That game came to mind again just this past Sunday, as I watched Tom Brady lead his Patriots down the field in dramatic fashion to a late comeback victory against the previously undefeated Saints in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. Brady had thrown an interception on the Pats’ previous series, and when the going got tough, the “fans” got going. As the ball settled into Kenbrell Thompkins’s grasp for the winning score I remarked to my wife, “And those idiots who left will swear they were there for the whole thing,” at the same time as Troy Aikman said almost the same thing on the broadcast (No surprise that Aikman and I think alike; we’ve both had multiple concussions, neither of us can stand Joe Buck, and, combined, we have three Super Bowl rings.)
The people who attend professional sporting events are a curious lot. They wear garish clothes, hold up signs, paint their faces, cheer successes, boo the other team (or their own, if dissatisfied), and, ideally, participate in a communal experience.
Oh, and sometimes, they are stupid, classless morons.
Week 6 was not a great one for the NFL in terms of fan behaviour. Besides the baffling actions of the Saints/Pats attendees (“I mean, Brady’s good and all, but what has he done for us lately?”), we had a couple of highly publicized instances of idiotic behaviour by the paying customers. In Houston, struggling Texans’ QB Matt Schaub had to endure an injury, then he and his teammates had to listen as people in the stands cheered as Schaub lay on the field. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, as Arizona Cardinals’ DE Calais Campbell lay immobile on the field, fans did the wave (Apparently, the 49ers’ players were so embarrassed that some tried to urge the fans to stop, to no avail.).
At times like this, when those attending these games exhibit boorish behaviour, the media shifts to its default axiom that “fan is short for fanatic,” as if being passionate was any excuse for cretinous acts such as these. I prefer to think of the more descriptive “fandom.” It sounds like “fan dumb.”
Seahawks at Cardinals
Calais Campbell is expected to play tonight, though I don’t know how effective he’ll be on short rest, and he’s a key part of the Cards’ better-than-average defence. I’m also concerned about hobbled Larry Fitzgerald playing opposite physical CB Richard Sherman. For some reason, the Seahawks have struggled on the road this season, and I expect that this game will be low-scoring and close, but I don’t like Carson Palmer against Seattle’s defence, especially with his propensity for turnovers. Winner: Seahawks