Why are NFL games seeing a rise in violence?

Nearly 40% of NFL fans surveyed have witnessed a crime at or around an NFL stadium, including physical violence and public intoxication.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers stand guard outside Bank of America Stadium before an NFL football game.
Posted at 8:21 PM, Nov 19, 2023

The NFL continues to see a number of violent incidents at stadiums this season, and while some fights have led to arrests, it doesn’t appear to be slowing the problem down. 

Some experts say the alcohol allowed at stadiums could be to blame.

Just last week, a fight broke out between a couple of Bills fans during a Monday night football game. It’s unclear if any injuries were reported or if security was called.

Last month, a fight between a Chargers fan and a Raiders fan broke out during a game at SoFi Stadium, and in September, two women were seen fighting during a 49ers game at Levi’s Stadium.

These are just a few of the incidents that have been caught on camera this season. Scripps News reached out to the NFL for a comment on the rise of these fights but has not heard back.

However, NFL told the Daily Mail Sport last month that safety is a “top priority” and that it deplores “the activities of a handful of fans who interfere with the enjoyment of others.”

The NFL released a fan code of conduct in 2008 designed to encourage a stadium environment that is enjoyable for all. It states that any fan who violates the provisions could lose “ticket privileges for future games.” This includes “behavior that is unruly, disruptive, or illegal in nature."

Obie Bryant, the president and CEO of Bryant Safety and Security, says it’s important for security personnel to be able to recognize when things may be getting out of hand.

“The key is for those foot patrol officers to be out actively, proactively looking over the crowd and making sure that if anything appears to be getting out of hand, that they are deploying officers to those particular areas of the stadium,” said Bryant.

Bryant says alcohol could be adding to the problem.

“Football games can be emotional, and then you add the fact that people are not as skilled now at having disagreements without being disagreeable, and you throw alcohol into the mix. You've got a recipe for something that can happen,” said Bryant.

According to a survey by Sportsbook Review, nearly 40% of NFL fans surveyed have witnessed a crime at or around an NFL stadium, including physical violence and public intoxication.

The survey also found that 45% of women don’t feel safe attending an NFL game alone and that 77% of parents wouldn’t allow their children to attend a game without a chaperone.