Who are the Most Toxic NFL Fans?
The NFL season undoubtedly stirs the emotions of the 32 fan bases around the league. While there are a variety of sports in the United States, football continues to rule supreme, and with those big viewership numbers come a lot of views – especially when supporters are contemplating offseason moves, coaching changes, the defensive coordinator, the new season, or rival clubs (and their fans). Not usually does it depend on the performance of the team. Smack talk is an aspect of sports conversation that dates back to the inception of sports (probably).
In order to determine what each NFL fan community had to say, we looked through Reddit and screened over 500,000 comments for profanity. We determined which fan bases had the greatest profanity in their Reddit posts based on the quantity of profanity we discovered. Let’s examine the NFL subreddits to see what they have to offer.
Football and F-bombs
We examined each team’s subreddit for the frequency of profanity. Even though we simply examined first- and second-level comments (no searching for f-bombs), we still found plenty to remark on. The subreddit for the Jacksonville Jaguars included the most profanity, with 11.1 curse words per 10 members, while the subreddit for the Arizona Cardinals contained the least, with 2.9 curse words per 10 users.
Recently, the Jaguars have seen some success on the field. Prior to 2017, their last winning season was in 2007, and supporters are ecstatic, especially considering that they won their division and advanced to the AFC championship game last season. There, they were defeated 24-20 by the New England Patriots (in case you didn’t know, the AFC champion represents the conference in the Super Bowl, thus Jacksonville came very close). So perhaps their near-miss has sparked a great deal of emotion as they look to once again dominate the AFC South and make a deep playoff run.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Arizona Cardinals subreddit included the fewest occurrences of profanity. In 2015, the club won its division, the NFC West, but lost their chance to play in the Super Bowl due to a crushing loss to the Carolina Panthers. Since then, they’ve gone 7-8-1 and 8-8, and quarterback performance was a problem in 2018. Without a competitive team (so far), supporters may have lost some of their fervor, as well as their penchant for using profanity.
Which Swear Words Are Most Popular Among NFL Fans?
Next, we separated the data by individual team and the 10 most frequent curse words to see how far off the mean each fan base was after all calculations were made. Nearly 44% of NFL fans used the f-bomb in their Reddit postings, making it the most frequent swear word in the league. “s—-” was the second most frequent term (with over 31% use). “damn” and “hell” were used at 8.7% and 6.9% of the time, respectively, after the first two words. The term “bastard” was the least frequent, occurring only 0.3% of the time.
Compared to the average, there are clearly a few swear words that jumped out from team to team. The Indianapolis Colts subreddit, for example, used the term “douche” almost 76% more frequently than the league average.
Who uses the word “crap” the most?
Finally, we determined which teams were the most prolific users of each of our 10 obscene terms. As reported previously, the Colts subreddit frequently used the term “dick,” while the Vikings subreddit featured 53% more “a———” language than the league average. Compared to other team subreddits, San Francisco 49ers supporters also frequently used the word “crap.”
Interestingly, the team that used the most f-bombs was not significantly different from the norm. Fans of the Atlanta Falcons were the most likely to use the f-word, but just 7.5% more frequently than the league average.
Expletives and the NFL
It should come as no surprise that watching NFL games may induce a great deal of shouting, panicking, and cursing. If you are a sports fan, seeing your team perform on the field becomes a highly personal experience. This may and does affect other aspects of our lives, such as message boards and social media. A passionate fan base may motivate a team’s success, but it can also rejoice (and lament) with a variety of profanities.
Methods and Restrictions
We extracted 592,189 comments from Reddit that contained any of the following 10 swear words: f—k, s—t, dammit, hell, d—k, b—-h, crap, a——-e, and douche. We utilized PRAW and PSRAW to retrieve comments from the Reddit API. The gathered comments were posted from September 7, 2017 to September 6, 2018. Only comments from the first and second levels were collected. We processed each post using Tableau.
Since it is possible to make comments on a team’s subreddit without actually subscribing or being a fan of the team, it is conceivable that comments containing profanity were posted by fans of other teams.
Fair Use Declaration
If you would want to share this profanity with your audience, all we ask is that you do it for noncommercial purposes and provide a link back to this page. This allows readers to examine the complete analysis. You wouldn’t want a group of Jaguar supporters to curse at you because they are unable to see the full picture, would you?