Football boasts some of the most passionate, loyal fans of any sport in America. They fill bars and living rooms, screaming at television sets and placing online bets on Fantasy leagues. They pack stadiums, sitting through rain, snow, and shine. They’re dedicated. But sometimes, they’re crazy.
In anticipation of Sunday’s Super Bowl 50, here’s five ridiculous fan moments in NFL history:
The Tebow Tattoo
Remember when Tim Tebow made a brief splash as a Broncos rookie quarterback? If not, Juan Contreras remembers enough for all of us. After losing a bet, Contreras got a tattoo of the player depicted as a centaur with the phrase “Tebow Time” next to it. Tebow played for the Jets the following year. Woops.
The Stadium Earthquake
Seattle Seahawks fans broke the record for “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium” at a deafening 137.6 decibels during their game against New Orleans in 2013. According to the Guinness World Record site, the vibrations from the noise were so loud, it registered between a magnitude 1 and 2 earthquake.
The Steeler Riot
When the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2006, it was their first league championship since their winning streak in the 1970’s. It seems the fans wanted to make up for that 25 season lull, because a giant riot broke out after their victory. Pittsburg fans, apparently furious with joy, flipped vehicles, smashed windows, ripped apart parking meters, threw trash and punches, and started fires.
The Shovel Team
Before the Packers and the Cowboys faced off in the playoffs, a winter storm filled Lambeau Field with more than a foot of snow. Green Bay recruited hundreds of local fans to help shovel out the field for two days—paying them $10 an hour. So many fans showed up that they had to turn people away.
The Unlikey Tryout
It was a normal kick for an extra point. But during a 1995 Bears vs. Steelers game, Mike Pantazis thought it was meant for him. The Chicago fan jumped from the stands, caught the ball in midair, and landed a good ten feet below in the stadium tunnel. He was interviewed later, uninjured, beaming with pride, and sporting a mullet. Got to love the 90’s.
These stories don’t even scratch the surface. Football fans have long been unabashedly proclaiming their love for the game since the NFL began in 1920. But people have been full-out celebrating for centuries.
Committed people always seem pretty extreme to others. Sometimes it’s a religious type who’s pegged as overzealous. King David—a royal, not a guy with a mullet in Chicago—danced like a total fool. After all, he was God’s biggest fan.
“Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” 2 Samuel 6:14-15
Even without face paint and a jersey, we often show our devotion to the thing in our lives that matters the most—through our actions, our words, our time, through our level of commitment.
So what are you sold-out for? For whom are you willing to look downright silly?