College Sports’ Ugliest Fan Tattoos
West Virginia: Leave No Doubt
College fans across the land have a tendency to memorialize their favorite teams with tattoos — a practice Lost Lettermen has the penchant for reporting on a lot. We take a closer look at 20 of the most outrageous ones.
The owner of this West Virginia Mountaineer tattoo can’t be confirmed, but it looks a lot like the one that Matt Ridgeway posted on his MySpace page a few years back. (The placement on the arm seems to differ though, so perhaps it’s just the same tattoo artist with multiple WVU fans for clients.)
The “Leave No Doubt” inscription is pretty cool in light of the magnanimity of the late Bill Stewart’s pregame speech before the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. But shouldn’t such a resonant phrase be done in a font that doesn’t look like the titles for a 1980s teen flick?
We like the details on the mountaineer below the slogan: The rifle, the buckskins, even a satchel. But the face makes the man resemble a zombie dressed in a mountaineer’s outfit. Or maybe this fan wanted a two-for-one special and pay tribute to WVU and Mothman in the same tattoo.
Ohio State: Rival Punishment
If this Ohio State fan was, in fact, sober when getting inked with this, how awkward must the tattoo parlor conversation have been? “What I really want is ... our mascot forcing himself upon our biggest rival’s mascot from behind! Yeah, that’ll be awesome!”
We’d like to extend our gratitude to Deadspin tipster Kyle for introducing this to the world in July of 2011. And how fitting that it came just over a month after an Ohio State scandal involving tattoos led to the resignation of Jim Tressel.
We’ll keep the jokes about this tattoo to two: 1) Is this worth more or less than an autographed Buckeyes placekicker jersey? 2) Do you really a tattoo that endorses bestiality from OSU fans?
Arkansas: Hog from Hell
Summer’s sunny weather is a double-edged sword. While it lends itself to days chilling at the pool, it also means the potential to be horrified by tattoos that should really be covered up (and normally are).
Which is what Bliss Burton (@missblissbee) discovered in mid-August during a sweltering Arkansas day. It feels like the pig’s demonic green eyes are staring at you, regardless of your vantage point. And the smoke coming from its nostrils makes us think it’s going to charge at us from out of this man’s back.
Is the script “Arkansas” running across his shoulders really necessary? What other school are we going to think of when we see this?
Alabama: Roll Moobs
Not to discriminate against heavyset folks, but it makes sense that this overweight Crimson Tide fan would abide by the belief, “You can’t have too much of a good thing.”
Hence a upper half of his body that includes (deep breath) a Heisman Trophy (smack in between a set of Terrance Cody-esque moobs), a giant Alabama-style “A,” a national title ring, what looks like a cross between a spray-tanned Bear Bryant and Freddy Krueger, the years for all of Alabama’s national titles (missing 2011) and “Roll Tide” spelled out across his shoulder blades.
Maybe if this fan got into better shape these tattoos wouldn’t look so bad. Then again, maybe not.
Jon Swanfeld lives 2-3 hours west of Fayetteville, in either Tulsa or Stillwater (provided his Twitter profile is up-to-date). Nonetheless, he apparently has a talent for spotting ridiculous Arkansas tattoos.
Swanfeld tweeted the photo of the “pig-headed” Hogs fan to Darren Rovell last August. When the then-MSNBC (now ESPN) personality published the pic to yfrog, it started spreading like wildfire.
We particularly like how this gentleman’s bleached Mohawk makes it look like his hair is standing on end on account of how fearsome his Razorback tattoo is. Maybe that’s the point?
Kansas: KU’s Tatt Kat
There’s an unconventional practicality to Kat Steward, a Wichita native and lifelong Kansas fan. As she explained to ESPN’s Pat Forde for an ESPN.com front page story in January 2011, “I don’t need to buy KU shirts. I have it on my skin.”
The centerpiece is a tattooed replica of Allen Fieldhouse, which was initially coupled with a Jayhawk bird, a basketball and flowers during a 15-hour session with Kris Harness at Wichita’s “The Elektrik Chair.” When Kansas won the NCAA title in 2008, Steward had “2008 National Champions” inked across the base of her neck in another three-hour session at Elektrik.
How far back does Steward’s devotion go? Her first word was “Jayhawk” and she used to cry every single Senior Day as a young girl. Rock Chalk!
