Clear Eyes, Full Hearts:

Here Are Your Super Bowl 50 Hashtags

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I don’t know much about American football. Okay, that’s a lie. I know nothing at all about American football, except what Friday Night Lights taught me. And, even then, my eyes often glazed over when it came to game stuff. Football is hard.

Tim Riggins Friday Night Lights

And yet, here I am writing a blog post about the Super Bowl. Lucky for me and everyone reading this, I am not required to understand the game in order to inform you about which hashtags you should keep an eye on for the game this Sunday.

But I tried to, at least, understand the competition. The internet has been helpful with my research and I now know the following things:

  • The Super Bowl is the game that determines the champion of the National Football Leage (NFL).
  • There are two conferences making up the National Football League: The National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
  • This Sunday is the 50th edition of the Super Bowl, which started in 1967.
  • The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are the two teams competing in the Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
  • Oh, and it’s “Super Bowl” and not “Superbowl”. Or the other way round. Who the hell knows.

To make this more interesting for me I’ve given myself a challenge: I will only use Friday Night Lights GIFs in this blog post. You’re welcome. Now, without further ado, here are your hashtags for the Super Bowl!

1. Straightforward Hashtags for the 50th Super Bowl


These Super Bowl hashtags are pretty straightforward and all-encompassing. The hashtag with the most unique tweets is obviously #nfl since it taps into all things American Football. However, the hashtag seeing the highest exposure, according to RiteTag, is currently #superbowl with more than 53 Million views per hour.

Friday Night Lights Smash Williams

2. Super Bowl Team Hashtags


As I’ve already learned, the two teams playing for glory this year are the Broncos and the Panthers. What I learn from looking at the hashtags for the teams, is that the #broncos hashtag is a little more widely in use than #panthers.

At this point in time, according to RiteTag, #broncos is clocking in at 342 unique tweets per hour, while #panthers has 171 hourly unique tweets. However, I want to know a little bit more about who these teams are, so I’m using Social Mention to look at the sentiment analysis for these hashtags. And this is where it gets interesting:

Using Social Mention to analyse Superbowl hashtags

With the Broncos the mentions are 1:1 positive:negative. Meanwhile, the Panthers seem to be a lot more liked if you’re looking at the sentiment: 22 positive mentions to every negative mention.

While a sentiment analysis can obviously not tell us who will win a sports competition, maybe the Madden prediction can. Since 2004, the EA Sports game Madden NFL has been used to run a simulation of the Super Bowl game. The computer has since correctly predicted 9 of the 12 Super Bowl winners.

Before announcing the result of their simulation Madden NFL asked fans on Twitter who they pegged to win — #pantherswin was being used more than twice as much as #broncoswin. And, indeed, the Madden NFL’s money for the winner of the Super Bowl 50 is on the Panthers as well.

I would like to mention here that Coach Taylor’s first team on Friday Night Lights was called Panthers as well. Just saying… 😉

Friday Night Lights GIF

3. Super Bowl Team Rallying Cries


Of course, each team also has their own war cry which is reflected on social media as well.

The Panther’s rallying cry is #keeppounding, and has a touching story behind it. In 2003, the Panther’s linebacker coach Sam Mills was diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer and given only a few months to live. He continued to coach while undergoing chemotherapy. In his speech at the playoffs Mills said:

“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do — quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!

The Broncos’ rallying cry is less moving but, at the moment, quite entertaining. The team usually wears orange uniforms — thus they and the fans are #unitedinorange. A few days ago the Broncos announced that they would be playing the Super Bowl 50 in white. The decision seems to be predominantly superstition-based. The Broncos wore white when they won their second Super Bowl title in 1999. However, the unusual choice of uniforms could pose a problem for some Broncos fans:

4. The Super Bowl Ads


Previously, the only part of the Super Bowl I actually followed and knew about were the Super Bowl ads. With the broadcast of the game being prime advertising time brands are motivated to bring their A-game for the #superbowlcommercials.

Sadly, the commercials have a history of often being quite sexist, presumably in a misguided attempt to appeal to the predominantly male audience of the event. A few years ago, people started using social media to call brands out publicly if they were being sexist in their ads.

At the frontlines of this has been The Representation Project, an advocacy program which started with Miss Representation, a 2011 Sundance film which explored how mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women on positions of power and influence.

The hashtag #notbuyingit, introduced by The Representation Project, is used to indicate consumers aren’t willing to buy products that are objectifying women in their commercials.

Furthermore, The Representation Project and Futures Without Violence are using the Super Bowl 50 as a backdrop for their Be A Model Man campaign. #BeAModelMan aims “to change what it means to ‘Be a man’” and shows how men are affected by the lack of gender equality just as much as women are.

You know who else knows how to treat women right and be a model man?

Friday Night Lights / Superbowl ads

Yup, that’s right. Coach Taylor does.

So now you’re all set up with the best hashtags for the upcoming Super Bowl 50. Are you planning to watch the game or will you only be tuning in for the ads? Will you be rooting for the Panthers or the Broncos? Or will you rather be rewatching Friday Night Lights?

Friday Night Lights