The map above shows the concentration of geolocated tweets sent during the Super Bowl that contained both the words "Lewis" and "murder." We were looking for references to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who in 2000 was charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of two men after an Atlanta Super Bowl party (he later pleaded down to a misdemeanor obstruction charge). The Twitter program we used ran from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., when this dumb tweet, and the thousands of retweets that followed, crashed my computer:
Hey Ray Lewis what's better? Winning the Super Bowl or getting away with murder?— Fill Werrell (@FillWerrell) February 4, 2013
What can we learn from the map? It turns out that San Francisco was pretty civil—a surprise, given how infuriating the first half of the Super Bowl must've been for 49ers fans. While the Philadelphia-New Jersey-NYC corridor came out red, three cities really stand out in particular, because they're exactly the three you would expect:
- Boston: It's possible that Boston sports fans might be a little petulant about the championship this year, just like they are pretty much every year, for every sport.
- Pittsburgh: AFC North rival of the Ravens. Fans here are perpetually frustrated that their star QB is universally considered a sexual menace, while Lewis is at worst thought to be "controversial."
- Cleveland: Another AFC North "rival," but more importantly the cursed sports-hellhole from which the now-Ravens were forcibly relocated in 1996 by grifting supervillain Art Modell. Since they've been in Baltimore, the Ravens have gone to the playoffs nine times and won two championships. The Cleveland Browns, in either past or present form, have never appeared in a Super Bowl. If one city deserves to be bitter—about anything, really—it's Cleveland.
Now a two-time Super Bowl champion, Ray Lewis gets to walk off into the sunset and enjoy himself in the jock-retirement home known as ESPN. Should he ever find himself in one of these cities, though, he'd do well to remember to wear his complete fighting robot suit.