Taxonomy of the Superfan

By Johnny Ginter on February 11, 2014 at 11:15a

Something that I've always been endlessly fascinated with is scientific graphs and pictures that illustrate a complex concept or idea in a really infantile way. Evolution for instance, is a lengthy, complex, and some would say beautiful construct of the natural world, so naturally scientists use wonky clip art and MS Paint to fully convey the beauty of Mother Earth's machinations.

That strikes a very specific and very hilarious chord with me, almost as much as my appreciation for alliteration always attempts. In fact, one of the first articles that I ever wrote for Eleven Warriors was related to this very idea. Way back in 2010, I figured that a Punnett Square would be an appropriate way to show that despite coming from the same Rust Belt stock, exactly why Ohio State is so good while Michigan and Penn State are so lame and dumb. Here were the results of my exhaustive and highly refined analysis:


As you can see, Michigan sucks, and so does Penn State. Ohio State does not. That's science. 

And even though I'm technically a Social Studies teacher in real life, through my hard work on Eleven Warriors I've gained a certain amount of expertise in the field of Making Up Things That Look Sciencey And Putting Them On The Internet.

What brought all this on again was the news that Texas Tech Superfan Jeff Orr will no longer be attending Raider basketball games this season after he said something mean/allegedly racist to Marcus Smart, who then pushed him because he either was offended or just mad that a goofy fat guy wouldn't shut up. I don't know or really care what Orr actually said, but I do know that squat, obnoxious tongue waggers rarely do well in the wild. Superfans like Orr seemed doomed to extinction as saner, less irritating fans move in on their habitat and force them to find environs elsewhere.

Then these tweets came in from Tim Jessberger, one of the leaders of Block O:

Quack quack

If you breathe, fart, eat, sleep, whatever, you belong here. This is the realm of all living things on earth, and generally everyone is pretty cool. You have your share of jerks (ants, most cats, Kim Jong-Un), but for the most part animals are chill dudes. I like 'em.

Oh, hello.

Animals found in the phylum Firstworldia are generally aware of sports as a recreational activity. They may or may not be actual fans of sport, but if you held up a picture of Michael Jordan in front of them, they'll either quote Space Jam compulsively or grudgingly admit that sports (SPORTS! Of all things) has entered into their consciousness in a permanent way.

Sports exist. Firstworldia recognizes this, but what separates it from other phyla is that on any hierarchy of needs, it will inevitably place an awareness of sports before an awareness of other social issues such as famine, war, or injustice.

We like sports and don't care who knows

Your Average Joe sports fan. They have their teams that they root for, and should that team win or lose, it will trigger an emotional reaction in their brains that causes a general feeling of sadness or happiness. The severity of this emotional reaction depends on the particular species, but should that reaction be seen in Clevelandus Brownius, it is almost universally negative and sad.

A little bit louder now...

Sports fans in the the order Espnitae go beyond merely noticing and reacting to sports in general; instead, they religiously follow their favorite sports on television, and put great stock into what is being said about their favorite teams in whatever media they consume.

Those in Espnitae will watch any and all media related to their favorite teams, up to and including 20 minute videos of a History 398 presentation where a group of students that includes Jake Lorbach narrates a PowerPoint about Kemal Ataturk.

A little bit louder now...

This family is defined by their ability to go even further than the standard die-hard fan, and everything that is present in the general order of Espnitae is amplified tenfold. For instance, if a member of Espnitae watches Sportcenter on a regular basis, someone from the family Obsessivus has written a 5000 word plea to Linda Cohn to find a way to increase the amount of hockey coverage on NBC from the hours of 6-8 am.

If a member of Espnitae saved Youngstown Boys in their DVR, a member of Obsessivus has bought property in Youngstown, Ohio and is currently renovating it to look like Maurice Clarett's childhood home.

Okay way too loud right now...

Irritatia is a subgroup of Obsessivus that is notoriously hard to get rid of. Attention seekers, hangers-on, and gloryhogs to the ultimate degree, they use their sports fandom as a means to glorify themselves for all eternity in the eyes of other members of the genus Irritatia. Those not within this genus are generally repulsed by their behavior, odor, loud colors, noise, or some combination thereof.

Members of Irritatia are the genus most likely to preceive some kind of long lasting bond with young athletes after a short interaction, such as an autograph, handshake, or sideways glance. Irritatia can become creepy/weird if given enough time around their chief prey, television cameras.


