The sad sack fans in the stands trying to keep it together after a crushing defeat. They're a staple at every sporting event in which a winner and loser are declared.
Sometimes, it's us in the stands, celebrating along with our fellow fans as our team steamrolls the opposition. In more unfortunate moments, we're there commiserating with each other after a gut-wrenching loss.
Although, more often than not, we're watching from home either way. It's cheaper. It's climate-controlled. And the cost of snacks and booze is far more reasonable at the grocery store than at Yankee Stadium.
That's not to say that actually attending a game in person is an experience that can be duplicated. It's just that there are pros and cons to dishing out your hard-earned dollars. The visceral experience is a pro. The cost and the commute are definite cons.
Another con? Getting caught by Getty Images or broadcast on national television, looking like you just witnessed the ritual sacrifice of 100 puppies. Or 100 kittens. Or 100 puppies and 100 kittens.
Everyone reacts differently when things don't go their way. Some keep their cool and walk out with their head held high. While others cry, deny or go straight up comatose, when times are tough.
Here are some of the latter.
Watching the Super Bowl in 2013 must have been a vomit-inducing nightmare for fans of both teams involved. The Baltimore Ravens absolutely dominated the first half of the game and looked like they were going to run away with it after scoring immediately after halftime.
Then the lights went off, causing the infamous Super Bow XLVII blackout delay which lasted approximately 30 minutes. The game was put on hold, and the Ravens held a 28-6 lead. The announcers desperately attempted to fill dead air.
But when it was over and the San Francisco 49ers finally took the field again, they looked like an entirely different team. It was like the lights finally went on for the Niners, too. They scored 17 straight points. But ultimately, they came up three points short of Super Bowl glory.
The game was stressful if you didn't care at all who won. Can you imagine what it was like to be a 49ers fan in the second half? The ultimate high, followed with the ultimate low.
They get a pass on the sulking.
Who knows if this guy is actually sulking, but if he had a friendlier disposition, he probably wouldn't be sitting alone. So let's just assume he is.
If the Miami Dolphins fail to reach an agreement on funding for a new stadium and really do move to Los Angeles at some point in the future, this photo is an Onion headline waiting to happen.
Something like: 'Fins relocate to L.A., Fan Wishes Them Well.'
Okay, that could use some polishing, which is probably why I'm not working for The Onion. Honestly, though, this photo doesn't even need a headline—it really speaks for itself.
This game against the Carolina Panthers in August 2011 may have been preseason, but you'd think a few dozen people would've had worse things to do than watch the Dolphins play that day.
They should have publicized it as "Lots of Personal Space Day."
The first-round playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs was actually quite the battle, and things were looking mighty grim for the B's during Game 5 when this photo was taken.
The Leafs won the game, 2-1, and took a 3-2 advantage in the series. This gave them a chance to close it out at home in Game 6. So the sulking of this member of the Bruins faithful was actually quite understandable at the time.
Turns out, however, this Beantown worrywart's sulking added up to nothing more than a few additional stress freckles. The Bruins beat the Leafs, and they didn't just win it for Boston…they won it for America.
USA! USA! USA!
I'm not going to insult the intelligence of any rugby fans out there by pretending I have any knowledge of the sport. And I'm not gong to bore anyone out there who cares nothing for the sport by trying to explain anything about it.
So just the facts.
In October 2011, France played Wales in a Rugby World Cup semi-final match, and it was the French who were treated to the sweet taste of victory. France defeated Wales by a final score of 9-8.
Many fans attended a live screening of the match at Millennium Stadium in Wales' capital city, Cardiff. This gave them the opportunity to cry in public, squished uncomfortably close to countless strangers.
Seriously…that sounds worse than the loss itself…for someone who doesn't care about rugby.
Considering Louisville won the national championship in 2013, the Michigan fan in this photo looks strangely content with life.
Maybe he's just a good sport? Maybe he's crazy and on the verge of flipping his lid. Or perhaps, he just showed up really early to the game, just to savor the moment, and is imagining the victory celebration.
It's tough to tell definitively, but something tells me that's a Wolverines' fan in mourning.
Decked out in his finest tank top and Michigan-themed arm warmers, he's got the thousand-yard stare of a man who is going through some emotional stuff—some serious emotional stuff.
By the time this photo was snapped, his rage and denial seemed to have subsided as acceptance set in. Hopefully, he eventually left under his own accord, rather than being dragged out by security.
