Like most websites, NFL.com sets aside space to highlight the wittiest, most intriguing comments from its legion of readers in a special place labeled, "The Crowd Has Spoken." Unfortunately, the crowd is mostly angry, illiterate jacknobs.
Nearly every page on NFL.com can be commented on by those who have an account and that generates tens of thousands of comments every day, many of which have nothing to do with football. The top of the website's "Fans" page (presented by Sprint!) is anchored by a special scrolling box which pulls the "best" of those comments out of the haystack, giving them prominent placement in a constantly updated rotation of the common man's take on the world. It seems apparent that this process is done automatically, possibly by robots, because if a human was actually reading this garbage on a daily basis they would likely have burned down the league's internet host before blinding themselves with an ice pick.
In a short time watching the page—briefly during the Sunday night game and again this morning—the comment scroll has displayed swearing, insults directed at players and other commenters, racist and gay slurs, spam, atrocious grammar and spelling, and more poorly reasoned arguments than a freshman philosophy seminar. Some of these featured comments are nothing more than a punctuation mark or a string of nonsensical letters. It makes a typical Twitter conversation seem like a graduate seminar in linguistics. Either quality control is completely non-existent or NFL.com is so committed to raw, unfiltered commentary from every day yokels that they refuse to edit the hive mind.
I emailed NFL.com for a explanation of the process used to select or edit the comments (if there is one) and here is their response:
"You are right. Those comments are a random sample from across the site. NFL.com editors do review after posted and monitor as much as possible to make sure the comments are appropriate. As you note, they do not catch every single comment. 100k comments alone yesterday.
In terms of the comments being unintelligible, this is really just meant to show activity. If the user wants the full context, they would click through to get the entire comment and the context.
Also, they do moderate comments within the forums, and in the short time since my email was sent, someone might have started paying attention. Comments on the front page usually scroll by more than once and can be viewed again by clicking a back button, but a recent missive that had something to do with Vagisil and the Dolphins disappeared before I could finish reading it and could not be retrieved ... only to be replaced by one reader calling "feelthebrees10 a fuck*** quier" (Don't ask me why the writer censored the "ing," but not the "fuck." I wasn't on the debate team.)
Here's a compilation of some of the other gems I captured. It's a fascinating look into the internet's dark heart of inanity.
Reader Justin M. first alerted us to the freewheeling nature of NFL.com after spotting this tribute to (I think) Jason Campbell's fourth-quarter INT against the Saints. It's insightful, because it's racist!
What? No penis pills?
I told you to just call him G-Train.
I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!
Text your mother with that mouth?
O M F G UR A 12-YEAR-OLD GURL!
Tell me about it.
How about that, indeed.
Rah? Ram? Rat? Oh, I can get this! It's a riddle, right?
Finally! A sensible voice emerges.
Oh, I love that song Carma Roids!
It's pronounced "doosh."
I just had to include the comment from the guy who thinks the coach who just won a Super Bowl is ruining the franchise. This is why the fans need a voice!
Uhhh ... I think maybe we should actually find this guy. Does anyone know a good hostage negotiator in Panama?