The worst. Just the pits.

The genus Irritatia is generally a loathsome group with few positive qualities, but in general they are harmless. Saddus Maximus is not. This species has lost the battle for their own dignity, and are now seeking to win a victory over big time athletes to justify their sad, declining position in life. Obscene gestures, racial slurs, implications of fornication with mothers, and a whole host of other sad, sad thoughts and actions are all in the repertoire of this creature.

They inhabit sports arenas, Twitter accounts, Facebook, comment threads, YouTube, the air ducts in Aaron Craft's apartment, autograph signings, XBox Live, and pretty much whenever sports are discussed at any kind of length at any time and any place.

The terrible secret of Saddus Maximus is that if these things are taken away from them and they are forced from their habitats, if they suddenly lose the ability to be rude and obscene to athletes, then they'll simply disappear.

And that would be perhaps the greatest tragedy of them all.


Comments Show All Comments

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

So you are saying there is no more special treatment getting handed out for putting on makeup and costumes? Cool

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

+13 HS
Bolt's picture

Why the shit does he get to keep buying student tickets, though??

+1 HS
Stinson's picture

He's made friends with a couple students by telling them they'll get on TV if can sit by them at the game. So they get him a ticket and BuckID to borrow.

So young. So Naive.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

OvalBeachBum's picture

The Humanity...

"Well, thats just like, your opinion, man."  -The Dude

OSUStu's picture

Brilliant work Johnny. 


If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+26 HS
Doc's picture

Stu, you beat me to it, Bitch.

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+2 HS
rampageripster's picture

As a biologist... this made my head hurt

Cause I couldn't go for three

+4 HS
spqr2008's picture

Whale Biologist?

+1 HS
Doc's picture

Is that a Titleist?

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Fantastic! I am not a biologist, so your "spot-on" natural assessment of the Superfan makes perfect sense to me! 

I would however, turn in my PETA credentials if it meant I could rid the earth of all Saddus Maximus, and some select Irritatia specimens...just sayin.


Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

+2 HS
Nappy's picture

A Punnett Square on 11W?  I've officially seen everything.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

+4 HS
Mr Soul's picture

Zoidberg, a diplomat? The list of things I've heard now contains everything.

Keep the change, ya filthy animal!

+2 HS
doodah_man's picture

As a goofy fat guy, I am offended...although, you have demonstrated with unbiased sciencey stuff that Michigan sucks.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+2 HS
ToledoMan's picture

f= desire to watch Lawrence Welk..........priceless

+1 HS
Doc's picture

How can this guy get student tickets?  That should be against the rules.  These guys look like complete asshats.

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+5 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I think calling him an asshat is being way too nice.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

shadybuck's picture

I think Rhythmius Overweightus is a pretty great species, can be seen at nearly any sporting event in north america, Ohioans should look no further than nationwide arena in Columbus


+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture



Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+3 HS
741's picture

This guy is paid to do the fat guy dance. He is not a fan, or a Columbus resident as I understand it.

canukeye's picture

You forgot about the Sub-Species Bloggerus Jerk-Offerus.  Easily recognizable by their thin upturned snout, hairy palms and zealously held belief that if you do not accept the play-off system as the savior of college football you do not deserve to live cause hey I write for a blog and hey if you disagree with me you are wrong cause hey I write for a blog and hey the internet.  Look at me I can make links.

It's not the band that I hate.  It's the fans.

Johnny Ginter's picture

this seems... oddly specific

Doc's picture

I have a Bachelors degree in Biology and that was very easy to follow and understand.  Johnny, I do believe your science and research are spot on.

I'm wondering where we fall into your order.  I'm guessing most of us are categorized in the Espintae order, but our family, genus and species diverge greatly.  I am sure our family is made up of a higher intellect than most.

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PittBuckeye's picture

How to be the best fan ever, I remember being a young fella at the games and wondering if this crazy guy was ok.


+9 HS
1MechEng's picture

If I'm not mistaken, that was Orlas King ... a.k.a. Neutron Man. (RIP).

+1 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

That's exactly who it was, and from what I can remember of those games everyone thought he was great. Everybody knew who he was, but he didn't need priority seating.

+1 HS
741's picture

Note the absence of face and body paint.

Also, he was a generous philanthropist as I recall. Further, he sat up near the top of A deck (surely on the merit of his own standing as a season ticket holder and donor to the university). People would routinely stand up, turn around, and look up to him doing the Neutron Dance once per game. This guy was absolutely not an attention whore: to the contrary, he was just a one of a kind dude who was loved by TBDBITL.