I can't be sure what the situation is with this Philadelphia Eagles fan during a game against the Chicago Bears in October 2007.
Perhaps, the collective mediocrity of both teams rendered him into stunned silence. At least he's not a Jacksonville Jaguars fan—his face would freeze like that.
The Eagles finished 8-8 that year, putting them in the basement of the NFC East. The Bears finished 7-9, earning them a shared basement with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North.
Who knows who won the game. Who even cares? This guy just looks like someone who has given up on the world.
The two men looking forward in this photo suggest there is actually a hockey game being played, but everyone's vague disinterest is a little confusing.
The Phoenix Coyotes are owned by the NHL and a tumor the league could do without. That probably sounded a little harsh—harsh but true.
This isn't just any hockey game, after all. This is what fans of the team with the lowest attendance in the NHL look like facing the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 in April 2010.
The couple with the jerseys look bored, annoyed and totally disengaged—like they lost a bet and were forced to attend the game instead of staying home to watch Hillbilly Handfishin'.
They call the annual matchup between the Oregon State and University of Oregon football teams, and their in-state rivalry in general, "The Civil War." Because that doesn't trivialize one of the most defining events in American history or anything.
That being said, for the Beavers and the Ducks, this rivalry is as serious as anything that involves beavers and ducks can be. Oregon has been dominating in recent years, but Oregon State sneaks by with a win every so often.
The photo in this slide was taken at the 2008 game and it was not the year of the Beavers. The only thing that stood between OS and the Rose Bowl—which would've been their first in 44 years—was a win over Oregon in late November.
The Ducks humiliated the Beavers, blowing them out, 65-38. Adding insult to injury was the fact that 21 of their points were scored in the fourth quarter. This is probably when this pic was snapped, because those are the faces of absolute hopelessness.
For the soccer-impaired, the rival between the Premier League's Manchester City and Manchester United is about as hateful as it gets in sports.
United is kind of like the Yankees, and City is kind of like the Red Sox before they finally won that World Series.
I'm certain that I'm going to hear how wrong and stupid that whole analogy was from both soccer and baseball fans. But I feel pretty comfortable with that assessment, and I'm going to stand by it come hell or high water.
The photo needs context, dammit.
The dejection on the face of this United fan can be attributed to a 0-1 loss to City in April 2012. A loss, that essentially, set the stage for Manchester City to win their first English title since 1968.
United still had a shot at the title, despite the loss, but you can tell by look on that kid's face that he knew it was over. And the only thing worse than losing is seeing your enemies win.
It always stings to lose in the NFL playoffs. It stings, burns and itches when you lose to the New York Jets in the playoffs, as the Indianapolis Colts did in January 2011.
No offense Jets fans—isn't that where that "Gang Green" nickname came from? Good lord, I'm going to hear it from some disgruntled and delusional Jets fans.
That being said, every team in the playoffs except for one ultimately loses. Perhaps, the female Colts fan in this photo was not briefed on that fact prior to the game?
Who knows what's going on between those two there after the game, but I can almost guarantee you that the car ride home was absolutely wretched.
That's assuming they ever left. The woman looks more than ready to remain seated until they agree to replay the game again. She could be still sitting in that same seat right now.
Sure, you can't see their faces, but how can these fans not be sulking? It's wet, probably cold, and a baseball game may or may not be played.
The Cincinnati Reds have actually been fielding a competitive team in recent years, and their attendance actually topped that of major market teams like the Mets and the Mariners in 2012.
That being said, Cincinnati isn't exactly a booming tourist destination—sorry all you Ohioans out there—and it's positively miserable on a rainy day—particularly in early spring.
So as sad as these Reds fans look sitting sporadically around the stadium during a rain delay, you have to admire their moxie for waiting it out during a game against the Chicago Cubs in April 2013.
I'd have just picked up and moved somewhere less depressing that very day.
Awww...poor little devil!
The New Jersey Devils are generally a competitive team in the East, which may be why this lone hockey fan appears to have arrived a few hours early.
Or maybe she stayed a few hours late. Or maybe she just snuck in during an off-day and had one of the facility employees take this picture of her looking thrilled.
Actually, it was probably not the third option. This photo was taken at a Devils home game against the Nashville Predators in December 2010.
In May 2012, Chelsea defeated Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Final. The match actually ended in a 1-1 tie. It remained a 1-1 tie through the first half of extra time. And stayed knotted up through the second half of extra time.
