The Top 5 Fan Traditions

April 15, 2012


Behind every great sports franchise lies an even greater fan base. But not all fan bases operate the same, some fans take their teams more seriously than others. So much so that they have built traditions that have transcended just rooting for their teams. Traditions that have been apart of the team for years, and have been passed down from generation to generation. They are just as important to the fan bases as the games themselves. These traditions can easily send chills down the spines of the most non-chalent sports fans, and are the fabric of the pageantry of sporting events.

Not all traditions are built the same however, and today we are examining the top 5 fan traditions in sports.


5. “Jump Around”- University of  Wisconsin- Madison

The Homecoming of 1998 was the birthday of one of the greatest traditions in college football. The Purdue Boilermakers took on the Badgers on that faithful day, and the Badgers found themselves losing in the game, and held scoreless throughout the 3rd quarter.

The sound operator of Camp Randall wanting to stir some enthusiasm for the game  made one fateful push of the button that day and played the “House of Pain” classic. The rest as they say is history, the song now blares in the stadium every game between the 3rd and 4th quarter. The tradition has faced it’s set backs including a banning of the song for a game, which lead to heavy student protest. After it was found that the massive amounts of students jumping would not cause any damage to the stadium, the tradition was reinstated and continues today.



4. “The Octopus Throw”- Detroit Red Wings

It was 1952 and the Detroit Red Wings had two best-of-seven series to win to take Lord Stanley’s cup. Pete and Jerry Cusimano, brothers and storeowners in the city’s historic Eastern Market decided to toss an octopus on the ice; symbolic of the teams 8 wins needed to take the cup. Coincidence or not the Red Wings won the next 8 games, on their way to a Stanley Cup Championship

The tradition reached critical mass in 1995  when  36 octopi were thrown on the ice of Joe Louis Arena.

In the years since, stricter enforcement of the octopus throwing have taken place, but that has not stopped fans from keeping the tradition alive.

The tradition of throwing an octopus has become a staple of the Detroit Red Wings, and one of the most celebrated traditions in hockey. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES)


3.  “The Terrible Towel”- Pittsburgh Steelers

Never has a piece of cloth taken such symbolic meaning to a franchise and a city the way the Terrible Towel has. It began as a “gimmick” in 1975 used to promote a WTAE FM the flagship station of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The reactions prior to it’s use were negative to say the least, but after the Steelers won the 1975 Super Bowl the towel became a pivotal item in the fan bases repertoire.It has been used by Steelers fans in good seasons and bad to show their support for the team. The towel has traveled the world by Steelers fans, and has become synonymous with the team.

The Terrible Towel in Nepal, the towel is often taken by travelers to many parts of the world to show their support of the team and the city of Pittsburgh. Image courtesy of


2.” Winning Team, Losing Team”- Utah State University

The Aggies of Utah State have a different take of celebrating their basketball teams successes. They like to celebrate at the expense of their opponents. The chant normally takes place within the latter moments of the second half of when victory is ensured for their team. Some fans like to rub salt in the wounds of their opponents with chanting “na na na na, hey hey goodbye” but the Aggies faithful take the salt, add some citrus, and maybe a hint of battery acid and douse it at the losing team with this little chant.


1. “You’ll Never Walk Alone”- Liverpool FC.

Soccer is known to have their fair share of enthusiastic fan bases, who have their chants to celebrate their teams. However, there is none greater than the Anfield faithful singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. It is not uncommon to have chills run down your spine, and even tears out of your eyes while witnessing the performance of this song by the Liverpool supporters.


The song has been embraced as the official anthem of the football club, and is even a part of the teams crest.

The Crest of Liverpool FC

The song has been sung at the stadium since the 1960’s and has been embraced by many fan bases worldwide, but the Reds lay claim to the anthem and embrace it a way that no other team does.

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About Stefan Jagot

22-year-old Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts Major at Central Michigan University. The jack of all trades for

View all posts by Stefan Jagot


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4 Comments on “The Top 5 Fan Traditions”

  1. skoobasteve Says:

    Disappointed by the lack of “Forever Blowing Bubbles”. 😦


  2. mattpocket Says:

    No Rock Chalk Jayhawk? Curious…


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