Football Fans: the Good, the Bad, and…the Funny

I pushed my post date back to Monday so I could be sure to do a Super Bowl-related post. What a game…As a Jets fan, you can guess how I feel about last night’s game…

Jets Fan Fist Pump.gif

Although this post highlights the reactions of Eagles fans from last night, the intense reactions and stories here are relatable most fan bases. We have seen it in previous years across all sports. With social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram allowing fans to capture every play, every reaction to those plays, and the celebration or agony that follows, social media has become a driving force in intensifying fan’s passion for better and for worse…but how? Well, a fan posting on social media feels that passion captured by the camera in the moment. They record themselves or someone records them so that their reaction is immortalized.

Before social media, fans had their fair share of passionate moments, but social media creates more moments like this for several reasons. Fans now know that their reaction can potentially be seen by millions of people. There are many reasons for wanting your reaction posts on social media: to share your joy with other fans, to rub it in the opposing fan base’s face, to make people laugh or cry, or to hopefully go viral to name a few. It allows fans to relate to one another, and it gives them the opportunity to always be able to look back at the reactions forever. For example, Eagles fans can look go back and see posts of fans crying (or fake crying) when their star QB Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Little did Eagles fans know these posts of sadness re-watched today take on a whole new meaning as they can be emotional and proud of the adversity their team overcame. Social media has played a variety of roles in reshaping the way football fans react. I think the best way to break it down is to talk about the good, the bad, and…the funny.

The Good

This video is about 10 minutes long. I will briefly summarize below, but I promise you it is worth the watch.

Social media can truly help a fan base and even members of the team rally around one of their own. This story has stuck with me since I watched it. Lukas Kusters, known by loved ones as “The Dutch Destroyer” for his dominance on the football field and because of the way he attacks every new challenge head on, was 10 years old when he passed away from a short battle with cancer. But his story, through the power of social media, reached and touched millions of fans around the world. Lukas’ favorite player, QB Carson Wentz, was even inspired. He remained close with Lukas. He wears his wrist band every game even while sidelined with an injury, and although Lukas passed, Carson remains close with the family and flew them out to the Super Bowl. This emotion-packed story may have never occurred if it were not for the power of connectivity that social media provides. Although Lukas’s fight ended, the Kusters were supported by Eagles fans around the world who watched and shared their story.

The Bad

Thankfully the worst that came out of last night’s celebration was some injuries and a ton of destruction in Philadelphia. But clips like the one in this video are certainly happening in part due to social media. The people on the awning who have social media know everyone is going to take out their phones and start recording them. There were cars flipped, windows smashed, and an outrageous food fight in a Wawa. It almost seems as if every celebration like this, although partially charged by the overwhelming emotions of winning, is also charged by a social media-fueled competition to take their celebration to the next level in the best and worst ways. Congrats Philly, you did out-crazy Boston’s celebration last year. But next time, don’t cause so much destruction to the city that your championship team calls home.

 

Macy's Damage.jpg

The Funny

In my opinion, Kevin Hart is one of the funniest people on the planet. Yes, he may have been a little too crazy last night…but were you not entertained? And part of me thinks Kevin, a social media expert, knew that his care-free, happy (with some help from some alcohol), and exciting night-long celebration would be all over social media the next day. He may be a little embarrassed, but he knows that this only brings him more publicity, which may have encouraged some of his funny antics. We see fans doing some crazy stuff. Jumping through tables, making funny posters mocking opponents…and even fans mocking their own teams! If you haven’t heard, read this article about how the Cleveland Browns fan base had a parade to celebrate losing all 16 of their games this year… As you can see, social media gives people the opportunity to have their “15 minutes of fame” immortalized on the Internet forever. It gives fans, like the Browns fans, the power to connect and assemble for some of the funniest moments in sports.

Social media has revolutionized football fandom and fandom in general. Although there are some concerns with the craziness influenced by social media, for every concerning video or photo there are plenty more funny, exciting, emotional, and inspiring ones. Congrats to the Eagles, and I look forward to a New York team earning themselves and us fans a great celebration in the near future!

8 comments

  1. Social media really does bring out the best and worst in people; it has the power to magnify the effects of one crazy person’s antics and the altruism of any one good person’s actions. I suppose we have to just hope that enough good people can balance out the bad and the ugly. In the end, sports rivalries and passionate fan bases have there place in our cities and social media is only becoming more omnipresent, so hopefully the echo chamber’s craziest content stays isolated to the internet and out of the real world.

  2. In regards to the “bad”, isn’t it interesting how the large presence of social media has really ramped up all post-game “celebrations” (and I use the term loosely). The idea that 10 years ago, when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007, I was safely celebrating on my tiny state college campus, with people bringing out brooms and chanting and blasting Dropkick Murphy’s. No car flipping, no fires, I think someone climbed a tree? But that’s about it. Then the next day? we hear about the UMass Amherst destruction. Now, with the increased popularity of live video, we can see that mayhem AS it happens. Which leads me to my question: does social media increase the presence of destruction? Or has this always been happening and we we’re just never connected enough to know?

  3. Going off of the “bringing out the worst in people” side, I don’t know if you saw this but there was a women who went (sort of) viral for yelling at people celebrating that they were better than this and that they should stop yelling and destroying things. The people then yelled at her until she sat down int he middle fo the road to hide from people yelling. Seeing the videos that came out of people climbing fencings and awnings and light posts I see how social media shows the worst of us, but I am no so sure that it actually brings out the worst in us, at least in this situation – people still would have destroyed things if there had been no cameras running.

  4. My favorite addition of social media is the ability to watch games “with” people, even though you are not anywhere near them (or might not even know them). The game hashtags are particularly fun to follow (and contribute) to on Twitter and I absolutely love being taunted by my friends and family from around the country who absolutely hate the Patriots (and many are eagles fans). Fun night.

  5. I think Colleen brings up a really interesting point: “does social media increase the presence of destruction? Or has this always been happening and we we’re just never connected enough to know?” In my experience, I think it has to be a little bit of both. In one of my seminar classes, we discussed the phrase “do it for the Insta.” While I don’t think that the majority of people necessarily do stupid things for the purpose of posting them on social media, some people do, especially in attempts to get on popular accounts like Barstool.

  6. I think social media’s impact professional sports is constantly evolving. Players, teams, and fans are finding new ways to connect with one another and let their voice be heard. One of the funniest (and most viral) moments for me over the past year was the Yankee fan who filmed his own look of dismay when Rafael Devers hit a game tying home run off of Aroldis Chapman. I think that on the whole, social media has made me a more informed fan as it has brought me and many other fans closer to the behind scenes action.

    Here’s the link to the Yankee fan’s reaction. It’s priceless.

    1. I had to reply because that’s one of my all-time favorite reactions. You make a good point about being a more informed fan. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Very interesting blog post, and the first example that came to mind for me was “Bills Mafia.” The Buffallo Bills fan base propelled the Bills to the playoffs for the first time in years by literally jumping off cars and body-slamming tables – quite the social media image. But, seemingly trumping their drunken image, the Bills Mafia thanked Bengals QB Andy Dalton for winning a game that granted the Bills a playoff birth by donating 300K to his charitable foundation. Pretty mind boggling that a drunk tailgate “Mafia” could become philanthropic based on a QB who makes a few good plays at the ned of the season – cause for tipping your cap to those shattered folding tables?

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