Sunday night, what began as a disagreement between two Steelers fans over play-calling, bad officiating, and, I kid you not, Mike Tomlin’s job status, escalated to physical violence, with one fan stonewalling the other with brutal headbutt. Behold, in all its wanton glory:
(Some context: According to Kate, the hero that captured the above footage, the recipient of the headbutt—who, it should be noted, apparently has a jaw composed of titanium—was the aggressor, for whatever that’s worth. Regardless of who instigated the fight, the Paul Rudd-looking nonbelligerent who delivered the headbutt will forever be know as...well, the Paul Rudd-looking guy who headbutted an old man during a football game).
Steelers fans, not unlike most sports fans, are an inherently fervent and impassioned lot, so that, coupled with a handful of contentious officiating decisions, negligent second-half play-call by the home team, and 13 or 14 beers, will of course stir any feelings of discontent or, in this case, exacerbate any feelings of hostility. Repress those feelings! Yes, the Fahrrrr Tawm-lin guy sitting behind you is deeply irritating, but is he deserving of your unbridled rage? He is not. Please do not headbutt other people.
Despite having watched this video at least 200 times over the past two days, I don’t mean to make light of the situation. The football aspect of football is quite violent enough; the last thing it needs is a pair of fussy, aggro buttholes quarreling in the stands over coaching and officiating. Important, too, is that this kind of behavior is a major turnoff for fans, particularly families. The fact that Heinz Field is populated by thousands of loud, temperamental drunk people—people who, oftentimes, could not possibly care less about the ages of the surrounding attendees—on Steelers game days means that watching a home game with children in tow is already a dubious proposition, and the prospect of potentially having to explain to an elementary-aged kid what caused two Steelers fans to fight each other is enough to keep any rational person away.
While the headbutt video is at least amusing, the following is not:
Seen here is a Steelers fan engaged in fisticuffs with Chargers fan; when the Chargers fan’s girlfriend intervenes, she is briefly but forcefully choked by the Steelers fan (it was later revealed that the girlfriend is actually the Chargers fan’s wife, and that she is pregnant; her husband, identified as Daniel Minshew of San Diego, stated that the couple plans to press charges).
A great way to earn a reputation as the dumbest fanbase in the NFL is to have two separate fights from the same game go viral. Though the aforementioned videos depict the two highest profile altercations, I am certain there were other, less severe skirmishes elsewhere. In fact, I attended this game, and a situation that I was positive would result in punches being thrown was thankfully deescalated by security (and by “deescalated,” I mean the belligerents were forcibly removed from the stadium). Now, I say all this knowing full well that 99.999999999% of Steelers fans are not ill-tempered perma-frats, so let’s do better next week. Yeeeeeeesh.