Top 5 viral moments of the conference playoffs


5. Whisenhunt spurns Detroit, reaction to Caldwell overwhelming

From picking then San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt all the way through Detroit’s newest head coach Jim Caldwell fleshing out his staff has been a really, really long story unfolding virally.

The favorite for the open head coach spot spurning Detroit caused a lot of actual media reports, which led to multiple retweets and shared posts on Facebook. Identifying Whisenhunt as the favorite, whether to wait on him as San Diego made the playoffs and him picking the Titans over the Lions multiplied the story and the viral nature of the story by three.

The viral tendencies also spread out to fans reacting to people not online. Many fans quoted former Lions coach and Michigan-born Steve Mariucci on Twitter from his analysis on NFL Network, saying how surprised he was in the cold shoulder from Whisenhunt.

Caldwell’s hiring did not make things easy as fans were not happy with the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator, who’s last NFL head coaching spot saw a 2-14 season with a Manning-less Indianapolis Colts. His .292 winning percentage as a head coach at Wake Forest in the 90’s weren’t helping either. However, Caldwell has been receiving more support as qualified coordinators and position coaches are exciting the fan base. Others are worried about over delegating the positions. Expect the issues and the viral nature of the story to continue through the year.


4. Chargers Controversy

As reported by cover32 Chargers, a 4chan post by an allegedly laid off NFL employee claimed that the Super Bowl was rigged for San Diego so the franchise could get a new stadium. You know, since Qualcomm Stadium is only good enough to host two college bowl games.

Well not a whole lot can be believed from 4chan, but people react. Northern Michigan University shut down for a shooting threat posted on the website on Feb. 3, 2011. The post was added to the website before the non-called penalty that forced overtime against the Chiefs in the regular season finale, but after the team had already beat the Giants, Broncos and Raiders in three straight weeks.

The viral aspects of the Chargers Controversy was in the subtlety of media as a whole. CBS studio host James Brown said that the Chargers were the team of destiny due to the Eagles trend, where the last four Super Bowl winners had faced off against Philadelphia to start the season. I posted a (blurry) picture on Twitter on Saturday night of Fox Sports ticker claiming that the Patriots would host the AFC championship game.

Since the San Diego-Denver game was played on Sunday, Fox Sports was prepared for San Diego to defeat Denver.


3. Chargers Fan Struggle

A picture of a chargers fan wearing a Manti T’eo jersey, passed out drunk in a Denver Hyatt hotel hallway trended on Twitter the night before the Divisional playoff game.

The pic was nicknamed “The Chargers Fan Struggle” and was picked up by Deadspin and NFL Memes, but may have gotten more coverage from Comedy Central. New social media pseudo-gameshow “@midnight” on Jan. 13, asked the three comedian contestants to write a TripAdvisor review for the hotel as the Chargers fan. Kyle Kinane won the challenge with a zero star review.

Unfortunately for the fan and conspiracy theorists, the struggle was real for San Diego, as the Chargers lost 24-17.


2. #omaha

How many times can Peyton Manning say one word at the line of scrimmage in two games? The answer is 75.

After Manning shouted the Nebraska city’s name 44 times in the playoff matchup with San Diego, #Omaha was trending on Twitter. Fueled by a hilariously vague postgame press conference question, the city’s name, as well as local companies Omaha Steaks, Omaha World Herald and Mutual of Omaha all recorded significant search spikes.

#Omaha is continuing to produce some fun results, with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium naming a rockhopper penguin chick after the quarterback. The proposal has certainly helped the Nebraska Tourism Commission who helped coordinate the naming effort and video announcing the name.

Omaha also helped repay Manning for the Broncos’ verbiage, with five Omaha companies donating to Peyback Foundation. It is Manning’s charity for at-risk children. Between ConAgra Foods, First National Bank of Omaha, Mutual of Omaha, Omaha Steaks and Union Pacific Railroad, the five Omaha-based businesses donated $24,800 for the foundation.

The fun isn’t over yet, as betting website Bovada has set a prop bet on how many times Manning will say Omaha in the Super Bowl. The line was initially set at 27.5 times. Bovada earlier this season put bets on whether Oakland’s Dennis Allen, Dallas’s Jason Garrett and former Detroit coach Jim Schwartz would keep their job at the beginning of next season.


1. Richard Sherman’s postgame interview

Richard Sherman has found himself as the most polarizing character in the NFL due to one overly-emotional and defensive postgame interview with Fox Sports Erin Andrews.

Sherman screamed about Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree talking about him. The clip was aired on multiple media outlets from CNN to Comedy Central. Multiple videos of the incident are on YouTube, with popular remixes turning it into a piano ballad or an old school WWF interview.

The clip has also garnished multiple opinion pieces on cover32, Bleacher Report, Deadspin and more. A YouTube clip of Sherman berating Skip Bayless on ESPN’s First Take has also increased views since the interview. A commercial for Beats By Dre starring Sherman has also hit the airwaves already.

While the response has been insane on social and traditional media, the cultural significance about the Sherman interview is also high. Multiple questions about Sherman’s race, education and more have been raised, with Sherman equating the word ‘thug’ as a racial slur. Sherman was quoted in a press conference earlier this week that thug was “the acceptable way of calling somebody the N-word.”

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