If you watch a lot of live, televised sports — and you’re reading this, so you obviously do — then you’re always well aware of the steady and narrow stream of commercials being hammered into your brain. You see the same ads every night, during every break, over and over until you feel like dying (or worse, extending your arm six inches for the remote). But really, there’s no escape. It’s something sports fans have to live with. And we’re most likely stuck with this current crop through at least the end of the MLB Playoffs.
Right now, the rotation’s pretty heavy on Bill Hader and his girlfriend’s broken arm. There’s also the almost perfect Guinness’ wheelchair basketball ad. There’s the guy from She’s Out of My League starring as an annoying human cell phone. There’s Alec Baldwin for Capital One. There’s Paul Giamatti for Liberty Mutual. There’s Guy Fieri for . . . honestly, I’m not sure because I always change the channel. There’s also Katherine Webb for Carl’s Jr. and Katherine Webb for Carl’s Jr. and Katherine Webb for Carl’s Jr. And of course, the devil herself, Flo from Progressive.
There’s also the latest installment in Bud Light’s “It’s Only Weird if it Doesn’t Work” campaign. I’m not sure if that’s the actual name, but you know what I’m talking about. Each one features a montage of NFL fans taking part in quirky superstitions as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” plays in the background, and all things considered, these commercials are usually pretty good. The characters are relatable, at least more so than the over the top and unfunny bros you see in most beer ads. The song is obviously awesome. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had a Bud Light, but I’ll admit it to enjoying these commercials.
Well, except for the very end of the most recent one. Here’s the whole thing if you’re not familiar —
David Tyree? Come on, guys. You need to provide some kind of warning before just casually tossing that into the mix. In some parts of the country, that’s one step below flashing a photo of a dead puppy on the screen. I have a good mind to write the FCC about this.
But despite my disgust, I’m going to take my temporary role as Anheuser-Busch corporate shill a step further and totally bite on a new PR initiative that they’ve launched alongside these ads:
The Bud Light NFL Fan's Superstition Survey (LINK: http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/budlightnfl/)
Basically, Bud Light partnered with a research firm to conduct a national, online survey of nearly 10,000 NFL fans (about 300 from every team) and put together an “NFL Fans Superstition Index.”
According to the company: “The index calculates the superstition level of each NFL fan base by each fan’s game-day habits – everything from wearing dirty jerseys, chanting and kissing team trinkets to superstition consistency and true belief levels – and aggregates those into a score from 0 to 100.”
How accurate is this index? I have no idea. Personally, I stopped trusting Bud Light as a source of valid scientific data after learning that Spuds Mackenzie didn’t really know how to play the drums. And regardless, it’s crazy to categorize an entire fanbase on the tendencies 300 random people. Well, unless you’re talking about the Jags, because 300 pretty much covers it.
But just for fun, and to kill some until the start of the ALCS and another NFL Sunday, let’s take a look at closer the Superstition Index and how each team ranks from 1-32.
Actually, first let’s look at the Patriots, who came in at No. 22 on the list.
It makes complete sense that Pats fans would rank so low on the superstition spectrum, and here’s quick anecdote to explain why:
Sometime in the middle of the 2003 NFL season, I started wearing the same black t-shirt for every Patriots game. I don’t remember exactly how, when or why I started wearing it. I think the first two weeks were just random; it just happened to be that shirt’s turn in the rotation. But both weeks resulted in a Pats victory, so I just said screw it and ran with the tradition. Two years and two Super Bowl rings later, me and that t-shirt had a pretty good thing going. We were a real team. So much so, that our relationship was strong enough to survive an ugly 2006 playoff loss in Denver and then (just barely) the traumatizing collapse in 2007’s AFC Championship Game at Indy.
And thank God, because the 2007 regular season was awesome. It was like a second honeymoon. We were teenagers again. I can’t remember even one little argument from the opening kick of Week 1 right up until the moment our flight landed in Arizona for Super Bowl XLII . . .
But when Tyree made that catch and the Giants shocked the world, OUR world fell apart. And it would never be the same.
We took some time off that winter. Just to clear our heads. But you know how break ups go. It almost never works the first time. So, with Week 1 of the 2008 season fast approaching, we decided to give it one more try. It wouldn’t be easy, but we were both willing to work at it.
September 7, 2008: We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and when we sat down in our seat at Gillette it felt good to be back together. It felt right. And when the Pats took the field for the opening drive, I truly believed that we were going to make it.
Eight minutes in, Tom Brady tore his ACL and that was it. Almost immediately, we both knew that after more than five years, it was over.
We’d never watch another game together.
And nothing that’s happened in the more than five years since then has inspired me to start up another superstitious Pats-related relationship. I’m still searching for closure on the old one. And I don’t think that I’m alone.
Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of where the entire league ranks on the Superstition Index.
Starting at the top —
1. Baltimore Ravens: This makes sense. Of course fans of the defending Super Bowl champs are the most superstitious in the league. They’ve got the most recent tangible evidence that these superstitions actually work.
On that note, it’s too bad that the Ravens lost their first game after the Sweet Pea party bus incident. That could have had some legs:
“OK, guys. Who’s gonna let a stripper break a bottle over his head this week?”
2. Arizona Cardinals: Man, you just know that there’s at least one poor Cardinals fan out there who forgot to perform one of his 15 superstitions before Week 5 of last season, and will now forever live with the crippling guilt of allowing that 4-0 start to so tragically fall apart.
In fact, I’m fairly certain that it’s this guy. (LINK: http://www.azcentral.com/i/5/4/8/PHP4EEBDFCFB9845.jpg)
3. New Orleans Saints: It’s very believable that a city with deep ties to voodoo ranks high on the superstition scale. According to the survey, the Saints have the highest percentage of fans that engage in superstitious activity every single game. They’re also most likely to incorporate certain sayings, phrases or songs into said superstitions.
