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The Most Toxic NFL Fans

The NFL season elicits strong feelings among the fan bases of each of the league's 32 clubs. While there are many sports in the United States, football remains the most popular, and with that popularity comes a lot of views – especially when supporters are anticipating offseason moves, coaching changes, the defensive coordinator, the next opponent, the new season, or rival clubs (and their fans). It also does not always depend on the team's performance. Smack talk is a type of sports talk that has most likely been around since the beginning of time.

For that purpose, we examined Reddit to find out what each NFL fan community had to say and ended up scraping over 500,000 comments for obscene language. We discovered plenty to go about and wanted to check which fan bases used the most profanity in their Reddit postings. Let's look at everything the NFL comment threads offer.

Football and F-Bombs


We looked at the subreddit of each team to see how frequently vulgar phrases were used. We primarily examined the first- and second-level responses (no f-bombs here), but there was still enough to say. The Jacksonville Jaguars subreddit had the greatest profanity in its postings, with 11.1 curse words per 10 subscribers, whereas the Arizona Cardinals subreddit featured the least, with 2.9 curse words per 10 users.

The Jaguars have recently begun to have some team success. Prior to 2017, their last successful season was in 2007, and supporters are certainly excited, particularly after dominating their conference last year and storming through the playoffs on route to the AFC title. There, they were beaten 24-20 by the New England Patriots (in case you didn't understand, the victor of the AFC championship represented the AFC in the big game, thus Jacksonville was really close). So perhaps their near-miss has fueled a lot of feelings as they look to reclaim the AFC South and pursue a strong run at the title.

On the opposite side of the scale, the Arizona Cardinals' subreddit had the fewest occurrences of profanity. The club won their conference, the NFC West, in 2015, however, they were brutally beaten by the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. Ever since that game, they've gone 7-8-1 then afterward 8-8, with quarterback play being a concern in 2018. Without a competing team (so far), supporters might well have lost some of their zeal – and, with it, their fondness for swear words.

Which Curse Words are Best?


After that, we separated the data by the specific team and the ten most common curse phrases to see how far off the average specific fan groups were when everything was added together. The f-word was undoubtedly the most prevalent across the NFL, with over 44 percent of Reddit postings containing an f-bomb. "s—-" was the second most common term (at over 31 percent). The next terms were more PG than the previous two - "damn" and "hell" were being used 8.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. "Bastard" was indeed the least popular, with only 0.3 percent of the time being used.

When compared to the average, there were a few swear words that shone out on every team-by-team basis. The Indianapolis Colts forum, for instance, used the term "douche" over 76 percent more than the league average.

Who Says “Crap” the Most?

Lastly, we examined which teams used the most of our ten vulgar terms. As previously stated, the Colts subreddit used the word "dick" frequently, but we also discovered that the Vikings community used the word "a———" 53 percent more frequently than the league average. When compared to other team subreddits, San Francisco 49ers supporters used the word "crap" very frequently.

Remarkably, the squad with the greatest number of f-bombs was not far off from the norm. Falcons supporters were the most likely to use the f-word, but only by 7.5 percent more than the entire league.

The NFL and Swearing

It's no shock that watching the NFL can result in a lot of shouting, stressing, and cursing. When you're a sports fan, seeing your team compete on the field becomes a highly personal experience. This could and does spread to other aspects of our lives, such as internet forums and social networking sites. A fervent fan following may boost a team's performance, but it can also rejoice (and grieve) with a slew of swear words.

The Method and Limits

We collected 592,189 Reddit comments that used any of the following ten expletives: f—k, s—t, dammit, hell, d—k, b—-h, crap, a——-e, douche, and bastard. To collect the responses from Reddit's API, we utilized PSRAW and PRAW. The comments were gathered between September 7, 2017, and September 6, 2018. All comments at the first and second levels were gathered. Tableau was used to analyze all of the postings.


Since posting a comment on a team's subreddit is accessible without needing to belong to the team's forum or be a fan of the team, remarks containing profanities might have come from supporters of other teams.