When you think of Buffalo, NY several things tend to come to mind. The origin of the chicken wing, our nearby proximity to one of the natural wonders of the world, the massive amounts of snow we supposedly have gotten every winter since 1977 & lastly our inability to be good at sports. I however have noticed a new trend of late for which I think our fair city should be recognized. A tremendous increased presence on Twitter in the sports parody account department. Seriously, over the past year more and more of these accounts have begun popping up to the point where I thought it was time someone finally wrote about this social media phenomenon.
It’s hard to pinpoint why Buffalo of all places. My first guess is an obvious one… we love our sports. My second hypothesis is that it’s often easier to mock someone or something when they’re not successful at what they do. With that criteria in mind perhaps our fan base is in fact the perfect parody haven. Years of torture have conceivably culminated in a release of sorts with Twitter accounts that use humor to highlight certain players or management’s not so funny faults. The problem is when one account finds that perfect balance of comedy and sports intellect everyone and their mother assumes they can do it. As I’m sure most of us who use Twitter can attest, that is far from the case. I think it’s time we realized that creating a successful parody account takes skill, a proper theme and a whole lot of time. Aka not everyone can do it.
The part that I find so captivating requires us to delve a bit deeper. Who is this mysterious person behind the account? Perhaps it’s your best friend who has never told a soul. Maybe it’s your Mom or Dad who pretend they still can barely open their AOL email. Better yet it could be one of the players or upper level management operating under these parody aliases, I mean who better to poke fun at then a teammate or coach? The point is we don’t know who it is and probably never will. For crying out loud we at Buffalo Wins have a parody account on our staff! The possibilities are endless…
In order to give this column some good old substance I went through and created a “Buffalo Sports Parody Account” Twitter list, which I encourage you to check out. The thing that surprised me the most was the uneven balance between Bills and Sabres faux personas. Perhaps we can chalk it up to the fact that the Sabres have more recently flirted with success, but 30 out of the 31 accounts I included on this list were Sabres related. Now of course I didn’t put every single account out there on this list. I tried to only include accounts that had somewhat of a decent sized following or had been active in the past year. With those prerequisites in mind, the ONLY Bills account I found was “Angry Doug Marrone” who just tweeted for this first time on July 30th. So much for being a football town huh?
I think hockey is an easier target for a parody superstar wanabee because the players are more easily identifiable as individuals. When we think of football it is really the ultimate team sport. A 53-man roster vs. a 23-man roster in hockey. Plus for half the game we can barely see a football players face… Regardless, around here Sabres coaches, players & media personalities are the impersonation of choice. The big question is with 30 different accounts floating around how do you know which one’s to follow? Since this is a sports blog, I went ahead and broke down the accounts into several categories for your reading pleasure. These rankings are strictly based on my opinions, which is just another way of saying they’re right.
Superstars (The accounts with the biggest followings and best material. There’s a reason they are the epitome of excellent parody accounts.)
1) Lindy Ruff’s Tie (@LindyRuffsTie): The biggest fear for any sports related parody account is that the player or coach you’re imitating will leave the team that they are associated with. Think about it, you live in Buffalo and start an account based on a popular coach that has been with the team forever. Everything is going peachy keen and then after 15 years that coach gets the axe. Now what? Well in the case of Lindy Ruff’s Tie not much has changed. Despite the man behind the tie taking a gig with the Dallas Stars, this parody account has found a way to stay relevant in the 716. With great hockey knowledge, his (or her) own website & an uncomfortably awesome obsession with Marcus Foligno, Lindy Ruff’s Tie is a must follow.
2) Fake Darcy (@FakeDarcy): Similar to the previous account, Darcy Regier has been a staple of Buffalo Sabres hockey since he was hired as GM in 1997. When you represent a guy that is maligned as much as Darcy is, chances are you have quite a bit of content to work with on the parody level. To be transparent this is the account that is affiliated with us over at Buffalo Wins, however I’ve been following him long before my time with the site. With accolades like Artvoice’s 2012 Best of Buffalo Twitter feed & 2013 Trending Buffalo Trendee, this parody account seemingly has more hardware than the real Darcy himself.
