The breakout star of the Sugar Bowl was this Ohio State fan, who was shown on ESPN giving the guy next to her a neck rub until before abruptly stopping and looking around awkwardly.
Video of the fan went viral, and somewhere along the way people on the internet speculated that she had been caught cheating.
Initially, a popular interpretation was this: She was giving the guy a neck rub when she saw that she was on national TV. After she realised she’d been caught cheating in front of millions of people, that strange, guilty reaction came across her face.
The Vine, which has been looped more than 23 million times, is captioned, “When you’re at the game with your side dude and realise you’re on TV.”
The first problem with this theory is that she wasn’t caught cheating. That guy is her boyfriend, according to Gawker’s Sam Biddle.
The second problem is that she couldn’t have realised she was on national TV. The ESPN broadcast isn’t on inside the Superdome, the stadium’s general manager Alan Freeman told BI.
The video that’s on the video boards inside the Superdome is run by an in-house production team that’s independent from ESPN. ESPN has access to that feed and can cut to it at any time, but they are two separate operations.
So we have to rule out any theory that says she reacted the way she did because she knew millions of people just saw her give the guy a neck rub. She never saw herself on ESPN.
HOWEVER, there’s still plausible evidence that she knew she was being observed on some level.
1. It’s possible that the in-house video feed cut to her and she was on the jumbotron. The Little Kid On The Left, for example, might be telling the guy behind him that he’s on the jumbotron toward the beginning of the Vine:
But other than that, there’s not much evidence that the people in this section were on the jumbotron. There was none of the customary waving you see when people are on the jumbotron, and the collective gaze of the crowd isn’t directed in any one particularly direction.
2. It’s also possible that she saw the camera man filming her, like other fans in her section did. In the full-length video the Guy In The Black Sweatshirt appears to point at the cameraman:
There’s also This Other Guy, who gives the camera guy the double thumbs up:
It should be noted that she never looks at the cameraman, though.
Ultimately, it’s possible that she reacted the way she did because she saw herself on the jumbotron, but then again she couldn’t have known that anyone outside of that building could see her. It’s also possible that she saw a camera pointed at her, but then again she couldn’t have known she was on live TV.
Why does Guilty-Looking Ohio State Fan look so guilty?
It’s not because she saw herself on ESPN. We know that much.
This Vine is not what it seems.
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