Between falling debris, falling people and the chance of catching a stray fist in your ear, the live attendance experience at professional sporting events has never been more fraught with potential injury and terror. When you consider the cost of tickets and the tasty advancements in high-definition television technology, it's no wonder that NFL teams are realizing they need to be more focused than ever on fan safety.
Unfortunately, alcohol and general unintelligence are still a dangerous (if not lethal) combination, and fights in the stands continue to occur. So as long as idiots still intend to conduct actual physical altercations over sporting events, I will take Bobby Knight's advice and sit back and enjoy it.
Which reminds me of a fantastic tweet that my good friend Seth Payne (@PayneNFL on Twitter, a must-follow) had over the weekend:
ABC showing clips of disturbing fan brawls at NFL games. Shocking and disgusting how bad their striking technique is.
— Seth Payne (@PayneNFL) September 2, 2012
Reading Seth's tweet, my purpose in life became clear (I actually have several life purposes, none of which fully pay my bills. It's an issue) -- I want to become the go-to expert on fan brawls at sporting events, breaking down everything brawl-related: technique, psychology, story-telling and, of course, the all-important clothing and haircuts.
So in Week One of FFL action (Fan Fighting League, let's roll with it! Who's with me?!?), we got our first YouTube viral brawl of the season in New Jersey (Go figure!) at the Jets-Bills game on Sunday afternoon. Let's go to the tape...
Okay, solid stuff. Now let's go back and break it down...ZAPRUDER TIME!!
0:02 -- You are looking live at the upper reaches of MetLife Stadium on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for football. At this juncture in the game, I can virtually assure you that the New York Jets are pulverizing the ever-loving ass out of the Buffalo Bills because they pretty much did so from jump street on Sunday.
(NOTE: For those of you who make a hobby out of running regression analyses, with all of that time you have on your hands not getting laid, you should run a study on the direct correlation between fan brawls and location in a stadium. I have yet to see a video of one of these brawls taking place in the first 15 rows of the lower bowl. Conversely, the last hundred that I've seen have been high enough in the stadium to where birds are actually flying below the dipshits involved in the brawl.)
0:08 -- Players to keep an eye on in this bout:
-- Big Fat White Guy Wearing Mario Williams #94 Jersey: Currently has one less tackle and a much bigger thirst for contact than the real Mario Williams. He starts out trying to hold back our next FFL superstar...
-- Small Sexually Ambiguous Person Wearing Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 Jersey: With the long hair, feisty attitude, and Buffalo pedigree, I can't tell if this person is a man or a woman. Does it really matter?
-- Big Fat White Guy Wearing Kyle Williams #95 Jersey: Clearly, the longest tenured of the Buffalo contingent. Veteran leader. Also, he is the token "Guy Who Wears A Big Rubber Team Logo Object On His Head" guy. (I've always wondered how that whole dialogue goes down when this guy can't find his rubber headgear the morning of the big game -- "Honneeyyyy, have you seen my Bills skull cover? The one made out of vulcanized rubber? I can't find it anywhere...." Odds are this guy's wife doesn't hear him asking the question because she's on the phone with her boyfriend.)
-- The Only Guy In The World With A David Nelson #86 Jersey Other Than David Nelson: Keep an eye on him. He has some special moments, and like the real David Nelson, might have suffered a season-ending injury in this donnybrook.
-- Tank Top Guy: Jets Fan, not pictured yet, but will make his presence felt shortly.
0:11 -- And here we go!
Fake Kyle Williams jumps in early with the first blow on a Jets fan who we can only assume is wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey...mostly because practically everyone in this video rooting for the Jets is wearing a Sanchez jersey, further proof that New York fans
while psychotic and grating are smart fans whose judgment of Tim Tebow as a player won't be clouded by his worldly deeds and "aw-shucky darn" persona. (Nor his overuse of the word excited.)
0:15 -- ...and THERE IT GOES!!!
0:18 -- And there he is. The Chach Menace. TANK TOP GUY. I never would have guessed the Jets fan involved would be wearing a tank top. Who'd have thunk it?
0:21 -- Just before we get to the "Holy shit!" moment (It's coming, hang tight.), Fake David Nelson goes to throw an open-hand punch which Jet fan reacts to like a gnat just flew in his eye. (Um, FDN, this isn't WWE, you're allowed to use closed fists in the FFL. In fact, if you value your life, it's recommended. You'll find this out in about 13 seconds.)
0:22 -- Oddly enough, as little effect as FDN's open-hand punch had on its target, his lack of balance in the follow-through triggered a domino effect that sent his entire Bills brethren along with someone wearing a Jets FAVRE #4 jersey (who may or may not be the actual Brett Favre) careening down the steps. Way to go, Fake David Nelson.
0:26 -- Every good fan brawl has one moment where you wish WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross were on the play-by-play. With a dozen drunk fans sprawled across the steps and several others trying to either stop or perpetuate the fight, this is that moment. "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!! THE CARNAGE!!! THIS LOOKS LIKE A TRAIN WRECK, KING!!! THEY'RE GONNA KILL EACH OTHER!!!"
0:28 -- If you can see past Pauly D's understudy in the foreground, you can see that Fake Kyle Williams is wearing tiger striped Zubaz, which he undoubtedly purchased at some point during Buffalo's run of four straight Super Bowl losses, because that's about the time that Zubaz were in style.
0:34 -- DOWN...
0:35 -- And it was Tank Top Guy who got him.
TTG has turned into the Goldberg of this brawl. 0:50 -- Miraculously, Fake David Nelson has peeled himself off of the concrete steps. I'm pretty sure he gestures to the police to come apprehend Tank Top Guy, but to be quite honest, I'm incredibly distracted by FDN's haircut. Apparently, he likes to go to SportsClips and ask for the George McFly, the perfect haircut to accentuate his pair of Zubaz.
0:56 -- Rarely in these videos do we get to find out who is actually shooting the footage. In this case we find out that it's some distant relative of John Cena....
So as we leave this video, amidst a sea of "Assssshooollle" chants and another Buffalo loss, let's grade this brawl:
POSITIVES: Sartorial homage (ZUBAZ!) to the last time the Bills were relevant (1994)...the slew of stereotypical Jets fans....the total lack of a single Tebow jersey anywhere...Fake David Nelson's haircut.
NEGATIVES: No payoff on the "Is it a male or female?" question with Fake Ryan Fitzpatrick...very little quality storytelling and psychology, basically a one-punch match...Fake David Neslon's girlish striking technique, of which Seth Payne does NOT approve.
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RATING: *** THREE stars (out of five)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.