Have you ever been to a sporting event, seen someone wearing an unexpected jersey, and wondered to yourself what could possibly have compelled them to take it out of their closet and wear it to that particular event? So have we.
To be clear, your reaction doesn’t necessarily have to be positive or negative. But you still have a reaction. Maybe it’s respect. Maybe it’s bewilderment. Maybe it’s frustration at the realization of your pet peeve.
Nonetheless, when you see someone wearing an Evgeni Malkin jersey at an Atlanta Hawks vs. Los Angeles Lakers game, a Hunter Pence jersey at a contest between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, or a Gus Frerotte jersey at a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees rivalry matchup, you can’t help but think to yourself: “That was a choice.”
As you may have guessed, the metric stands for “That Was a Choice,” and it’s our way of quantifying the inexplicable jersey choices made by fans in attendance at any sporting event. It also hinges on you. We want you to send pictorial evidence of the standout choices you see at any games you attend to @SportsMathNet on Twitter, allowing us to grade them and build an all-time leaderboard of the highest TWAC scores known to humankind.
The idea originated when site founder Adam Fromal and friend of the site Jacob Bourne attended a Feb. 4, 2022 game between the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans in Ball Arena. From the upper rafters, they spotted someone walking by in an Atlanta Hawks Spud Webb jersey and were instantly befuddled. Suddenly, the basketball was happening in the background. The jersey search was on.
We’re choosing to keep the exact calculations behind the curtain, but we will tell you which factors come into play during our quantification process:
- Relationship to the home or away team
- Whether the sport is the same as the one being played at the attended game
- Whether it’s a college or professional jersey
- Number of years spent in the home or away city
- Number of years that have passed since wearing the jersey
- Time spent in the jersey
- Number of All-Star appearances
- Whether they’re a GOAT candidate (subjectively determined)
- Whether they’re a current rookie
- Whether that specific jersey has been retired
- Number of eBay search results for that jersey as a measure of availability
- Number of Google search results for that jersey as a measure of popularity
That Spud Webb jersey had a TWAC of 276.2. Can you beat it while adhering to our honor code of only submitting pictures of jerseys worn by people you don’t know?
twacking tracking, everyone.