Florida: The Gator Within
As with anything in life, tattoos are one part idea and another part execution. This Florida fan’s ink is decent in the first regard and just plain embarrassing in the latter.
From an art perspective, it’s not terrible. The alligator scales and epidermal tearing is very life-like. Where it fails is placement — it would work better on the chest, where the fan could pretend to rip off his skin a la Clark Kent disrobing to become Superman — and, most egregiously, shape.
If the first thing you think of when you gaze upon this is a Georgia O’Keefe painting and/or a certain female body part, you’re not alone.
Alabama: The Super Fan Special
When you’re nickname is the “Alabama Super Fan,” you’re expected to live up to that reputation. In which case, we salute you, Nathan Davis. Let’s sort his tattoos by where they are on his body.
Left arm: Kenny Stabler from the ’67 Sugar Bowl, Bear Bryant’s “price of victory” quote, an elephant’s head with “Crimson Tide,” the Alabama “A” and “Rammer” and on the outside of the forearm, “Roll” on the tricep.
Right arm: “Jammer” on the forearm’s outside (to go along with “Rammer” written on the left one), another Alabama “A,” the state flag (along with year of induction and motto), Bear Bryant’s face, “Tide” on the tricep (pairs with “Roll” on the left one).
What Davis calls “the masterpiece” is on his back: A startlingly realistic picture of Bryant leaning against a goal post. As if that’s not enough, Davis shows up on game days shirtless with his face covered in war paint, wearing a kilt and a houndstooth hat in a cross between Bryant and William Wallace.
Clemson: “Clemons” University?
When you go over the top with your tattoo, make sure to account for proper spelling.
Otherwise you’ll wind up like this Clemson fan. His salute to Tigers football comes complete with a cool silhouette of the animal, players touching Howard’s Rock, the clock tower at Tillman Hall and a tiger’s paw with the animal staring out from it over the year of the school’s founding.
All applause-worthy ... until it’s ruined by the university being misspelled as “Clemons.” This faux pas is all on the tattoo artist. Maybe he was listening to a saxophone solo on a Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band album at the time and got distracted.
Alabama: Ride the Wave
Perhaps jealous of all the attention Alabama Super Fan Nathan Davis was getting, Zack Smartt plopped down $1,700 to get his own back-based work of art.
There’s a majestic looking Big Al walking through a literal crimson tide a la Moses parting the Red Sea (although it kind of looks like the innards of a vampire that’s been staked on “True Blood”). We applaud Mike McMahon of Atlanta’s “All or Nothing Tattoo” for his back-breaking work (10.5 hours over three sessions).
Think Smartt and Davis have started a club of ‘Bama fans with back tats?
Ohio State: Brutus Smash!
Barton Simmons focuses on the national recruiting scene for 247sports.com. Our question to Barton: Recruiting for football or for biker gangs?
During a stop in Columbus in August, Simmons snapped a photo of a heavily-inked Buckeyes fan sitting in the stands of Ohio Stadium. There’s Satan as he would appear wearing an Ohio State helmet on his left bicep (kudos for the detail paid to the Buckeyes helmet stickers). On his leg is Brutus stomping on a Michigan “M” and strangling a wolverine.
If Robert De Niro’s Max Cady from Cape Fear were an Ohio State fan, this is how he would ink himself. We just know it.
Auburn: War Eagle Tramp Stamp
The faux pas count with this mistake is at no fewer than three:
This is a tramp stamp tattoo. Ink in this position always leaves itself open to “criticism.” This is a tramp stamp on a guy. If you’re going to ignore faux pas Nos. 1 and 2, at least get the rallying cry of your team in a more inspiring font.
This probably seemed like a great idea in 2010 as Auburn was about to embark on a BCS title-winning season. Now, with Gene Chizik on the hot seat, not so much.
Alabama: Room for More
The thing with tattoos is that they’re normally hard to update in accordance with new life events. Richie from Dauphin Island, AL, found a way around that.
Richie’s leg art has a picture of Big Al’s face above numerous elephant’s feet, each of which contains the year of an Alabama national title. (We assume that it has been updated to include the Tide’s 2011 championship since this original photo was taken.)
