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Phil Simms on good/bad fan behavior...


Well-known member
Hey all,

A Vikings-fan friend of mine (don't hold that against him!) forwarded me this article written by Phil Simms after he attended a recent Vikings home game. Some of it is written specific to that game and the Vikings, but it is mostly about good and bad trends in fan behavior at football games. I thought that it might be appropriate to post here due to some other recent post-strings on the matter. It's well written. I appologize for not having the link, but I couldn't find it.

Fans Can Make A Difference
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
By Phil Simms
Special to NFL.com

I noticed something somewhat unusual last weekend as I worked the Broncos-Vikings game in Minnesota, and I pointed it out on the air to my broadcast partner, Greg Gumbel. "Wow," I said, "They're all here and the game hasn't even started yet."

I was referring to the fans. And it is unusual these days to see a stadium full of people as the home team is being introduced. You go to the game, enjoy your good food and beverages in the parking lot before the game. But if you're paying all that money for a ticket to the game, you might as well be in your seat when the game starts, right?

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. There is a growing trend in all of sports. It's in the pros, but I've noticed it in college more than ever this year. And I'll even hear it on the occasions I get a chance to catch a high school game: People being immediately dissatisfied with what is going on in the game.

If the home team doesn't get a first down or move the ball in their first drive, you hear a noticeable booing, or at least some dissatisfaction from the fans.

I may be an announcer and a former player, but I am also a fan myself. And I don't understand what it is. It borders on animosity. The prevailing thought is "We can do better," or "You should be doing better." And it really perplexes me.

There's a lot about fan behavior that perplexes me. And I guess another reason I bring it up is the reaction of the Chicago Cubs fans last week when that poor kid reached out for the foul ball in Game 6 of the NLCS. Who can think fast enough when there is a fly ball coming in your direction at a major-league ballpark to think, "Oh no, don't try to catch this, because maybe the left fielder has a chance at it?" Who thinks that fast? Anybody who says they can is not telling the truth.

But the reaction from everyone else -- the throwing of beer, the cursing, the meanness, even death threats -- are you kidding me? It's so absurd, it's amazing that we're even talking about it.

On the other side of the spectrum is the response from the fans in Minnesota. It was positive all day long. I understand we're talking about an undefeated football team, but there were a couple0020of moments in the game where lesser fans might have reacted badly. Minnesota went three-and-out a few times and Denver was fighting back, but you never heard more than a few concerned groans. And when crunch time rolled around, when Denver was trying to drive for a tying score, the crowd was such a factor in the game. I know it's a dome, but they still have to make the noise -- and they did it at the right time. What an enjoyable experience for everybody involved.

It's always much easier to enjoy what you're doing than to moan or express hate and displeasure. That takes energy.

Maybe I'm not a good judge. But I love going to sporting events and I can't imagine going to a sporting event and cursing or booing the players. I might be quiet, but I just don't know why you would be vocal against the home team. Why would you want to do that?

Now, I'm sure the Vikings fans weren't as positive when their team was losing games. But you don't go from being the bitter kind of fan I'm talking about to being the fan that is there now. Nobody does that. My take is that Vikings fans probably handled the rough 2002 season much better than most NFL fans around the country would have.

There's no need for me to point out the bad fans, but I have done games where teams have just one loss and they're having a terrific year and the fans are on edge right from the start -- "Come on, satisfy me immediately or I'm going to voice my displeasure." I can hear it and see it right away in those stadiums, and there are plenty of them out there.

Unfortunately, I've noticed it more and more in NFL stadiums, and I notice it much more now in college football, too. Heaven forbid, that kid who is playing for scholarship money doesn't win every week!

The fans accept nothing but perfection. And it's not enough to just win these days -- you have to win with style. It's amazing to me when I read stories about "sloppy victories." I know how hard it is to win, especially in pro football, and any win should be appreciated.