Ultimately, it came down to a penalty kick shootout, which gave Chelsea a dramatic 4-3 victory. Sure, it was a dramatic conclusion, but there's a reason NHL games aren't decided via shootout in the postseason—it's just not fair.
Chelsea probably feels pretty good about how things went down. But surely, Bayern Munich agrees. And I know for a fact, the depressed little boy in that photo does, too.
He sat through (approximately) 900 minutes of soccer before his dreams were dashed by a single penalty kick. Why not just start the game with the penalty kicks, call it a game and save everyone a few hours of torture?
Just looking at this photo, I can practically hear every non-Yankee fan in the world reading this, letting out a collective and sarcastic, "Awwwwwwwww! Poor babies!"
Not to worry, New York Yankees fans are used to that. Considering the richest, most successful and most hated team of every other sport are often referred to "The Yankees of [insert league here]."
Which is why weepy-eyed Yankees fans aren't going to get any love here. Not now and not when they went down, 2-0, to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS back in October 2012.
The guy in the photo who lagged behind after the loss is proof Yanks' fans have had it too good for too long. Hiding his tears by wearing sunglasses at night and his quivering lip with his hand.
Look at this dude pouting as his poor lady friend tries be sympathetic, when all she wants to do is smack him in the back of his head and tell him to "be a man, dammit!" We concur...we concur...
You remember the old saying "The sun never sets on the British Empire," right? Well, I'm not sure if that's actually even true anymore. But it's probably past glory like like that which makes England's modern-day failures slightly more palatable.
That's not a slight at England, a country I love, but rather an observation about the ever-changing power structure in a world they once dominated. At least their reign at the top lasted centuries. Ours lasted about 100 years and seems to be pretty much over.
In June 2012, England was defeated by Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, eliminating them from the event. Say what you will, but that one had to sting. Italy had their day in the sun, too, with that whole Roman Empire, but these days, that country is run like a prison gang.
In 2008, they had to appoint a "Trash Tsar" just to save the residents of Naples from drowning in their own garbage. Two years later, they were still drowning in their own garbage. They were the obvious third wheel in the Axis powers of WWII and essentially useless.
The Italian political system and continued love affair with Silvio Berlusconi, their lecherous ex-Prime Minister who may very well still be in power if he wasn't facing a six-year prison sentence for basically being a lying pervert.
So yeah...these guys are sulking. And they should be. Losing to Italy at anything should come with an automatic demotion to third-world status.
Everyone knows the sports situation in the Cleve is, has been, and may very well always be, bleak. A one-step-forward, two-steps-back type of situation.
Though for as big a bummer as things have been for the Cleveland Browns in recent years, I can't, for the life of me, figure out what this woman is doing at the stadium alone.
It feels like one of those paintings you had to analyze in art history back in college, but instead of a painting, it's a photo…of a woman…sitting alone…in a vast stadium.
Maybe she just got there early to see the Browns take on the San Diego Chargers in October 2012. Maybe she was the last to leave. Or maybe, she's the only one who showed up.
Did you even know that cornhusks could cry? I did.
In December 2012, the Wisconsin and Nebraska football teams met in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Only one of them walked away a winner.
Hint: It wasn't Nebraska. So if you pick games based on which mascot has the obvious edge in physical prowess and the proper level of crazy, the Badgers' win didn't come as a surprise to you.
It did, however, come as a surprise to hoards of pretty corn-fed blonde girls who were on hand to see their Cornhuskers get demolished 70-31. More dejected farmers' daughters than you can shake a stick at.
I wish I could give them reassurance about their lives and explain that they have their whole futures ahead of them. But given the anemic job market, the national student loan crisis and the overall state of the world...it might just be all downhill from here.
Look at that poor kid! He's shattered over the loss his Butler Bulldogs were handed by the Duke Blue Devils in the 2010 NCAA tournament. Has second place ever looked more painful?
That year, the No. 6 seed, Butler, was the Cinderella story of March Madness, and, like most Cinderella stories, their enchanted evening ended when the clock struck 12.
Or maybe it was Butler that was hit by the clock when it struck one—as in the No. 1 seed, Duke. Whether or not that made sense, Duke beat Butler that year in a nail-biter, with a final score of 61-69.