Can I get “Who Dat?”
No? OK then, let’s move on.
4. Oakland Raiders: Aside from being wildly superstitious themselves, the survey says that Raiders fans are also the group most likely to be publicly mocked or made fun of for their superstitious activities.
It says nothing about the survival rate of those who do the mocking.
5. Philadelphia Eagles: Along with the results for each team, Bud Light also included three or four open-ended quotes from fans describing specific superstitious activity. Here are three from the Eagles section (LINK: http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/philadelphia-eagles/). Only one of which is made up.
“I rub my lucky eagle feather.” – Female, Age 21-29
“My husband has to stay in the kitchen during certain parts of the game because of a game that took place over 15 years ago.” – Female, Age 40-49
“If the team is struggling, I sometimes like to stick my head out of my apartment window and rain boos upon random passers-by. Preferably children.” – Female, Age 70-79.
6. Dallas Cowboys: Fun fact: Jerry Jones recently commissioned a team of 15 high-ranking African shaman to devise a superstition that prevents late-game Tony Romo interceptions.
7. New York Jets: According to the survey, Jets fans (LINK: http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/new-york-jets/) are most likely to use superstition to try and jinx the opposing team. And that’s is entirely believable. They’re also the fans most likely to sit in the same spot every week when they watch the game.
One particularly vocal Jets fan claimed that the team always plays better when he spends Saturday night “sucking on a fresh rack of toes.”
Whatever that means.
8. New York Giants: The survey says that 51 percent of New York fans would invite an obnoxious friend to watch the game if it would help the Giants win. Although something tells me that number would be higher if they re-did the survey now.
I’m guessing most Giants fans would extend an evite to Kim Jong-un if it meant breaking into the win column.
9. Buffalo Bills: I don’t have a joke here. For Bills fans to still rank in the Top 10 after everything they’ve gone through is both inspiring and heart-breaking.
10. Carolina Panthers: Survey says that Panthers fans (LINK: http://newsroom.anheuser-busch.com/carolina-panthers/) are four times more likely than the average NFL fan to have a relationship end due to their game-day superstitions.
Most notably, the one Carolina man who cited his chief football-related superstitions as “having sex with as many women as I want.”
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Here’s another round of “Made Up Superstition”:
See if you can spot the fake one —
1. “At a friend’s house we watch Bengal highlights and growl when there’s an awesome play.” – Female, Age 50-59
2. “We have a Bengal gnome that we get out and place next to the television.” – Male, Age 60-69
3. “Every Monday morning, I write a hateful letter to God for allowing Marvin Lewis’ prolonged employment.” – Female, Age 10-19
12. Houston Texans: OK, let’s try that again.
See if you can spot the fake Texans superstition —
1. “When I am watching at home or a friend’s house I have to have five food items on the table usually two kinds chips, two kinds of dip and a beer. I have to kiss my wife for exactly five seconds before kickoff.” – Male, Age 30-39
2. “I sit in the same chair, same spot. I don’t drink beer until after they score their first touchdown or field goal.” – Male, Age 40-49
3. “I find that the Texans always play better when I drive by our quarterback’s house in the week leading up to a game and scream obscenities at him and his family from the driveway.” – Male, Age 20-29.
13. Miami Dolphins: Miami fans haven’t been much for superstition since the tragic death of Snowflake the Dolphin.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Any Steelers-related superstitions that existed prior to this season have since been replaced by gentle sobbing.
15. Cleveland Browns: GM Mike Lombardi recently traded the combined superstitions of every living Browns fan for a 2016 second round pick.
16. Green Bay Packers: There’s one sect of Green Bay fans best known for individually eating an entire wheel of cheese after every Packers victory.
And after every loss?
They individually eat an entire wheel of cheese.
17. Atlanta Falcons: Jay Glazer is reporting that Falcons superstition will undergo surgery on Monday afternoon, and is most likely out for the season.
18. San Diego Chargers: In a bizarre development, Chargers fans were recently alerted to the fact that every superstition that they’ve followed for the last two years never actually existed.
19. Detroit Lions: That’ll be a 15-yard personal foul for a lack of superstition.
20. San Francisco 49ers: The fans are indifferent, but Jim Harbaugh likes to start every game day morning by challenging the mirror to a staring contest.
21. Indianapolis Colts: Who needs superstition when you have Luck?
22. New England Patriots: Miss you, lucky black t-shirt.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: KC fans will worry about superstition once they get around to wiping that month-long smiles off their faces.
24. Washington Redskins: The fans aren’t big on superstition in DC, but owner Dan Snyder likes to make a habit of mocking Native American culture before, during and after every game.
25. Denver Broncos: Superstition got too confusing in Denver these last two years, what with all the audibles . . .
26. Tennessee Titans: The major superstition among Titans fans is “Always shave 500 off of however many yards Chris Johnson promises to run for in a given season.”
27. Chicago Bears: With the new coach smell starting to wear off, they’ll probably come up with something.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Too busy fantasizing about Greg Schiano’s ousting to waste time on silly superstition.
29. St. Louis Rams: Rams fans may not be a very superstitious bunch but Jeff Fisher can’t leave the house on Sunday morning without brushing his mustache 500 times in each direction.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars: This is Jacksonville’s highest league rank in any 2013 statistical category.
31. Seattle Seahawks: Perhaps the most passionate fan base in the league ranks second to last on the Superstition Index?
Wait, so are you saying this whole thing might be a load of BS?
32. Minnesota Vikings: I don’t know. At this point, it probably couldn’t hurt to test a few out.
And that’s it.
We’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.