You haven’t showered. Your socks are mismatched. The Buffalo wings are in the oven. And your favorite chair is pointed at the TV at an exact 37 degrees South by South-West.

Nope, you haven’t lost your mind … it’s just that time of the year again. The day of the Big Game is upon us. A day when we all get a little crazy in support of the team we’re pulling for, and let our football fan flags fly.

Some of us are tamer with our celebrations than others, but almost all fans have some sort of game day ritual or superstition. Interested in knowing what other football-lovers do when it’s championship time? So were we! We surveyed over 1,000 pro football fans to find out how they celebrate significant game days.


Rituals and Routines on Game Day


Where do you watch the game, and with whom, when Game Day rolls around? Most survey respondents said they watch from the comfort of home with one or two friends or family members, and 25 percent said they have a lucky chair they watch the games from.

It also turns out that people are pretty superstitious when it comes to what they do while they watch. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they’d refused to go to the bathroom because their team was doing well and getting up might change the team’s fortunes. That means 38 percent of you would rather pee your pants than see your team lose – now that’s hardcore!


Gearing Up for Game Day


The superstitions don’t stop at chairs and bathroom breaks. Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed said they always wear a special shirt when it’s game time, and more than 37 percent put on a team jersey to watch the game. More than 1 percent of respondents even have a pair of lucky underpants for the occasion.


Chowing Down on Game Day


Food is also a big part of watching the game, of course, and it wouldn’t feel right to eat just anything. More than 41 percent of survey respondents said they always have chips and salsa on hand, another 36 percent gnaw on chicken wings, and nearly 27 percent said there are always potato chips within reach.


Superstitions on Game Day


Some of what we do is just tradition. We eat wings because wings remind us of football and friends and barbecues. We wear jerseys because we support our team. Still, sometimes we do things just because we consider them to be lucky.

In fact, roughly 39 percent of respondents said that simply watching the game brought luck to their team. Another 26 percent said their clothes were good luck charms, and more than 17 percent had a specific lucky drink. Less common rituals included kissing a photo or lighting a candle.

On the other end of the spectrum, a few die-hard fans said they don’t shave or shower on Game Day because they consider those activities to be unlucky.


Game Day and Trash Talk



Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a social fan, trash talk has been a long-standing Game Day ritual for many. When we asked survey respondents what they thought about trash talk, some major patterns emerged. Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Miami fans are the biggest trash talkers, while Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and Denver fans could do without the verbal taunts.

With all that in mind, another 21 percent of those surveyed said they wouldn’t be willing to even watch a game with fans of the opposing team. So if you’re a Denver fan in Cleveland, you might just have to find your own sports bar.


Singing and Chanting During the Game


Finally, we asked our fans if they often chant or sing their team’s song during games. About 50 percent said that they did at least some of the time, while the other half said that they either never did or weren’t sure if their team even had a chant. It appears that shouting is one thing, but bursting into song is quite another.


We Love the Game; We Love the Rituals

With fandom often starting in childhood, it’s clear why so many survey respondents felt strongly about it. Even if you aren’t one of the die-hards giving up bathroom breaks, sporting last week’s unwashed clothing, or angling your chair just so, who doesn’t love the rituals of sports? So grab your friends, a cold beer, and maybe even your lucky rabbit’s foot, and enjoy the game.

We conducted an online survey of 1,060 self-professed football fans between Aug. 8 and Aug. 9, 2016. Our respondents came from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 74 and were 62 percent men and 38 percent women. Respondents included at least a dozen fans of each of the 32 pro football franchises.
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