+1 HS
GoBucks713's picture

Big Nut doesn't bother me as much as the guy with the Cowboy Hat. That dude is an asshat. When was the last time you saw him at a basketball game, or a baseball game, or women's soccer? I've seen Big Nut at all 3. He's a huge Buckeye fan, literally and figuratively. He's like one of the guys in the Dog Pound in Cleveland. He's I feel like for him, it's more like war paint. The cowboy hat guy though, I've been in the front rows of games and he came up to me and said, "if you let me up here with you, you will be on TV," to which I drunkenly replied, and I'm churching it up here, "go somewhere else."


But in my humble opinion, there's no such thing as a SuperFan, just SuperAssholes. Different people have different ways of celebrating their love for their favorite teams. I've been wearing the same underwear and t-shirt under my clothes on game day for Football and Basketball for 20 years. Is that odd? It's probably more worrisome when it comes to hygiene than odd, but then again does my opinion of my own superstitions holds about as much grounds as a donut hole Brady Hoke passed up.

Does it matter if a grown man wears a jersey on Game Day, or paints his face? I see women with eye black and stickers on their faces. Hell, one fellow 11dubster's avatar is of a woman that has an OSU "shirt" painted on her upper body.

I wonder how many of you will be wearing your Club Tril or Buckeye NutHouse shirts tonight? I'll be wearing both. And if that makes me a SuperFan, don't tase me bro.

-The Aristocrats!

+8 HS
albinomosquito's picture

A group of friends and I ran into the cowboy hat guy on High Street once.  He posed for a picture with us, and then afterwards shot, and i'm paraphrasing here, "this is how I make a living, people usually pay me for photo ops", thus shattering my naivety.

Furious George 27's picture

That is Buck-I-Guy... He is a giant tool. And he gives himself a dirty sanchez.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+3 HS
GoBucks713's picture

Atleast it's a scarlet dirty sanchez.

-The Aristocrats!

Ericgobucks's picture

He sounds like a complete dick. I wouldn't give him a dime. 

LouBuck35's picture

I always had a relatively neutral view of the Ohio State Super Fans.  I attended the first game of the Forgotten Season of 2011 and watched Joe Bauserman look like Tom Brady from 23AA, Row 4.  It was also approximately 241 degrees that day.  Low and behold, who is 3 rows in front of my family and I, but the Big Nut himself.  Forget the sweltering heat, Big Nut didn't care.  He had the full regalia on, gloves included.  At high noon, this section (behind the OSU bench) was getting pounded by the sun.  While most normal folk were watching the game and trying to just survive the day - Big Nut was adament about standing up, turning around and attempting to lead chants.  His common phrase was, "come on, you help me out, I help you out."  He never explained what that meant, but I'm assuming it had some tie in to that he'll get us on TV.  So while Verlon Reed was winning the Taurian Washington/Bam Childress Memorial Early Season Award for Outstanding Performance, I was just trying to stay hydrated and alive.  Big Nut WOULD NOT LET IT GO.  For over 3 quarters we dealt with his annoying, in your face, forced fandom.  Since then, I curse him whenever he comes across my screen for being such an attention hog.

TL;DR - I'm not a fan of Big Nut or Buck-I-Guy because they put their own "fame" in front of having genuine interest in the teams they allegedly support.



I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

jhart's picture

I'll never forget that game...that was the hottest game - of any sport - that I've attended.  I was in C deck with my wife, and remember the bowels of the stadium looking like a MASH unit...people strewn about all over the place just looking for salvation from the sun.

Dippin Dots saved my life that day.

Normally I never leave sporting events early...I don't care if my team is getting shelled...I paid for those seats, and being at a sporting event is a unique experience.  I attempt to savor every bit of it.

I left that game at halftime

(my wife was also 2 months pregnant at the time, and I was literally sweating bullets with her being in that heat).

Baroclinicity's picture

Priceless!  Can't argue with facts!

The UM yacht club telestration kinda looks like something...



When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+2 HS
bukyze's picture

You are correct!   That's the beauty of science - the truth eventually comes out.  MS Paint does not lie!

Hovenaut's picture

I don't know this guy, but methinks he's a Saddus Maximus Stillsuxatquartertotwoicus:


+3 HS
Buckeye414's picture




-Go Bucks!