3) John Scott (@RealJohnScott): Being the Sabres brute enforcer it only makes sense that big John Scott’s parody account would include copious amounts of profanity, numerous references to alcohol and an unparalleled intimidation factor. With 6,515 followers (at the time of writing this article) Mr. Scott is officially the most followed account on the list. Guess that says a lot about what we enjoy here in the Queen City…
4) Sabres Jesus (@SabresJesus): When you’re a hockey team that has never won the Stanley Cup many would say your franchise is in desperate need of a “savior.” While we’re still waiting for the on ice version, off the ice and on Twitter we are all set. Quoting hockey’s biblical text and helping all us fans repent for some choice words for the opposition, Sabres Jesus is certainly in the upper echelon of parody accounts no matter your religion.
5) Angry Lindy (@AngryLindy): While Lindy’s Tie gets a lot of attention (and rightfully so) we can’t forget about this account. One reason I enjoy it so much is because of how seamless it is. Think about it, how many times did you ever see Lindy actually smile?
Up And Comers (The accounts that are new to the parody scene, but are making a push for greatness. Chances are you haven’t heard of all of them like our superstars so make sure to check them out.)
1) Marcus Foligno (@MarcusFolignHOE): We all know Marcus Foligno makes every teenage girl week in the knees and his parody account capitalizes on that tenfold. Without missing a beat this account is aimed at giving fan girls a taste of the real thing (although by the looks of some of the RT’s I think these girls are so blinded by love they don’t realize it is indeed a parody.) The only question I have is why Lindy Ruff’s Tie hasn’t found a way to catapult this account into superstar status yet??
2) Ryan Miller (@HipsterMiller30): If you’re a Sabres fan this account just shouts perfection. With perfectly quaffed hair, a Hollywood girlfriend and temper tantrums pitted against the mainstream media, Ryan Miller and “hipster” could be synonyms. My only concern is that with Millsie’s time running out with the Sabres, this account may not be around long enough to realize it’s full potential.
3) Professor Rolston (@ProfessrRolston): With Lindy given the boot midseason it was only natural that Ron Rolston would be given the parody account treatment. I admire those that went this route because of the unsure future that followed. Ron was hired on an interim basis so all of that hard work of creating a quality account could have gone to waste should he have not been given an extension. Lucky for the Professor everything worked out and this account is in line for it’s full first academic year heading Sabres University.
4) Not Rip (@Not_Rip): Rip Simonick has been working in the Sabres locker room since 1970. Despite being an integral part of the inner workings of the team as equipment manager, not many would think to honor him by creating a parody account… Only in Buffalo. Not Rip is always willing to lend his fellow parody accounts a helping hand and just seems like an all around good guy (if a make believe person can be good that is.)
Retired In The Rafters (Despite cutting ties with the franchise, these accounts are still actively involved in providing Sabres fans with quality entertainment.)
1) Jim Lorentz (@FakeJimLorentz): Before Harry Neale there was the great Jim Lorentz. While several RJ parody accounts have popped up over the years, none have done their former booth partner justice. A few years from now one or both of the Lindy accounts could join Mr. Lorentz in this prestigious company, but for now Jim Lorentz stands alone in the parody account rafters.
Thomas Vanek’s Stick (@TomVaneksStick)
Tyler Myers Fitness (@myers57fitness)
Ryan Miller (@Coward_Miller)
There you have it folks, my analysis of the Buffalo sports parody account landscape. This isn't to say the other 20 accounts on the list aren’t entertaining, but in my research these profiles just tickled my fancy a bit more than that rest. The fact I even took the time to research and rank parody accounts is a testament to just how far they’ve come in recent years (especially when you consider the Sabres official Twitter account acknowledges them every now and again.) Sure some accounts are irritating and reuse tired jokes over and over, but then again there are a lot of real people who do that too. We should be proud that Buffalo has become the Mecca of sports parody accounts. It just goes to show we care more than most fan bases about our teams (either that or we just have WAY too much time on our hands.) If nothing else I hope I’ve caused you to wonder a bit more about the enigmatic figure typing behind your favorite account… You never know, maybe it’s me.
Tweet of the Week:
— Jim (@jpq1999) July 31, 2013
Feel free to let me know if I missed your favorite parody account on my list or if you disagree with my rankings on Twitter at: @BradleyGelber