Football fans are a curious bunch. We are creatures of habit. We complain about concession prices, but shovel out eight dollars for a beer and six bucks for a dog the minute the second quarter ends. We are like sheep on an open range.
Our adherence to tradition and rituals, however, is something that makes us unique.
Most of our traditions, such as Army and Navy standing together, side-by-side after the game, are sacred. But this isn't about traditions—it's about fads, and while some of them need to be permanent traditions, others need to be dumped forever.
A look at some of the fads in football that have made "The good, the bad, and the ugly" list:
1. Hot Girls in Hot Attire
Imagine if you will, a guy sitting on the couch with a bunch of fraternity brothers watching a football game on a "snow day." All of a sudden, the television cameras get a "honey shot" of a girl in an FSU cowboy hat, (scroll halfway down that site's page to see the picture, guys, it's worth it) wearing a low cut (and tight) tee shirt and a pair of midriff-baring Daisy Dukes. This is what gets college football fans through harsh winters or Minnesota Golden Gophers football.
This year, expect half the coeds attending football games to be "waiting to be discovered" like Jenn Sterger was on national television—and not one guy will complain.
2. The Wave
There are two teams which have claimed to be the originators of "the wave." Originated in 1981, give credit to both the Oakland Athletics and Washington Huskies.
The fact that it isn't used much anymore is too bad, because if you are at a bad football game, "the wave" can occupy your time while waiting for the clock to expire. Even more fun was booing the section that didn't participate in the wave. It also had an added benefit for parents—your child was entertained for free instead of you spending five bucks on some cotton candy.
3. "You, You, You"
This yell was infamous in the '80s and is rarely used anymore, but the intent was beautiful—to shame a player who got called for a penalty. Entire bleacher sections would stand up, point their fingers at the player, and chant loudly, "You, you, you."
The offending player always noticed the display of smack from the fans, which is why this was, and will always be, one of the best fads—besides streaking—in football history.
4. "Zombie Nation"
This one is a bit newer, but has taken off in the Big Ten—especially at Camp Randall and Happy Valley. The new rallying cry for college football fans is fairly simple—the song "Zombie Nation" comes on, and the students jump up and down in unison mumbling the same indecipherable words over and over again.
From a television viewer's angle, it's pretty cool. It also burns off some alcohol—an added bonus, of course.
5. "Gator bait" or "Tiger bait"
There's nothing like intimidating an opponent, and if you happen to visit Death Valley (LSU or Clemson) as a fan of the visiting team, be prepared for some warm, country lovin' from the home team. Not.
Chants of "Tiger bait" will be reverberating in your ears for the next three hours. The Swamp is even worse. It's hot, sticky, noisy, and really only hospitable to Gators. Bring earplugs if you go to any of those venues—one game in Baton Rouge was so loud the decibels registered on a local Richter scale.
6. "When the team scores, the fans score"
It's very simple. When a Texas A&M touchdown or field goal occurs, it's time to kiss your date. Unfortunately for a lot of guys, the Aggies didn't do very well last season (7-6).
Legend has it that during some tough years, it was changed to "when the Aggies make a first down, the Aggies' fans score." That's one way to make lemonade out of lemons!
1. Scary tats
As much as I appreciate good art, the face and neck tattoos are a bit scary. While college football fans usually get cute little temporary tats on their cheeks, the pro football fans take it to the next level.
The Raider Nation is a perfect example, and I am a Raider fan, so please, no screaming at me. It scares kids, and to be honest, if one of these dudes committed a crime, how would he ever be identified?
2. "D-Fence" sign
Just who was the guy who thought of this? You see it every game, and frankly, it's boring. Can someone come up with a more original sign? Oh wait—why bother? The TV crews always show the two guys with the signs and reward them with their fifteen seconds of fame.
Now I get it. I'll be making my "Sports Center is next" sign shortly.
3. Wearing offensive shirts or no shirts
Can we all agree that fans who wear shirts like "#$%& da Eagles" are probably hammered out of their minds? What's even worse, the TV cameramen aren't paying attention when they scan the crowds with their cameras.
Then there are the guys who wear no shirts at all in freezing weather. Hey, if you had killer bods, I wouldn't mind. But when your beer bellies are hanging over your shorts, I have to assume you are staying warm due to your body fat or alcohol consumption—not machismo—and in either case, it's not that impressive. Trust me.
4. The bad fan
An alarming trend is the fan who pays major bucks to attend a game and then proceeds to bad-mouth "his team" for three consecutive hours. It causes a lot of fans to want to stuff his mouth with batteries and throw him in a lake. He has a right to cheer for his team, but bad-mouth them? Yeah, he has that right, and he's a real problem, especially for season-ticket holders.
Just why would someone pay all that money to rip their own team? (Maybe he's really for the other team but doesn't want to get harassed for that?)
5. No umbrellas in stadium
How would you like to be a fan in a rainy state and not be allowed to bring umbrellas? I have sat in the stands with umbrellas in front of me and it doesn't block my vision. Yes, they could be viewed as a potential weapon, but for Pete's sake, we should be able to sit in a dry seat.
1. Jets' Gate D
This goes to the top of the list as a real ugly fad. Halftime at a Jets game has taken on a whole new meaning if you are a female fan. The guys gather and heckle, cajole, and even assault women at gate D—all to see if she will "flash them her ta-tas." Unsuspecting women have been shocked at this behavior, and many have had beer flung at them if they don't flash.
Of course, the reason why this whole thing started was because somewhere, somehow, a female fan probably did comply with the heckling. Many still do. But the fact that security does nothing about this behavior is disturbing. It must really suck to be a Jets fan when Gate D is more entertaining than your team.
2. Elimination of card stunts
A fad that probably got thrown to the wayside due to fans possibly getting hurt when the cards are thrown in the air after halftime. Can't they use flimsy plastic? It was a great way to entertain the opposing team's fans with some serious smack and, at the same time, keep some students away from the beer stands who have probably had too much to drink anyway.
3. Eye black
What was once something used to diminish the glare of the sun has now become a fashion statement. Area codes, flags, and other subliminal messages are now adorning the players' faces—and it's really ridiculous. Expressing individuality on a team is not what college football is all about. Save it for if you get to play on Sundays, or better yet, use visors or shades.
4. Bench seat crashers
Can we be honest here? Our nation is getting fatter and fatter, and the bench seats have now become a real problem. How many times have you sat next to a rather large person who has spilled into your "seat"? Even worse, how many times has a parent brought a small child (free admission if he sits on the parent's lap) to the game who is taking up space on the bench?
The freeloaders (friends who stop by to say hi) are also squeezing in on the action, while season ticket holders are feeling the pinch. Football fans paid for their seats and ought to be able to sit in them.
Special mention... It's not a football fad, but nevertheless needs to be mentioned. At Coors Field, home of the Rockies, they serve Rocky Mountain Oysters. They are calf testicles split in half and then pan-fried. Yuck.
Find me a guy who eats these and I'll show you a guy who will not "get lucky" with his date.