Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

Laurel Traynowicz


Super Bowl LII featured two of the most controversial teams in the National Football League: The Patriots and the Eagles. Both teams have loyal fans who aren’t viewed favorably across the country. Patriots fans are used to success, but have the potential to attract bandwagon fans. Eagles fans’ loyalty isn’t questioned and they have a tendency to riot (“over-celebrate”):

Philadelphia was completely on edge leading up to Sunday's NFC Championship. City workers covered poles in Crisco to keep fans from climbing them, and businesses were warned to be wary of riots if the Eagles won. Imagine being told that your safety can't be guaranteed because your local team just went to the Super Bowl. (CBS Sports, 2018)

These outsider perceptions of fans constitute evidence of “anti-fans.” Why do fans of other teams view these teams and their fans in such a negative light? The current study started with the concept of the anti-fan as someone who must first be an ardent fan of another team. The research team investigated what creates anti-fans, why the anti-fan is so common in the NFL, and how anti-fans behave. Do they dislike teams because of a rivalry, their success, their fan base, their players, or the city they play in? Or is it something else? NFL fans responded to an online survey. Results illuminate more about the professional football fan culture, and assist both teams and fans in better understanding values and attitudes toward the game.

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