It was brought to our attention today by Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy that one Derek Felksa, apparently a scientist of hockey fandom, has ranked all 30 fanbases in the NHL, from “worst” to “best”, using an infallibly objective numerical system. Because he’s a man of science, Felksa’s process is unimpeachable, and, since the results have been published, that means they’re replicable as well. We work in the sciences (or rather, Schnookie works with scientists), so we know how these things work. So we can’t argue with a process that looks at hard numbers like “attendance average for the last three seasons”, “observations of fan activity during games” and “observations of fan activity on message boards and blogs”, all quantified on the statistician’s best friend, “a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being outstanding or perfect and 0 being very poor”. The methodology is flawless, and the results unassailably reliable. Numbers don’t lie, Gentle Reader, and the sad news is that the Devils fanbase has now been proven, in cold, hard factual style, the worst in the entire NHL.
It is always shocking to be confronted by statistics like this, but rather than having some kind of hysterical “kill the messenger” response here, we’ve got to man up. So to speak. The fact is, Devils fans suck. Or, as our favorite personalized Rangers sweater we ever saw at a game at the Meadowlands said, Devil’s fans suck. (Schnookie: “That’s not necessarily grammatically incorrect. I mean, imagine the headline: ‘Devil’s fans suck. Car overheats’.” That’s most likely what that guy meant, but we digress.) And the reason why they suck? Us. That’s right, Gentle Reader — it’s all our fault.
Let’s assess our culpability now, shall we? Starting at the beginning, with attendance. This blog stands as a monument to our willful refusal to attend games in person. We actually brag in this space about how we don’t go to games, indulging all our worst impulses by insisting on sitting in front of our TV, wearing pajamas, during every home game rather than supporting our team like real fans. Sure, we talk a big game about how it’s so far to go for games, how Pookie works so distantly south that she’s physically not capable of making it to Newark for 7:00 starts on weeknights, how we just don’t have the energy or werewithal to commit to making a 4-hour round trip for a 3-hour game on any kind of regular basis. But you know what? Attendance is based on ticket sales. We could boost the Devils’ attendance figures (and remember, numbers don’t lie) without ever having to get up off our couch or put on real clothes if we just buy tickets. We don’t have to actually use them, do we?
That leads to the next point, about how expensive Devils tickets are. We aren’t keen on traveling 4 hours round-trip to sit in the nosebleeds, which are the only seats we can afford on any kind of regular basis in the new, pricey Prudential Center. But since we’ve already established that we’re not buying our tickets to use, but rather to pad the attendance stats, that should be neither here nor there. There’s an easy way we can help the team’s rankings, and we’ve been dropping the ball. It’s all our fault.
Dr. Felksa’s second statistical measure is the observed fan activity at games. On the rare occasions that we do live up to our responsibilities as fans and attend games in person, we are clearly behaving underwhelmingly. We do things like “wearing Devils sweaters” and “cheering when the Devils score” and “voicing our displeasure when the play does not go the Devils’ way” and “shouting ‘SUCKS!’ after each name announced in the other team’s starting lineup”. And that’s it. How pathetic. For starters, only sweaters? Where are our Devils hats? And sweatshirts? And tube socks? And tattoos? And facepaint? We might as well be attending the opera for the way we dress. And what’s with the understated cheering? We’re never going to rate above a 1 out of 10 at that rate. Dr. Felksa has accumulated volumes of careful field observation of every fanbase in action, and he’s seen us. We didn’t throw beers on opposing fans, or hurl garbage on the ice after tough losses, or generally elevate our natural levels of douchebaggery to appropriately fervent levels. Seriously, we didn’t even riot after the first round of the playoffs the way the NHL’s best fanbase did! Sure, some people might say that losing in 5 to the Rangers didn’t afford us the opportunity to riot, but a good craftsman never blames her tools. Nor does a good fan blame her team. It’s all our fault.
Finally we get to the observed Devils-fan presence in the blogosphere and on message boards. It’s no secret that we don’t participate on message boards, and consequently have been willfully refusing to rectify the total vacuum of Devils fans there. And as for the world of Devils blogs (we like to call it the “Diablogosphere”, even though it’s just a figment of our imaginations), this rating of just 3 out of 10 falls squarely on us. In fact, we can’t help but take it as a personal failing grade. And yes, it’s true — at this time last year we weren’t just posting every day, we were posting two-a-days. But this summer we’ve only been posting every other day. Thereby causing the composite internet presence of the New Jersey Devils fanbase to plummet. There is only one conclusion a learned man like Dr. Felksa can draw from this: Devils fans are abject failures. If we’d only been posting more frequently, the Devils could surely have surpassed the Panthers’ fanbase on this list. It’s all our fault.
Gentle Reader, we are duly chastened. Fortunately, all is not lost. There is a new season fast approaching, a blank slate, a chance for us to redeem ourselves. This shocking exposure of our fandom foibles is actually a good thing, and we have to thank Dr. Felksa for bringing our shortcomings to our attention now, instead of when it’s too late. We’re in a bad place right now, but there is hope. A little face paint, some flipped police cars, and 10,000 more words a day written on the interwebs should be enough to drag ourselves out of the basement. You have our somber word that we’ll do everything in our power to right the wrongs we’ve done.