Those elephant’s feet, however, look like something a second-grader could draw. Word to the wise: Don’t waste your money on a tattoo of something that a second-grader could draw. It’s not worth it.
Kentucky: Bleed Blue
In 2010, a Wildcats fan approached “Mike the Freak” at Atomic Tattoo Shop in Clearwater, FL and asked for something that would show devotion to Kentucky.
“Mike the Freak” went literal, deciding to show that the fan “bleeds blue” for UK.
If you look closely, you’ll see blue droplets of blood seeping from the wound opened up on this man’s upper left chest (perhaps a wildcat wound?). The blood/skin details are pretty impressive, as is the shadowing used on the UK logo below/within it.
Chances are excellent that, if this fan has attended a Wildcats game shirtless, at least one other patron in the stands has asked him if he was injured and in need of assistance.
LSU: “Geaux” and “No”
This is a story of two tattoos saluting the Bayou Bengals.
In the outrageous-yet-original department we have the right bicep tattoo in the upper half of the frame. A tiger’s claw is seemingly reaching out of his arm, tearing away the flesh. And the “S” in “LSU” is replaced with the Superman logo, a nice nod to former LSU star Shaquille O’Neal’s fixation with the superhero.
His bald-headed fellow Tigers fan, on the other hand, was just lazy. Or cheap. Or both. He had the LSU athletic department’s standard logo stamped onto the back of his head, without color.
The first tattoo psyches us up. The second one looks like letterhead.
South Carolina: Cock of the Walk
When you compare this to the actual Gamecocks logo, the attention to detail is pretty stunning. The tattoo artist even accounted for the two feathers coming out of the bird’s plumage at the top.
But then there’s what Cocky Talk commentor reddot8481 pointed out after this was posted in October 2009: What’s up with the tail? If this fan really wanted a yin-yang tattoo, he had many other places on his body where he could have placed it.
Tennessee: Far From (Rocky) Top-Notch
Tyler Bray’s “name in lights” tattoo running across his back up by his shoulders was at least original and colorful. Neither of those descriptors applies to the subpar effort by this Vols fan.
The whole “if a child can draw it, don’t get it” tattoo principle laid out earlier in this slideshow applies again. And having “University” run by itself above the “T” and “of Tennessee” below it is just an awkward separation of words.
That said, we’re not suggesting this fan consult Bray for tattoo advice. If he wants a player’s input, he should go with former Vol Malik Jackson.
LSU: Bleeding for the Bayou Bengals
At first glance, the size of the tattooed tiger’s claw cutting into the shoulder of this man looks scaled to actual size. It looks at least as big as a placekicker’s shoulder pads.
The same principle of the aforementioned Kentucky tattoo applies here, too. If you cut him, this fan literally bleeds LSU’s purple and gold. (For further proof of his devotion to the state of Louisiana, look no further than the fleur de lis pattern below his left arm pit.)
Also, we guess that the Bayou Bengal is a special breed of tiger with purple claws.
Two things we wonder: Wouldn’t your own favorite team’s mascot killing you suck? And couldn’t this individual find a better tattoo artist? It looks like he tatted himself.
Ohio State: Bathroom Break
We’re sensing a theme here with Ohio State fans: A good Buckeyes tattoo has to denigrate the University of Michigan in some form.
Instead of beastiality or choking a Wolverine, this Buck Nut decided to go with a tat of Brutus urinating onto the head of a Michigan football player. Hey, at least Brutus had the decency not to exposure himself while going to the bathroom.
Ole Miss: Colonel Reb Returns
Colonel Reb was retired as Ole Miss’ mascot in 2003 over concerns it was a racist mascot.
That doesn’t seem to bother this Ole Miss fan that has a massive Colonel Reb tattooed on his bicep. Further shunning political correctness, the tattoo of Colonel Reb has his own tattoo with the Confederate flag on Reb’s bicep.
We’re guessing this fan won’t be getting a tattoo of the new mascot, the “Rebel Black Bear”, on his other bicep.
Clemson: Head Strong
A recently arrested man, presumably in South Carolina, had a Clemson Tiger paw logo tattooed on the side of his head that paired very nicely with his orange jumpsuit.
Don’t get ahead of yourselves, South Carolina fans. Gamecocks diehards aren’t immune from this body ink choice, either.