12 Crazy Things Sports Fans Refuse to Stop Doing
Sports fans really need to stop going shirtless in below-zero temperatures—and burning jerseys and other craziness in the name of sports passion. Alas, if history is any indicator, they probably won't.
Fans do a lot of things to express their feelings about a particular team or player, many of which are completely reasonable and endearing, even. However, these 12 practices are all on the wrong side of sane—some further from the line than others.
Seriously, why do fans continue to unlawfully streak across fields of play when it has turned out so poorly for so many?
Getting Predictive Tattoos
Sports-related tattoos aren't for everyone, but they don't seem unusual enough to be deemed "crazy." On the other hand, this trend of fans getting predictive tattoos in a world as unpredictable as sports? That qualifies.
Ahead of the 2015 NBA Finals, one Cleveland Cavaliers fan got a "2015 NBA Champs" tattoo, which turned out to be a false prophecy. What's worse? He later had the tattoo altered to read, "2016 NBA Champs."
Optimism is an admirable quality, but then again, why not just wait until the team has actually won to get the tattoo?
Booing Unknown Draft Picks
With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA draft, the New York Knicks took Kristaps Porzingis, a player fans now know to be a total boss with the fourth-best-selling jersey in the NBA.
At the time of his selection, however, Knicks fans booed the pick mercilessly. And it wasn't the first time fans expressed extreme displeasure over a great player who hadn't yet had a chance to prove himself. Houston Texans fans booed the selection of defensive end J.J. Watt in 2011.
And keep in mind, Cleveland Browns fans cheered when their team picked Johnny Manziel in 2014.
The lesson here: Save the jeers (and cheers) for on-field performance.
Decking Out Their Homes and Cars
One Seattle Seahawks fan had his entire house (siding, roof, yard, the whole shebang) decked out in Seahawks colors and logos ahead of Super Bowl XLIX. Another spent 400 hours creating a Hawks-themed holiday lights display (which is, admittedly, pretty cool) that would have put Clark Griswold to shame.
A New England Patriots fan had "Brady Freed" painted onto the side of his Volkswagen after the quarterback's four-game Deflategate suspension was overturned.
Hey, these folks have a right to do what they want with their property, but come on. A Seahawks house?
Spending Mad Cash on Memorabilia
Some folks have more money than others, and of course, what people choose to buy with their discretionary income is their business.
That said, even if you had millions of dollars, would you spend $3,000 of it on a used urinal just because Barry Sanders signed it? What about a hundo for Ted Williams-endorsed condoms? Or $11,950 for a hat worn by Jose Canseco?
Spending a lot of money on cool stuff is one thing, but urinals and condoms are quite another. And even still, the Miracle on Ice was epic and all, but $5.7 million for goaltender Jim Craig's collection of memorabilia? That's a lot of money.
Tailgate Shenanigans (Ahem, Bills Fans)
Surely, plenty of tailgates include off-the-wall antics, but no fanbase embodied the crazy in 2015 better than the Buffalo Bills. Here is just a small sampling of what Bills fans managed to achieve in just one season:
- Turn a tailgate into a WWE event
- Moon a bunch of Philadelphia Eagles fans
- Continue to refine their penchant for breaking tables
- Light themselves on fire
Chris Person of Deadspin even went as far as to compile a YouTube video of all the shenanigans. (Let's go ahead and call it NSFW).
Tailgating should be fun, but let's keep it safe folks—and maybe even family-friendly if that's not too much to ask.
Hating on Athletes
A little light-hearted booing is one thing, but some fans spew real, actual hate onto athletes, and for what? Messing up their fantasy team?
Someone actually tweeted he was glad (Warning: link contains graphic language) when Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell tore his ACL. A Seattle Seahawks fan absolutely trashed Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for "disrespecting" the team flag. Worst of all, a college football punter actually received death threats (Warning: link contains graphic language) after a bobbled snap cost his team the game.
That's crazy (and wrong).
Storming the Court
Yes, storming the court/field is a time-honored sports tradition, but in reality, it can be dangerous. In December, a media member broke his leg when Iowa State fans stormed the court after an upset win over Iowa.
People are taking notice. In March, Big 12 officials discussed the possibility of penalizing schools who allow court/field storming with the removal of a home game, and the SEC already slaps fines on offenders.
Auburn basketball notched a big win against Kentucky in mid-January, and the SEC fined the school because its fans stormed the court. Auburn was also fined for the famous Kick-Six Iron Bowl celebration in 2013.
The debate is likely to rage on, and in the meantime, fans are unlikely to completely give up the practice despite its cons.
Naming Kids After Sports-Related Things
The names people bestow upon their children are certainly their own business. Still, naming an actual human after a sports figure who may or may not be with your favorite team with Derek Jeter-esque longevity—that seems ill-advised.
For instance, according to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, one Washington football fan, Emanuel Vega, named his son Robert Griffin Vega after, of course, Robert Griffin III.
Or, check out this Ohio State fan who named his son Ezekiel, presumably after running back Ezekiel Elliott. Way back in 2004, the Associated Press reported (via ESPN) that at least three children in the United States were actually named "ESPN." For real.
Again, to each his own, but this practice does meet the two criteria of this list: One, it's crazy/unusual, and two, people continue to do it.
Going Shirtless in Cold Weather
When the Seattle Seahawks played the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Round, it was minus 6 degrees and 25 below zero with the wind chill in Minneapolis. According to the Vikings, it was the third-coldest game in NFL history.
And yet, fans were probably not alarmed to see a shirtless comrade in the stands at TCF Bank Stadium. This is, shockingly, not all that unusual in sports. Here is a shirtless fan outside Lambeau Field in 2014. Here is a Denver Broncos fan with nothing but jeans and a hat on, surrounded by folks in parkas.
Why? Just why?
Not only is setting small fires dangerous, but it can't be entirely legal.
Cleveland Cavaliers fans did it when LeBron James left in 2010. Dallas Cowboys fans did it when DeMarco Murray signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. St. Louis Cardinals fans did it when Jason Heyward joined the rival Chicago Cubs.
Burning a jersey seems a little uh, hateful, no? Save the lighter fluid, people. And save yourself the embarrassment of having to admit that not only did you burn a jersey, but then you kept it.
What's more ridiculous than burning a jersey? Burning a couch. It's not completely clear where this tradition got started, but setting fire to furniture after a big loss (or win) is just plain ill-advised.
Michigan fans burned at least one couch after their team's devastating loss to in-state rival Michigan State in October. Michigan State fans, for their part, did the same thing after their football team beat Ohio State on a last-second field goal.
And the practice is a "tradition" dating back at least 15 years at West Virginia, according to the Mountaineer News Service.
Rioting, fighting, burning couches—these things are dangerous, and fans should, well, cease.
Why do fans consistently think running onto a field of play is a smart idea? Not only is it not allowed, but streakers risk, at best, ridicule, and at worst, arrest and physical harm.
Still another was arrested at MetLife Stadium and charged with "third-degree resisting arrest, fourth-degree obstruction, fourth-degree throwing of bodily fluids and trespassing," according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
Deadspin has a tag called "idiots on the field," and it unfortunately does not lack for regular content.
This is embarrassing, people.