The Social Contract

ATLANTA – As thousands of red-clad Georgia fans walked up the aisles to the exits at the Georgia Dome you could see the next 24-48 hours coming.

The so-called good fans vs. bad fans debate. Players being hit up on twitter by "fair-weather" fans – with no filter between the two. Losses are always difficult to handle and Saturday night and Sunday reinforced that.

"Right after the game my phone was lighting up with some nasty things (on Twitter)," linebacker Christian Robinson said. "I've gotten some bad things before, but this was to a different level."

It's easy to understand the frustration on both parts of the spectrum. It's also easy to understand the misunderstanding between all groups involved (which is nowhere near unique to Georgia) because none has been in the other's shoes before.

Still, there is a contract of sorts between fans of a team and the team itself. Its not always easily understood because its not an actual contract - there are no terms. But fans are "supposed" to pull for their team no matter what while players are "supposed" to do all they can to win. When that doesn't happen the finger-pointing begins.

After bad losses misunderstandings creep up everywhere because the two factions that make up "Georgia" proper are a long way from being the same thing.

Fans don't know what its like to work the entire summer and all of August focusing on football. They've never put pads on before. Fans live in a world where none of them are immediately recognized on the street. Very few fans perform their job in front of 93,000 people each week. The closest they've come to playing between the hedges is when they walk up to them six Saturdays in the fall.

Players, on the other hand, don't understand that fans have things better to do than watch their beloved team get railroaded. They've spent money on tickets, travel, food and drinks at the Georgia Dome. Fans have families and jobs to get back to – they have church the next morning. They aren't taken out of the stadium in buses with a police escort. Instead, they have to wait in traffic before and after the game – and then drive home. Quite frankly it's not a lot of fun sitting by another person you don't know for three to four hours and having to tip toe your way through dozens of people to the bathroom when you need it.

Here's the truth – there are no "bad" fans. If people spend money or emotion on a team they are fans. If they buy a ticket to a game they can leave when they want. They can choose not to go to a game. They can boo. It's their fandom – they control it. They are the ones who have to drive home that night or the next day. They are the reason the players have a scholarship to begin with. Fans, "good" and "bad" are the reason why there are fight songs and mascots.

Without fans college football would be college tennis.

But the fans should understand, too, that they aren't players. They aren't the ones doing the actual work. The losses may sting for fans, but the players live it – and cannot escape it the entire week… win or lose.

Go to eat – "Why did y'all lose?" Get on the bus – "What happened last week?" Get on Twitter – you get the point.

The two factions may not understand one another on an intimate level, but they do have a major thing in common – Georgia. The good news is that nothing brings out frustrations like the first loss of the season, and nothing brings fans and players together like a big win. Georgia has a chance to pull that off Saturday.

Dawg Post Top Stories