On one hand, you gotta feel for the kid, sitting there all alone. His devastation is palpable. On the other hand, you lost to Duke! Get over it. Everyone has lost to Duke. That's why we all hate them.
Apparently, the Euro 2012 match between England and Sweden in June 2012 was quite dramatic. I don't remember it, I don't know what the stakes were, but I did read that it was dramatic.
Sweden scored a pair of goals in the first hour of play to take the lead. England tied it up before a "clever" goal by Danny Welbeck won the game—it performed smashingly on an IQ test.
Judging by the festive color of the stadium seating, the match obviously played in Sweden. And there was at least one member of the hometown crowd that stayed for a while to ponder the events of the day.
Truth be told, if you're a Vancouver Canucks fan and you're not crabby, there's something wrong with you. This team has been laying goose egg after goose egg in the playoffs for years now.
In the 2013 NHL playoffs the Canucks were swept in Round 1 by the San Jose Sharks—but that's nothing. Just the latest in a string of increasingly embarrassing postseason performances.
However, the fan in this photo was on hand for a much more depressing failure. It's a moment he'll never forget, but forever wish he could.
This pic was snapped after Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, in which the Boston Bruins defeated the Canucks in their own building.
The city of Boston celebrated. The city of Vancouver descended into riots.
And this man just stayed seated.
Despite what the New York Daily News said about the U.S.A.'s "magical" run in the 2010 World Cup, the non-delusional among us are well aware that it was anything but. It was impressive in the way a child coloring mostly inside the lines is impressive.
American fans were bummed about being ousted by Ghana, but we handled our losses with far more dignity than the Germans. If you read about the 2010 World Cup finals on the German national team's Wikipedia page, you might come away with the impression that they actually won.
And if they didn't win, they should've because of how much more awesome they were than Spain—who actually won. Germany lost to Serbia, they lost to Spain and they barely squeaked by Uruguay in the loser bowl for third place.
So Mr. German snit fit thrower—cover those ears, squeeze those eyes closed tightly and stomp your feet all you want! If you ain't first, you're last. Which means the fit you pitched was completely warranted.
Given that the Pittsburgh Pirates reached the two-decade mark with their 20th consecutive losing season in 2012, it's a surprise they have any fans left at all.
Which proves you should never discount the power of personal delusion. Their beleaguered fans keep showing up each year insisting, against all odds and rational thought, that this will be their year.
I don't have an official count of Pirates fans, but even two wouldn't be all that bad. These two brave souls stuck it out through a home game against the Cincinnati Reds in July 2011. So good of them.
Although, there's a decent chance they were the only two dudes to show up to begin with. Oh, those poorly, lowly Pirates. My hometown deserves better than the garbage they throw on the field at PNC Park each season.
Many Americans, myself included, don't entirely grasp the gravity of the FIFA World Cup. Obviously, as a nation, we're finally coming to grips with the fact that a world exists beyond our borders—a positive sign. Actually, that may be a bit of a reach.
It's just that soccer thing just doesn't seem to be taking root. But you know what they say about a picture being worth 1,000 words. The Argentina fan in this photo was, quite possibly, the saddest sports fan in the whole wide world back in July 2010.
He certainly was in the moments after his beloved Argentina was defeated 4-0 by Germany in a quarterfinal match of the World Cup in Cape Town. The devastation is a bit dramatic, though, considering it was a blowout by soccer standards.
He probably should've come to terms with the inevitable well before the game ended.
Anyone who watched "The Mile High Miracle" in January 2013 knows exactly what this guy is so sad about. That was one helluva a bad day in Denver.
Version 1.0 took place a year earlier when Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow led his team to an unlikely overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In version 2.0, the Broncos, who were heavily favored to win the game and the Super Bowl, faced off with the Baltimore Ravens, who handed them an unlikely loss.
Sometimes miracles go your way. Sometimes they go Ray Lewis' way. At least nobody got stabbed along the way—silver lining!
Watching Washington Capitals playoff hockey is like watching the same movie over and over again.
Like Die Hard. Put the series on a loop and it's always going to be action-packed. It's usually going to be entertaining. And it's always going to end the exact same way. And in the case of the Caps, whoever they play in Game 7 is always cast as the overmatched hero, John McClane.
Which is why they always end up looking like a gang of incompetent super villains who should've won the series, if only they could stop finding new ways to fail. Sorry Caps fans, but you know it's true.
