Throughout the 2013-2014 NFL season, Facebook data scientists anonymously tracked messages posted by millions of football fans in order to measure their minute-by minute emotional reactions during a game. Football fans wind up following a predictable pattern: excitement before the opening kickoff and then frustration, anxiety, anger and depression set in for almost 2 hours until the winning team's fans start to experience relief and joy.
The Average Emotional Path of a NFL Fan During A Game (2013-2014 season)
This pattern holds true for teams that consistently win. Using data from fans of the two Super Bowl contenders, Facebook's engineers found that Seattle and Denver fans were still down on their teams when their teams held the best records in the league. For example during a six game winning streak, Denver fans became increasingly pessimistic after each of the first five wins. For over a month, each win brought on more negative emotions. When Seattle had an impressive league leading nine wins and only one loss, their fans displayed emotional lows during a victory that made them the first team to earn ten wins this season. The following graph plots Denver and Seattle's fan's emotions during the last five months as their teams worked their way to the Super Bowl.
The Emotional Path of Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks Fans (2013-2014 season)
Noah Chestnut is Director of The New Republic Labs and occasionally watches football.