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Researchers don't appear to think much of football fans. Around the time of the Super Bowl, two separate academic studies portrayed NFL fans as eternally "optimistic" about their favorite (perpetually losing) football team--and also quite likely to trudge from the stadium more than slightly buzzed. Now, science details more serious concerns among the football faithful.

According to an analysis of 900 regular season NFL games, domestic violence police reports rose 10 percent when local football teams lost "upset" games they were favored to win. In fact, researcher David Card adds, "the timing of the calls to police also indicated that violence occurred within a narrow window roughly corresponding to the final hour of a game and the two hours after."

Card and Gordon Dahl, the team that authored the study, compared the pre-game betting odds of six teams between 1995 and 2006 to "records collected from 763 jurisdictions in the relevant states from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a database of local police reports." Their findings were recently published by the Journal of Quarterly Economics.

What they found, they explained in a press release this way: "Our results suggest that the overall rise in violence between the intimate partners we studied is driven entirely by losses in games that matter most to fans," Card said.

In an interview with Miller-McCune magazine while the study was still in its preliminary stage, researchers "noted that upset losses produced increases in friend-on-friend violence, too, so the emotional sting isn’t a danger only to spouses and girlfriends. But spouses get the worst abuse."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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