CHICAGO (CBS) — Bears fans, remember way back to the start of the 2013 season, when you were filled with happiness after that opening game win against Cincinnati?
Or how lousy you felt after that debacle in Washington, the blowout in Philadelphia and the season-ending loss against the Packers?
Facebook does, too.
The social media behemoth analyzed status updates to assess the emotional highs and lows for fans of every NFL team during the season.
“It is a fascinating part of human culture that we care so much about our sports teams and let their performances affect our emotions so strongly,” Sean Taylor wrote on the Facebook Data Science blog. (This link has data for every NFL team, broken down by division.)
“A great thing about Facebook is that it provides a place to freely share our emotions with our friends through status updates. Collectively, these status updates can tell a story about how the millions of NFL fans on Facebook experience the highs and lows of a football season.”
To collect the data, Facebook anonymously tagged millions of status updates during the season and counted the number of positive and negative emotion words–using a predefined list.
In the NFC North, Minnesota fans appeared to be the most optimistic/positive among division teams at the start of the season, which is interesting because they really stunk. Three straight losses changed all that, only to generate false hope after the Vikes beat Pittsburgh in Week 4.
Detroit fans were the least optimistic at the start of the year. Bears and Packers were basically tied.
The lowest point for Bears fans came after the 42-21 blowout in St. Louis. Followed closely by the Redskins’ loss and back to back defeats to end the season.
Amazingly, shortly after the loss to Green Bay and the Bears’ failure to make the post-season, the positive emotions among Bears fans rose to the highest levels since the start of the season.
In Detroit, fans got super-excited after their 40-10 blowout against Green Bay (who were playing without Aaron Rodgers.) Then their fandom was crushed after they finished 0-4, missed the playoffs and fired head coach Jim Schwartz.
It would come as no surprise that one of the low points for Packers’ fans was Rodgers’ injury suffered against the Bears, although the Cheeseheads felt slightly worse about themselves after the Pittsburgh loss at home in the second-to-last game of the season.
Click on the graphic below to view a larger file.
John Dodge, CBS Chicago