A New Era: Overzealous Fans

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In just under eight seasons at Florida State, Jimbo Fisher is 80-21, which is a .792 winning percentage. He is 5-2 in bowls games, has won a national title, has never won fewer than nine games in a season in his tenure, and on two other occasions his squad made the national playoff. In his time taking over for legend, Bobby Bowden, he has completely re-hauled and elevated that Seminole Football Program. Yet, because of a current 2-4 start, which included another loss at home last week to Louisville, a certain moronic fan in Tallahassee was chanting and yelling for a new coaching staff. Amazing. Simply amazing.

I write this not because I am a Seminole fan, which I am clearly not. It’s all about the “U” baby…but I digress. No, I write this because I respect the profession and its coaches at all levels. Why do fans do this? What compels them to shout such nonsense? It is not just at the collegiate level. It starts in little league, goes all the way to the NFL. The worrisome thing about this epidemic is that athletic directors, principals, and general managers began to listen to the noise after a while and they forget what these coaches do for these players and their programs.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, we all knew what we signed-up for when we took these jobs. We all knew that we needed to have thick skins if we were going to enter this profession. We always get too much credit for the wins and way too much blame for the losses. It is a rewarding profession but very thankless at times.

Playoffs and a ten win season can prompt praises of “genius” from parents and fans, yet one sub-par year invokes chants of “fire him” from those same people. At the collegiate and professional level, I understand that it is big business and winning is really the only bottom line. But much of the discontent stems from fans that put their life’s worth into whether their favorite team wins or not. They even say things like “WE play the Cowboys this week; if WE win WE’LL be in first place!” No, THEY play the Cowboys this week and if THEY win, then THEY’LL be in first place. This drives me crazy!

You are not on the team and you have nothing to do with their success or failures. You are watching from your couch 500 miles away. The saddest part about this is that these professional and colleges players do not know that you exist. I don’t mean to sound bad when I write that, but it is true. They’re not worried about you, they don’t think of you; so therefore the fan should not be that invested in these strangers. When things start to go south, the fan base rises up and “demands” a coaching change, because of course they know best. Regardless of the time-frame the coach has had, regardless of the strides he has made; let’s bring in someone new. That is a direct result of our “what have you done for me lately-microwave society” we live in.

Of course, the over-zealousness of supporters is not limited to the big money leagues, it is prevalent in the high schools as well. Our parents at Oñate High School have been great since I’ve been here and we’ve had no issues. They know what is expected of them and they have been very supportive. Plus, I understand why parents are so emotionally invested. They entrust us with their most precious commodity, their child.

But, over the years, I’ve had a couple of favorites I hear at freshmen and JV games: “come on guys, wake up” or “Come on, Coach.” A player could fumble or punt a ball backwards and I hear “Come on, Coach.” And in my entire career, I’ve never seen a player asleep on the field. He may mess-up or not be very energetic, but never asleep. Or, on a Friday night, I’ve heard personally, “come on Coach, don’t call that” or “quit passing the ball, run it more.” All you people reading this that have yelled something like that before, let me share something with you: on behalf of myself and every coach in America, none of us have ever thought “man, that person yelling at me in row 6, seat 12 is right, I should run it more.”

I guess you have to love the craziness of the fanatic or the excitable parent. It does make the game more interesting at times. But just a word of advice to all of you out there, you’ll be a much more effective fan and parent if you cheer for the team, support your son or favorite player, and stay positive.


Scott Veliz


by Scott Veliz
Oñate High School Head Football Coach
Follow @Coach_Veliz

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.