The formulaic story played out just the same way against the Philadelphia Flyers back in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. The series stretched to a Game 7 and ended brutally when the Caps were bounced by the Flyers with a gutting overtime goal.
That's exactly why these Capitals fans should have cooly headed for the exit after the game instead of sticking around to sulk. The end of their story was written before they even entered the arena that day. They should've been prepared.
You can only cry during that scene in Saving Private Ryan when Giovanni Ribisi's character dies so many times. After you see it enough times, the impact is lost, and it just becomes something that happens.
Apparently, they are two of the clubs in the Football League Championship, which is like the Jan Brady of English football. The Premier League is obviously the Marsha. And let's hope you're old enough or have watched enough Nick at Night reruns to get that reference.
What's interesting about their whole system is that clubs can win their way into Premier League by promotion or be relegated to even lower-tier leagues for sucking. It's all very sadistic.
Anyway. In May 2013, the Wolves were relegated to Tiger's dog house after being defeated by Brighton, 2-0. Which is why that girl is so woefully dismal. Her Wolves were demoted from the Premier League in 2012 and then demoted again in 2013.
Presumably, they'll be competing in public parks by this time next year, getting chased out by vagrants and feral cats. No wonder she's so upset.
I never could've imagined one could look so sad covered in body paint and rocking such a badass corn-on-the-cobb novelty hat. It's basically like being dressed for Disney World.
But apparently, not even a plastic helmet of corn can insulate a fan…a man…from the heartbreak of defeat. Which is shocking because I figured it was a surefire solution.
In October 2010, the No. 5-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers were upset on their own turf by those pesky Texas Longhorns.
The previously unbeaten Cornhuskers lost 20-13 to the Longhorns, who had defeated them a year earlier in the Big 12 Championship game.
So much for avenging that loss. Poor corn man.
In February 2013, Celtic FC of the Scottish Premier League was soundly defeated by the Serie A team Juventus. It came as quite the surprise to the guys in green.
According to a BBC sports writer, the Celtic came into the match feeling quite confident and on the heels of "some tremendous European performances and results."
Clearly, their fans were buying into the hype, too, because many handled the 0-3 defeat with the grace and dignity of a little girl with a skinned knee.
This guy couldn't even comprehend the loss, gripping his bald head with both hands, searching for answers that would never come.
I imagine offering up the whole "you win some, you lose some" routine would've been a bad idea. Like punch you in the face bad.
I realize this is another photo from the exact same soccer game as the previous slide, but there was so much despair on display that it was impossible to pick just one.
Whereas the first guy was taking the "what does it all mean" approach to dealing with his grief, while constantly rerunning the game in his head.
This Celtic fan is taking an entirely different approach to his grief over the loss to Juventus. Dude is just crying it out in the stands alone.
Just a man…in the stands…sobbing over soccer.
As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who was poking fun at the Yankees a few slides earlier, I'm not going to expect much in terms of sympathy for this one.
Steeler Nation is practically a religion to its members, and this is a common reaction to any loss.
Granted, it's a sliding scale depending on the importance of the game. A preseason loss is painful. A postseason loss, like the one to the Jacksonville Jaguars in January 2008, is excruciating.
You want to know why this guy is acting like someone just ripped his still-beating heart out of his chest and showed it to him before kicking it onto the turf at Heinz Field?
Because that's exactly what the Steelers did to him and everyone else in attendance that day…metaphorically.
But it felt real. It still feels real. I promise you that.
We all know that the enthusiasm for soccer is…shall we say…lacking a tad. But I specifically remember an impressive number of Americans doing their best to make a big deal about the World Cup in 2010.
Maybe not in rural areas or the South, but in major cities from coast to coast, many of us gathered together in an effort to collectively will the United States' soccer team to be better.
Personally, my hopes weren't high. If we didn't embarrass ourselves on a global scale, I would've considered that a victory. But alas, we did embarrass ourselves on a global scale when we were brought down on a day in late June by the Republic of Ghana.
The small country in West Africa has a population of approximately 25 million. The USA has a population of approximately 314 million. So there's that.
Then there's this. The New York Daily News described the American's run as "magical," tragically cut short by a late Ghanaian goal. A tie with England. A last-second tie with Solvenia, which has a population of just over two million. And a win over Algeria, population 35 million, in the final minutes.
If that's magical, I can't even imagine what a terrible run would look like. Well...I can...but it's just too graphic and ugly to share with you.
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