The NFL's low tolerance for fan misconduct has led to a substantial increase in fan arrests over the past decade. The league is cracking down on drunken horseplay and instead of handing out warnings, are showing fans the cuffs.
It's a football game after all. Emotions tend to run high. But, fans tend to go a bit overboard with their behavior. You can blame it on the alcohol, the loss, or even just the spontaneous sour mood, it doesn't matter. Fans just don't care. When the Steelers visited the Bengals last season during the Wildcard round, a total of six fan arrests were made that day. That's twice the average in one game. One guy even had the guts to fight someone and then pee on them after. Honestly, urinating on someone's head is not exactly the right way to represent your team as a fan base.
What makes matters worse is that fans tend to drunkenly stumble their way out the exits and into the streets looking for fights, with the presumed logic that the police aren't smart enough to follow them there. Right.
The "fan code of conduct" is as good as nothing once the alcohol is brought on. I mean come on, do you really believe that NFL fans are just going to sit quietly in their seats like they're at a funeral? It's a contact sport. Words are going to be exchanged and the occasional blood is going to be spilled.
We, as football fans, are biased, aggressive, and at times embarrassing. We're ruthless to the fans of the opposing team, and aren't afraid to show our emotions. We fight tooth-and-nail for our team and show absolutely no remorse as we hurl insults at the opposition.
But, we're also loyal to the core.
Certain rowdy individuals -- like the peeing bandit -- aren't a representative of the fan base whole. We love our team, and we're proud to show it, even if we tiptoe along the borders of the law. So, without further ado, here are the top teams that have garnered the most fan arrests in the entire league.
15 Green Bay Packers
The local Cheeseheads don't take too kindly to visitors coming in and "tainting" their beloved stadium, especially against a rival team. Wisconsin natives are generally kind-hearted and welcoming people by nature. But, mess with their Packers, and you'll hear from them. In 2014, Green Bay faced the Jets in their season opener. The Packers ended up rallying from behind, ultimately beating the visiting Jets. This didn't sit too well with the Jets fan base. Eventually, push turned to shove, and the police ended up arresting eight fans as well as ejecting 48. And then you have the game against the Bears, also in 2014, which ended up even worse -- 13 arrests and 32 ejections.
14 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings fans have been through plenty of rough stretches. They've been written off so many times by analysts, and even by their owns fans, that you can sense that they're playing with a huge chip on their shoulders each season. Their fans feel the pain too, (Blair Walsh anyone?) In 2014, Vikings games averaged 41 fan ejections. Now if that doesn't say frustration... Also, in 2013 during the playoffs against Green Bay, there were a total of 21 arrests and 91 ejections. That day accounted for the most fan ejections over the last decade.
13 Chicago Bears
Since 2005, there have been over 150 fan arrests made during Bears games. That's a shockingly high number for a franchise. The Windy City has been known for their brutally-stubborn Bears fans, but as you're probably aware, many of them take their fandom to a whole new level. On Christmas Day, the Chicago Bears faced the Green Bay Packers, you can only guess what ensued between rival fans during the game. A total of 25 fans were arrested on that mid-afternoon game and 52 were ejected. There was even a case where a Bears fan actually used a taser on a woman over a lost bet.
12 Miami Dolphins
The mediocrity of the Dolphins could be the primary reason why the woeful fan base takes out their aggression on visitors. Just ask Brent Grimes' wife, Tamiko Grimes. The fierce and outspoken woman has proven that she isn't your ordinary spouse. She's the type that will blast your franchise's starting quarterback through social media without regret and criticize anything and anyone that opposes her hubby. Oh, and you can't forget about her arrest either. But, now that Grimes has been released, it doesn't look like the Dolphins are going to be hearing from Miko anytime soon. But, aside from that, here's a fun fact. According to Emory University's study, the Dolphins actually have the worst fan base in the entire league. Well, with the high number of fan arrests, it's not too surprising.
11 Cleveland Browns
The franchise has had an ugly legacy, to say the least. Honestly, it's surprising to still see Browns fans hanging on to their team. So, it shouldn't be shocking to hear that this fan base is an unruly bunch. I mean think about it, the team has been nowhere near surpassing mediocrity and they're still searching for an identity as a team. They struck out on a conflicted quarterback through the draft and now they're trying to scramble together a decent roster. It's no wonder fans are revolting. Most of you remember the Bottlegate incident back in 2001 that paved the way to the Great Brown Depression.
Don't forget the arrest of a Browns fan that urinated on Art Modell's grave. From 2012 to 2013, Cleveland ejected a total of 361 fans from FirstEnergy Stadium.
10 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles fans are notorious for being troublemakers. Why? Because they love their team. It's simple. Philly fans want to see their Eagles win, period. They boo incessantly at everything because they don't believe that the team is maximizing their potentials, whatever that may be. Yes, Philadelphia is a hard-working city. But they're also undeniably proud of their teams. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and still show up on game day, adamant that they'll notch a "W" in the columns. However, Eagle fans are also known for provoking violence on their home turf. You might remember when the Philadelphia P.D. had to threaten the fans by going undercover (wearing Saints jerseys) just to keep trouble at a minimum. It's a good step, but it's also a shame that it had to go that far.
