Millions witnessed the uninspiring spectacle that was the 2012 BCS Title Game in the newly christened Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. In the ultimate SEC field-goal-fest, Alabama avenged their earlier loss to the LSU Tigers. While game expectations were high, according to Sports Illustrated the game garnered the third-lowest Nielsen rating of any BCS Championship game, dropping eight percent from the year before.
However, what the game lacked in drama and entertainment, the world of social media made up for in real-time commentary, coaching suggestions and humor. When it became clear that Alabama was no longer “Tiger Bait” and that LSU could not move the ball on offense with quarterback Jordan Jefferson, a telling trend seemed to shed light on what LSU coach Les Miles’ next move should have been. Jarrett Lee, LSU’s backup quarterback who was yet to see the field, was a trending national topic on Twitter by the mid-point of the third quarter.
At this point in the game, LSU had less than 70 yards of offense and had yet to cross midfield. Although he was a key cog in the Tigers’ success this season, Jefferson has hardly been known as a gunslinger and was clearly struggling. With viewer frustration rising with every field goal attempt, fans graced the web with a variety of witty and hard-hitting tweets to address LSU’s offensive ineptitude.
Tweets included blunt critiques during the game and even poked fun at LSU fans’ insistence on misspelling the word “Go” as “Geaux” with stabs like “Jordan Jefferson Bleauxs.”
Even Marcus Vick (@MVFive), brother of NFL Quarterback Michael Vick, got in on the action saying, “If they don’t put Jarrett Lee n the game Les Miles tripping….. Give ur boys a chance to WIN!!!!”
Despite the social media explosion, fan insights neither moved Miles to make a change at quarterback, nor inspired the Tigers to battle back with a field goal of their own. Even so, Alabama was playing so well on defense that the addition of Jarrett Lee to the mix might not have made a difference. Just ask ESPN sports personality and UNC-Chapel Hill grad Bomani Jones (@Bomani_Jones), who tweeted “Going to Jarrett Lee here would be like switching from a brick roof to stone as an asteroid is about to fall on you.”
If this latest championship game is any indication, real-time sports tweets are becoming an increasingly visible part of the game. Although the social media buzz surrounding the game in New Orleans was big, it was not anything close to a record for a trend experiencing particularly rapid growth. If anything, this was just a preview of what’s to come during a particularly well-known pro football game coming up in February: The Super Bowl.