Inspired apparently by the recent altercation at a game in Baltimore between a Ravens fans and a Raiders fan that put a 55-year-old Ravens fan in the hospital, the Washington Post conducted a study of arrests among fans at NFL games. What they found was rather stunning.
The stunning part was not where the arrests were occurring so much as it was the sheer number of arrests per game. Fans are getting arrested at games – mostly for fights – at a rather alarming rate.
Also rather surprising was the stadium which features the most arrests per game – San Diego. The fair weathered, tourist destination had a league leading 24.6 arrests per game between 2011 and 2015.
The top five games with the most arrests in San Diego were as follows:
Raiders (2011) 69
Raiders (2012) 60
Falcons (2012) 47
Broncos (2012) 45
Broncos (2011) 41
For what it’s worth, you notice that the arrests in San Diego have gone down considerably in the past couple seasons. All of the games listed here are from 2011 and 2012. In those two seasons they averaged 32.9 arrests per game, with an astounding 34.6 arrests per game in 2012. Each season after that, they saw their averages go down – 23.1 (2013), to 17.1 (2014), to 16.6 last season.
Next up were the New York teams. The Giants (22.5) and then the Jets (21.5). The two Raiders fans who were arrested for the assault of the Ravens fan were out of New York. Having the second and third most arrests at games in the Meadowlands makes a bit more sense than San Diego.
The top ten most arrests per game by the New York teams were as follows:
Giants vs Cowboys (2013) 46
Jets vs Bills (2015) 44
Giants vs Jets (2015) 39
Giants vs Cowboys (2012) 39
Jets vs Patriots (2012) 38
Giants vs Packers (2011) 35
Giants vs Cowboys (2015) 35
Jets vs Cowboys (2011) 34
Giants vs Cowboys (2014) 33
Jets vs Patriots (2015) 32
A fairly distant fourth on the list with 17.8 arrests per game is Oakland. Though if you read the original article you would think Oakland was the Thunderdome and Raiders fans were the terror of the league.
The author focuses heavily on Raiders fans, complete with pictures of Raiders fans fighting in the stands and Raiders fans tailgating. There’s even a video in which they combine the New York teams and their arrest averages so as to fit the Raiders in the top three. Pretty slick.
Since 2011, the most arrests at games in Oakland were as follows:
49ers (2014) 49
Chargers (2014) 30
Broncos (2011) 28
Steelers (2012) 25
Cardinals (2014) 25
As far arrests in other cities while the Raiders were in town, the top seven games with the most arrests were San Diego (69), San Diego (60), New York (29), San Diego (19), New York (12), and New York (8). That isn’t a coincidence.
Of the 22 games in other cities in which the Raiders played there was a combined total of 67 arrests. And keep in mind, these are total arrests, without factoring who is a fan of which team.
Rounding out the top five most arrested fans in the NFL is the Pittsburgh Steelers with 16.8 arrests per game.
The top five most arrests at games were as follows:
Bears (2013) 56
Ravens (2012) 52
Titans (2013) 37
Lions (2013) 34
Chargers (2012) 31
What you see when you looks at the arrest numbers, the most arrests come against rivals whether regional or division (except for the Chargers in Pittsburgh which is just weird). Among the most arrests in New York was when the Giants and Jets faced each other. Same for the Raiders and 49ers in Oakland. And as you saw for the Chargers, the top two games with the most arrests were when their former Southern California neighbors and division rival Raiders were in town.
The original piece also points out that 9 of the top 15 games with the most arrests were late games such as Thursday night, Sunday night, or Monday night. That game in San Diego vs the Raiders with 69 arrests was a Thursday night game
It really is an interesting and distressing study. Fans fighting in the stands and in the parking lot is a real problem. It’s stupid and pointless. People are critically injured, and perpetrators have an assault or worse on the permanent record. Over a game which you are a spectator.