Home-field advantage is the only significant way that NFL fans can affect the game, as it is difficult to impact the play on the field without being on it. However, there have been a few (often notorious) instances where their influence was much more significant than normal crowd noise.
Most of these situations were crimes of passion, as they occurred when something did not go as planned for the team involved. At the same time, other more light-hearted cases were simply the result of inebriated fans taking things a bit too far after finding the bottom of a few too many $ 10 beers in the stands.
10 The Super Bowl LV Streaker
Super Bowl 55 between the Buccaneers and Chiefs might have been a one-sided snooze-fest, but Yuri Andrade provided a jolt of excitement when he stormed the field in a pink leotard late in the contest. He and some friends hatched the idea before the event to advertise for an adult website and make money from a bet regarding a Super Bowl streaker prop (which they did not get to keep after the story came to light).
Andrade pulled out a killer spin move to get around a few security guards around mid-field and continued streaking to the end zone. Likewise, he also showed some love to his baseball audience, and slid into the end zone like a runner sliding to home base. He might not have gotten to keep the money he would have won from the bet, but he still gained notoriety from the stunt and has nearly 200K Twitter followers to show for it.
The 6-6 Browns were looking to keep their playoff hopes alive in a Week 14 home matchup against the Jaguars in 2001. It looked like they were well on their way to doing just that before an officiating mistake ended their potential game-winning drive and gave the ball back to Jacksonville. One of the most notorious instances of fan interference in NFL history ensued, as Browns fans immediately began throwing bottles (and trash cans) on the field.
The situation (commonly referred to as Bottlegate) became so bad that officials initially ended the game with 48 seconds still on the clock before the league office called and demanded the game be complete. The Dawg Pound’s reputation has yet to recover from the incident, but it was thankfully the last time they acted out in such an ugly fashion (and let’s be honest- they’ve had their opportunities to lash out over the years).
8 That Time Eagles Fans Weren’t In The Christmas Spirit
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and the holidays bring out the best in everyone … except Eagles fans. Santa Claus came to town for a halftime performance during their season finale matchup against the Vikings in the 1968 season, and Eagles fans proceeded to pelt him with snowballs.
The Eagles of the ’60s were one of the laughing stocks of the league, as they only finished above .500 once during the decade and finally reached rock bottom in the ’68 season (they went 2-12). The anger toward Santa was from years of pent-up frustration and because Philly lost out on the opportunity to draft OJ Simpson (yikes) by winning two games down the stretch after an 0-11 start. Whatever the reason, the incident earned them a permanent stay on the naughty list.
7 That Time Giants Fans Threw Snowballs At Everyone
Eagles fans were not the only NFL fanbase guilty of throwing snowballs out of frustration during a season finale, as their rivals to the north also took advantage of the wintry conditions during a 1995 matchup with the Chargers. The incident started innocent enough, as fans in the stands began throwing snowballs at one another to pass the time.
However, it became a more serious situation when the projectiles reached the field at an increasing and alarming rate. Players kept their helmets on when they went to the sideline to avoid getting hit, but Chargers equipment manager Sid Brooks was not so lucky, as he got knocked out during the contest after being struck.
6 Browns Fans Charged With Batter (ies)
Browns fans took home-field advantage to another level during a 1989 matchup with John Elway’s Broncos, as they chucked batteries and dog biscuits at the signal-caller when Denver was within striking distance of the end zone in a 13-13 tie. Referees had to intervene and flip the field to get as far away from the Dawg Pound section as possible, which caused the wind to be in Cleveland’s favor.
The move worked out for Cleveland, as they got the ball back and eventually broke the tie with a game-winning field goal in the waning moments of the game. Surprisingly, this was not the only battery-throwing incident in NFL history, as Philadelphia fans are occasionally known to throw them after victories.