/r/NFL has quickly become the best sports discussion forum on the web

With another NFL season coming to a close, I have to say, this was one of the best.

No, not because of the Ravens winning; a team that I’m relatively impartial toward.

No, not because the Hawks look like they’ve really formed a complete Superb Owl contending team for at least the next season or two, especially with the reincarnation of Christ as their QB.

courtesy of Grantland

And certainly nothing to do with my fantasy football performance, as I ended up at or near the cellar in every league I was in this year. Thanks a lot to a complete cluster of unpredictable run games.

So what made this season the best?

It was actually mostly due to my joining /r/NFL on reddit at the recommendation of another friend after I had complained how absolutely terrible the comments section was on most major sport sites.

At first glance it looks like your average subreddit, with minimal design and customization. However, if you spend a few minutes poking through comment threads and weekly scheduled posts, you’ll quickly realize that this is one of the best moderated and “fan-owned” forums on the web. With everyone allowed to select their team’s “flair,” it’s easy to see the flow of conversation and understand the reasoning behind what is being said.

I feel that a successful subreddit must meet a few requirements:

  • Good moderation that isn’t overbearing
  • Dedicated membership
  • A self-policing audience

/r/NFL meets all of these things and more.

A few examples:

  • Weekly trash-talk threads allow people to let it all hang out to dry. These threads are dedicated to all the comments one might harbor in a room full of family and friends while watching Sunday’s best. Eventually, they need to be dumped somewhere, and these threads allow for that to happen.
  • Weekly betting threads that are more just for shits and giggles. People bet all sorts of crazy stuff, sometimes resulting in embarrassing photos, donations to charities or renouncing your favorite team for a week. I wouldn’t risk not following through either, as it’s likely you’ll get called out in the following week.
  • Each game has it’s own thread where the conversation is focused to avoid hundreds of threads starting surrounding the same topic.
  • There is relatively little flaming between members. While little squabbles break out from time to time, they’re very rarely the focal point of any major discussions in the forum.

If you’re anywhere near as big of a football fan as me, I highly suggest you subscribe.

So until next year…. here’s a 35 minute highlight reel of the 2012 season:

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