NFL fan violence is one of those demons lurking beneath the surface of what otherwise would be filed away as "healthy competition."
In addition to violence, there are further ugly aspects of football fandom that can quickly convert the NFL experience from a lazy Sunday afternoon activity into a dark tragedy.
Sometimes it's okay to utter the tired "it's just a game" cliche.
The following are three traits, universal to the 32 NFL fanbases, that will hopefully be pronounced extinct in the near future.
Recently, talk of violence in the NFL has centered around the long-term effects of head trauma and Gregg Williams.
But there are serious issues in the stands as well. And I'm not talking about Philadelphia's ill-mannered practice of booing Santa.
This type of fan-on-fan brutality isn't anomalous to the NFL (or the sports world in general), which is why the league is attempting to crack down on this type of behavior.
The NFL is implementing a new policy that will require some fans who get tossed from the stadium to take a four-hour fan conduct class before they attend their next game.
A class alone is unlikely to snuff out the subculture of violence that exists among some NFL fans. But at least the league is taking steps to prevent more tragedies.
Twitter is a great way to get in touch with your favorite NFL stars, but fans shouldn't use it as a platform to berate them with abusive language.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior can erupt among unhappy NFL fans.
In last year's NFC Championship game, for example, 49ers wideout Kyle Williams committed two wince-worthy blunders, fumbling the football twice in a loss to the New York Giants.
But the reaction he elicited on Twitter was alarming.
The San Francisco Chronicle highlighted some of the worst threats Williams received:
"@KyleWilliams_10. I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it
@KyleWilliams_10 you should jump off the golden gate bridge for that one
@KyleWilliams_10 HOPE U RUN n2 A BULLET DA WAY U RAN INTO DAT BALL…
Jim Harbaugh, please give @KyleWilliams_10 the game ball. And make sure it explodes when he gets in his car."
Being a true football fan means sticking by your team through thick and thin. This kind of anger and ridiculousness is unacceptable among true NFL fans.
All right, this one's a little softer, I'll admit—but I couldn't help but notice the excessive amount of booing at the NFL draft.
At first, I shrugged it off.
It was Commissioner Roger Goodell at the podium after all, and to fans, he's the big, evil lockout overlord.
But then the players were introduced.
And as they took the stage, they were greeted by a chorus of boos that drowned out whatever wimpy cheers were attempted. Many players were singled out individually.
Sure, if you're an LSU fan and your 'Bama rival gets drafted, you're not going to start a "Roll Tide" chant. But the boos were generated more by the inner NFL fan than college football loyalties.
In its New York location, the NFL draft tends to attract Jets- and Giants-biased crowds to Radio City Music Hall.
But Jets fans booed their own No. 16 overall selection this year, defensive end Quinton Coples, when he took the stage to don green and white.
It's baffling. And saddening.
For most of these kids, the draft is the biggest moment of their young careers. It'd be nice to see them cheered—even if we don't like the player or disagree with our team's pick.