The Most Vulgar NFL Fan Bases
Which NFL Fans are the Most Toxic?
The NFL season certainly brings out emotions in each of the 32 teams' fan bases around the league. While there are a number of sports in the U.S., football continues to reign supreme around the country, and with those large viewing numbers comes a lot of opinions – especially when fans are considering offseason moves, coaching changes, the defensive coordinator, the new season, the next opponent, or rival teams (and their fans). It doesn't always depend on the performance of the team, either. Smack talk is a facet of sports talk, dating back to the beginning of sports (probably).
To that end, we combed Reddit to see what each NFL fan base had to say and wound up scraping over half a million comments for vulgar vocabulary. Well, we found plenty to go around and decided to see which fan bases decorated their Reddit posts with the most profanity. Let's take a look to see what the NFL subreddits have to offer.
F-Bombs and Football
We checked each team's subreddit to see the frequency of profane words used. We only looked at first- and second-level comments (so no digging down deep for f-bombs) but still found plenty to opine about. As it turns out, the subreddit for the Jacksonville Jaguars had the most profanity peppered throughout its posts, with 11.1 curse word per 10 subscribers, while the Arizona Cardinals subreddit had the fewest, with 2.9 curse words per 10 subscribers.
The Jags have recently started to have some success on the field. Before 2017, their last winning season was in 2007, and fans are definitely hyped, especially since winning their division last year and plowing through the playoffs – making it all the way to the AFC championship. There, they were defeated by the New England Patriots 24-20 (in case you didn't know, the winner of the AFC championship represents the AFC in the big game, so Jacksonville was very, very close). So perhaps their near miss has spurred a ton of emotion as they hope to, again, conquer the AFC South and make a deep run in the postseason.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Arizona Cardinals had the fewest instances of profane words on their subreddit. The team won their division, the NFC West, in 2015 but lost their chance at another championship appearance when they were defeated soundly by the Carolina Panthers. Since then, they've gone 7-8-1 and then 8-8, and in 2018, quarterback play was an issue. Without a contending team (so far), fans may have lost some of their fire – and along with that, the affinity for curse words.
Which Curse Words Are Tops With NFL Fans?
Next, we divided the data by individual team and the 10 most prevalent curse words to see how far from the average certain fan bases were when all was calculated. The f-word was certainly the most popular over the entire NFL, with nearly 44% of fans using an f-bomb in their Reddit posts. The next most popular word was "s---" (at over 31%). The next words were a little more PG than the first two – "damn" and "hell" were used at a rate of 8.7% and 6.9%, respectively. "Bastard" was the least popular, only being used 0.3% of the time.
There are certainly a few curse words that stood out on a team-by-team basis when compared to the average. The Indianapolis Colts subreddit, for example, used the word "douche" way more often than the league average – over 76% more, in fact.
Who Says "Crap" the Most?
Finally, we looked at which teams were tops in using each of our 10 profane words. As mentioned above, the Colts subreddit said "dick" a lot, but we also found that the Vikings subreddit contained a lot of "a------" talk – 53% more than the league average. San Francisco 49ers fans also mentioned "crap" quite a bit when compared to other team subreddits.
Interestingly, the team with the most f-bombs really wasn't too far off from the average. Falcons fans were the most likely to say the f-word, but only 7.5% more likely than the rest of the league on average.
Swearing and the NFL
It's really no surprise that watching the NFL can invoke a lot of yelling, freaking out, and swearing. If you're a sports fan, it becomes a very personal thing to watch your team perform on the field. That can and does spill out into other areas of our lives, including message boards and social media. While a passionate fan base can spur on a team's performance, it can also celebrate (and suffer) with a bevy of curse words.
Methodology and Limitations
We scraped 592,189 comments from Reddit containing any of the following 10 profanities: f--k, s--t, damn, hell, d--k, b---h, crap, a-----e, douche, and bastard. We used PRAW and PSRAW to collect the comments from Reddit's API. The comments collected were posted between September 7, 2017, and September 6, 2018. Only first- and second-level comments were collected. We ran all the posts through Tableau.
Because posting comments on a team's subreddit is possible without actually having to subscribe to the team's subreddit or being a fan of the team, it is possible that comments containing profanities came from other teams' fans.
Fair Use Statement
If you would like to pass this vulgarity your readers' way, all we request is for it to be noncommercial distribution and that you to link back to this page. This way, readers can view the full analysis. You wouldn't want a pack of Jaguar fans cursing you out because they can't see the whole story now, would you?