+2 HS
45has2's picture

I'm not a big Jay Mohr fan by any stretch. He's a too AM radio jockish for me. However, he said it best on today's show when he said: "If you're a superfan you're an idiot."

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Doc's picture

Aren't we all here "superfans"?  I follow OSU sports very closely.  Even more so since discovering this wonderful site.  I don't paint my face and try to get on tv though(I do wear my #45 jersey and my S&G camo pants).  To me these guys are Glory Whores.  "Look at me, I'm obese and paint myself to look like a doorknob.  My car is even decorated with my pseudonym on it!"

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741's picture

It might be time to lose the scarlet and gray camo pants, bro.

+2 HS
BuckeyeNation_330's picture

In my family you have to earn your official fandom to be considered an Ohio State fan (kind of like a freshman losing his black stripe). Mine came in my first year of organized football at age 7 when I asked to be number 75 and told the coaches "I'm the next Orlando Pace." Needless to say I never grew into the 6'7" frame I had imagined

"Bleed Scarlet, Die Gray"

+1 HS
BME_Buckeye's picture

Genetics was never my strong suit.  Interesting read though.

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


CarolinaBuck's picture

There's an age distinction as well. If you are in your twenties or younger, my feelings are go for it. You're only young once so go ahead and wear the crazy outfits and face paint. More power to you. When you get into your 30's and 40's, I'm sorry, it's just time to give up the paint and kooky clothes. If your in your 50's, with rare exception, it becomes embarrassing.

There is a point to be made as well about the three super whatever's we are talking about. These three separate themselves from the rest of the crowd by their never ending self promotion. I don't go to the games anymore due to distance, but I'm sure there are a lot of fans that get dressed up for each game, but I never see them on TV and I certainly don't see them every fricken week like we do these three clowns.

+3 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

My question - at what age do you look idiotic wearing a football jersey?

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

jhart's picture

I have this discussion with my wife many times!  I have no idea.  I'm 33 and have worn my Eddie me...#27 jersey recently.  My neighbor is in his mid-40s and has a jersey he'll still wear...

At what point do you graduate to the golf polo?

jhart's picture

What about that one guy who looks like Chewbacca...what the heck is up with that???

EDIT: I'm assuming this is a dude...


+3 HS
osubuckeye4life's picture

I too have wondered this as well. What is with the S&G Cousin IT? This thing also looks kinda like Grimace. 

What is it supposed to be? 

MN Buckeye's picture

Whew, I learned more about dominant and recessive genes just now than I ever did in skool.

Poison nuts's picture

You & me both brother....Eye haited skool!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+2 HS
gutterwaste's picture

Here's the thing.  Ohio State has a mascot.  It's Brutus and it actually is his job to lead cheers, look ridiculous, and act goofy.  It bothers me that theses dudes have elected themselves as mascots and they are portrayed as such on television.  These ass hats do not represent my university or me as an alum and I wish they would not be allowed to do so.

+2 HS
osubuckeye4life's picture

I like when the students actually dress up. Like the ones that would wear vests during the Tress years. Or the S & G Road Warriors during the Laurinaitis years. 

+1 HS
klfeck's picture

Honestly, I didn't really care for this article until I realized you placed Saddus Maximus as the most repulsive of all. Brilliant!!



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

GeauxBuckeyes's picture

Everyone whose hating on SuperFans who dress up (sans the aforementioned trio of Columbus' Irritatia) are probably the same fans who complain about true fans STANDING and CHEERING during football games at The Shoe. If you wanted to sit down and watch the game in peace and quiet without rabid fans, you should have kept your butt at HOME on the couch.

I happen to be the SuperFan in the image headlining this article and unfortunately Johnny left out details on my subspecies:

Cajunus Buckimus - A rare breed found only in the swamps of New Orleans. We are brave and bold and in the fall we congregate 100 strong at Mid-City Yacht Club to cheer on our Buckeyes in the heart of SEC territory. We left bland and boring behind in Ohio and carry ourselves with true style and panache down in the Bayou. Win or lose, we join arms to Carmen Ohio and then we drink Abita to old Ohio till we wobble in our shoes! Please do not confuse our "Loud Colors" with Columbus Irritatia.

+2 HS
PhilbertTheGreat's picture

I really don't see what the big deal is with how a fan expresses themselves. If someone wants to be an attention whore, then it's their right. I personally don't agree with it, but I definitely don't let their actions affect me in any way, shape, or form.


+1 HS