9 New England Patriots
The Patriots are a winning franchise, and their fans absolutely love it. They also their love their ageless leader, Tom Brady. Around the time of the Deflategate scandal, three men barged into NFL headquarters, handcuffed themselves together and demanded to be arrested to show support for the "baseless accusations" against Tom Brady. Not only do they love their quarterback, but they also love to riot -- for both wins and losses. I'm talking about the UMass Amherst Campus riot that resulted in 13 arrests and the use of tear gas to disperse the crowd as well as the 2003 Super Bowl "victory parade" that ended up with a drunk driver reversing into, and killing a man, during the whole shenanigans.
In 2010, one of the worst batch of arrests came when the Patriots faced the Jets. Following the win, fans became uncontrollable, leading to 117 arrests.
8 Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field is an intimidating place for visiting teams, and fans. Their self-proclaimed "12th Man" label lives up to all the hype surrounding the embattled fan base. It's safe to say that they're a loud bunch, but they're also known to start trouble with anybody that dares to stand toe-to-toe with them. When Seattle lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots, a 26-year-old intoxicated Seahawks fan drove down the street with a handgun firing shots out of the sun roof. While he was being transported to the local police department, he said, "None of this would have happened if the Seahawks would have won." Another incident is when Seattle visited Lambeau Field which resulted in 14 arrests and 37 ejections.
7 New Orleans Saints
Saints fans carry a distinguished sense of pride in both their city and their team. In their eyes, they run the NFC South, and nobody can take that away from them. And, as a community, they've been through both disaster and triumph which has elevated their will to new levels, and deservedly so. Their behavior during games, however, is a different story. In general, most fans tend to get arrested for disorderly conduct or for the typical drunken spat. Every now and then you'll have the crazed fan that just defies the normal limitations of the average sports fan.
Remember the guy that was arrested for shoving Bears chairman George McCaskey? Or the time when the Saints' faithful decided to copy Cleveland's antics and throw plastic bottles and beer cans on the field?
6 Buffalo Bills
The Bills are the title-holders of the drunkest fans in the NFL. They, unfortunately, live up to that title too. With pregame antics as dumb as these, there's no need to question why most of these fans end up being cuffed and tossed in the drunk tank. Two that you might remember are the dizzy bat fail and the "RKO Outta Nowhere" impersonation. Both tried really hard, but failed miserably. Last season in September, over a hundred Bills fans were ticketed for numerous offenses like talking on the cell phone while driving, speeding, possession of marijuana, and more. Sixteen were arrested on charges that include drunk driving, drug charges, and even an assault case that involved a box cutter and an unfortunate soul's neck.
5 New York Jets
We all know how ruthless the city of New York is to their home teams. And, you can bet that they're even more brutal to visiting fans, especially when the Patriots come to town. Football is a game that brings out the inner savage in a fan. But, some fans should just leave the hitting to the players. Remember when the Bills came into MetLife Stadium back in 2014? Well, since the Jets didn't produce a win, a fan decided to leave with a victory blow, which came in the form of a devastating right hook on a trash-talking Bills fan. Needless to say, the guy was arrested.
And then you have the viral duel between a Jets enthusiast and a bold female Patriots fan. After apparently kicking the head of the Jets fan, she was met with a single blow that sent her head reeling back. And, that's only a taste of what the Namath-worshippers can do to visiting fans.
4 Cincinnati Bengals
There have been plenty of lowlights in Bengals fan history. Most recently, a Bengals enthusiast was arrested for indecently exposing himself and urinating on a rival fan. There's always been that love-hate relationship that comes with being a Bengals fan -- the 2005 Wildcard game, 1988 Super Bowl, etc... It's a wild chase that always seems to come up short. However, that frustration turns into chaos and perturbed actions, like the time when Bengals fans threw beer cans at an injured Ben Roethlisberger as he was being carted away. Or when a drunk 19-year-old was arrested for theft, underage drinking, falsification, and assaulting a woman. The list goes on.
3 Pittsburgh Steelers
The terrible towels are everywhere. Pittsburgh boasts one of the most dedicated fan bases in the entire league, as well as the most traveled. In the mid-70's, the Steelers were known for their impenetrable defensive line, nicknamed the Steel Curtain. The strength of that fearsome four still resonates proudly within the fans today, as evidenced by their loyalty. However, Steeler fans do have a reputation for getting down and dirty. After their stunning victory against the Cardinals in Super Bowl 43, victory laps quickly turned into an out-of-control riot that resulted in over $150,000 worth of damages and over 100 arrests.
2 Oakland Raiders
The tough blue collar city of Oakland is home to one of the league's rowdiest fan bases. Every NFL fan knows that Raider Nation is mean, tough, and proud. In fact, their pride is so apparent in every game that it has led to various brushes with the law. It doesn't help that their rivalry with both the 49ers and Chargers has brought out the worst in them either. When Oakland faced both teams in the 2014 season, there were a combined 56 arrests in those two games. It doesn't stop there, the fights ensue all the way to the parking lot, with a case even resulting in a fatality.
1 San Francisco 49ers
It doesn't take a genius to know that the 49ers and the Raiders hate each other's guts. They're not only competing for bragging rights in the Bay Area, but they're also looking to be THE established team. Although Raider fans have long been criticized for their violent, rowdy behavior in the past, in truth, 49er fans have been relatively worse on game day. In a single season, there have been over 3,415 incidents in Levi Stadium. This tally includes over 200 fights and 23 felony arrests. And, that's just one season. Don't count out preseason either, there are just as many arrests in these games as there are during the regular season.