It's just like politics: None of us majored in it and none of us know a whole lot about it, but we have an incredible amount of opinions towards it. The same goes for coaches and players in any sport. "He shouldn't have done this" or "He's not playing well," etc., etc.

I'm guessing that a lot of the fans I'm talking about probably don't read this column. But if you are one of them, just do me this favor: Have a positive outlook and enjoy the game when you go. Be positive. You will be surprised how that can filter down to the field and help the home team play better. And maybe you can even be a part of winning the game.
Good article. I have to admit in a fit of pessimism after the NDSU game I briefly joined the chorus of boos in the next game after some uninspired play calling, but I have felt bad about it ever since and won't boo the Griz ever again. This is like cleansing one's soul at an AA meeting.

"They're all here and the game hasn't even started yet."

There would be a lot more Griz fans in their seats for pre-game activities if they sold beer in the stands like they do for NFL games!

Just an observation. I myself would NOT like to see them sell beer in the stands at Griz games.
Wow GrizBiz, thanks for posting that article. Wish we could put it in the Missoulian. I only noticed one time today where the booing seemed to be for our guys, but it still ticks me off.
Some folks here and on the UGMB have claimed they are booing the coaches for bad play calling and do not boo the players. I say "bunk" as yesterday the fans booed after Ochs was sacked on consecutive plays. Nothing to do with the play calling.
What we win by 20 so you can't criticize the coaches or players so now you resort to criticizing the fans?
yeah, so that you could criticize us.

Can you really defend booing a sky-diver?
give me a break.

BTW, most who complain about the booing aren't those who complain about the coaches. For the most part those that are in support of booing are those that think the coaches can do no right.
I have missed two Griz home games in the past 10 years and I have NEVER, NEVER heard the skydivers being booed. Now I've seen it posted on this message board a couple times that such as occurred, and I don't know where it is coming from -- except that perhaps it happened at the one game in 2002 and the one in 1994, when I was not in attendance....?
Phil Simms called the Eagles/Jets game in Philadelphia today, and he had the same remarks for the Philly fans during the 4th quarter. They are, quite possibly, the worst fans in the NFL. You name it, they'll boo it.
Most of the fans in my section are pretty good, but there are a few real jack-a$$es sprinkled in among us. The disturbing thing to me is that a couple of the most negative and voca ones have children with them. They'll probably grow up thinking that this type of behavior is pretty cool.

I haven't heard anyone booing the skydivers but it wouldn't surprise me that there are people doing it.

Luckily, Saturday's game didn't give them much to boo about, although they did get all riled up after the two consecutive sacks of Ochs. I remembered the part of the article about not giving the other team any credit at all when things like that happen and just had to shake my head.
'68griz said:
I have missed two Griz home games in the past 10 years and I have NEVER, NEVER heard the skydivers being booed. Now I've seen it posted on this message board a couple times that such as occurred, and I don't know where it is coming from -- except that perhaps it happened at the one game in 2002 and the one in 1994, when I was not in attendance....?

I've heard it at three games this year and never before.
in 2 of the three cases i could tell it was coming from the student section, but it wasn't like it was a majority, but more than a dozen people.
the first time, homecomig it was people in the south and south/east sections scattered throughout those areas. one guy near me was booing the divers so i told him "grow up jack-az" and he shut up. the sad thing he was with his children who were about 8 and 10.

It's not like a majority are doing this, but it is being done. I attended home games for quite some time and have never noticed it until this season. And, gladly, its getting less each game.
I'm optimistic and think that those who did it realize its pretty stupid and have decided not to partake in this anymore.

BTW I could never hear it from the north endzone last season or the season's before. and while a student, and just after when i sat in the south those years i never heard anything either.

I think it's isolated incidents, but does show how rediculous a certain minority can be.
Thanks, GrizMania, for your response. I sit on the east side, and have never heard any booing of the skydivers ... and hope I never do.
what's all this i hear about the offense boring the fans, and even boring the skydivers? damn, you'd think they'd have a littl... what? booi... fans... airjum... oops. never mind.