Ask any professional athlete at any point in the season, and they’ll tell you their goal is to win a championship. From favored heavy-hitters to underdog teams, the objective is to go all the way all the time. This goal is the same for fans, although the amount of control they have of contributing this goal is limited. Emotions run high all season for fans of teams who keep hope alive to the end, and, if by some miracle, that team makes it, something goes through fans’ minds. For most, it is a sense of accomplishment, almost as though they were part of earning that title, and they enjoy the moment for what it’s worth. Others, however, have a different, more cataclysmic reaction.
For some reason, some fans find it necessary to celebrate their team’s victory through disorder, burning cars and looting businesses until they are compelled to submission through the use of force. What could have been and was meant to be an evening of satisfaction and bliss becomes a stressful night of confusion, destruction and shame.
We take a look at some of the worst sports title celebrations by fans.
San Francisco, World Series Game 5, 2010
About 8,000 fans spread out from AT&T Park after the Giants won the World Series in 2010, beating the Texas Rangers four games to one. Downtown San Francisco took no small amount of damage as fans tipped vehicles and blocked traffic. The night was documented mostly by citizen journalists, taking photos with their phones. Businesses were broken into, individuals were found unconscious and shots were reported fired shortly before 1 a.m.
Boston, AL Pennant, 2004
When the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in 2004, it represented a hope for something that had not happened in 86 years: a chance for the Sox to win the World Series. Given the fact that the ALCS pitted two of baseball’s biggest rivals against each other and the close circumstances surrounding the series, fans were all too ready to release their emotions. Fans crowded around Fenway Park after the victory and began posing public safety hazards. When police attempted to break up the crowds by using pepper balls, a female fan was killed when she was shot in the eye. The Sox went on the take the series, and fans once again took to the streets to riot.
Detroit, World Series Game 5, 1984
One of the first modern sports riots took place after the Tigers beat the Padres to claim their first World Series title in 16 years. Fans everywhere amid rainfall spilled into the streets of Detroit, burning cars and trash cans, and breaking windows. When the Tigers then lost the pennant to the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 ALCS, fans blamed it on the riots from three years previous, specifically noting a photograph of a fan holding a pennant in front of a burning car.
Los Angeles, NBA Finals Game 7, 2010
In an incredibly close series between two hated rivals, the Lakers’ comeback win to claim the title was displayed in the most dramatic fashion, causing emotions within fans to explode. Similar to the 2000 championship celebrations, fans seemed to form a growing circle of destruction, spreading out of Staples Center and into South LA and Downtown. Fights broke out, cars trying to leave the area were swarmed, and rocks and bottles were thrown at police. By morning, 38 people had been arrested and plenty of vehicles were destroyed.
Cairo, Match Win over Al Ahly, 2012
This type of destruction was on a level of its own, commanding global attention with its inexcusable destruction. Emotions in Egypt were still at dangerous levels after the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Those emotions carried over into Port Said Stadium when Al-Masry defeated Al Ahly. Fans with weapons, including swords, were at the match before the mayhem began, and after the win, they used those weapons against each other. 79 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured.