a friend can make just as big of an impact.