FAD: Football Affective Disorder – Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

FAD: Football Affective Disorder - Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment

Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

FAD: Football Affective Disorder – Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

I am convinced I have FAD, also known as Football Affective Disorder. It occurs when your football team is finished playing for the season. I first noticed it when I was coaching football; I would become depressed for about a month after the season as I readjusted back into non-football life. And now that FBS football is done for the season, I am feeling the effects of FAD, again. So, I am curious if others suffer from this same disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Football Affective Disorder (FAD) fans experience depression coinciding with the post-football season. Bowl season is over.  The playoffs are over.  We are still in a pandemic so we do not know what is going to happen with Spring football.  Teams are still making moves with new coaches trying to get their staff hired.  So, that is always some fun drama to watch.  Right now South Carolina cannot seem to hang on to any assistant coaches.  Auburn has snagged more than one of its assistants away.  As your school makes staff changes take time to google and find out more about your new staff.

Symptoms of FAD

  • Feeling depressed nearly every day for the first month in the postseason.
  • Feeling lost with no weekend game activities to look forward to.
  • Wearing your gameday lucky outfit as often as possible trying to recapture the joy of game day.
  • Rewatching DVR’d games at least once a day.
  • Having problems getting excited about other sports.
  • Experiencing changes in your voices, which has finally recovered from a season of cheering.
  • Having frequent thoughts of the 2021 season and hoping you can make travel plans.
  • Reading all the recruiting information you can.

Risk Factors

Attributes that may increase your risk of FAD include:

  • Being an alumnus: FAD is diagnosed four times as often.
  • Being a parent: FAD is hard for the parents of players as well. They invest so much of their time into the season. Their saving grace is having other kids involved in other sports during the football offseason.
  • Family history. People with a family history of fandom are more likely to develop FAD than people who do not have a family history of fandom.
  • Living far from the team. FAD is more frequent in people who live farther away from their team. 2020 didn’t allow for travel to see your favorite team play.  So, that itch to go to a football game is at an all-time high. Did you ever think you would miss the weekly travel that left you exhausted at the end of the football season?

Treatments and Therapies

There are FIVE major types of treatment for FAD:

  • DVR: LOTS of DVR’d football games from the season or even the last few seasons.
  • Conference Specific Networks: They are replaying football games.
  • Countdown: Start a countdown to kickoff for next season. Watching the number dwindle is oddly satisfying.
  • Bandwagon: Pick a team in the FCS and hop on its bandwagon.
  • Recruiting: Check out your team’s new signees.  This should help ease some of the FAD symptoms.

These may be used alone or in combination.


You know you have the past season saved on your DVR. As well as the last several seasons.  Watch as many games as possible. Have them on in the background as you do stuff around the house. The sounds of your team playing will help soothe you.  Those games will start to fill the emptiness you are feeling. Only watch the games your team WON. This will help fill the void faster.

Conference Specific Networks

Now is the time to invest in the sports package with your tv provider if you haven’t already. The ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and The Longhorns all have their own networks.  There is a multitude of old games on that you can watch, DVR, and rewatch.  This will help you survive FAD.  You will even get to watch Spring football games *fingers crossed* we get Spring football games.


With the invention of smartphones, there is an app for everything. There are several countdown apps. Pick your favorite and start a countdown to kick-off for the first game next season. Also, start a countdown to spring football. This will be a guesstimate, but start a countdown until your team announces their Spring schedule. You can readjust as needed. It is very satisfying to watch the day’s countdown.

FCS Bandwagon

With 2020 being such a weird year.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 canceling football then ultimately deciding to play.  The FCS  season has moved to this Spring.  You have a chance to see a whole new set of teams and hop on some bandwagons.  Might be fun to have Spring football games. Read more about the Spring FCS season HERE.


Don’t forget to follow your team’s new players on Twitter and Instagram. Watch their highlight reels on Hudl. You can overanalyze where you think they will make the biggest impact on your team in the 2021 season. This is a godsend for fans who suffer from FAD.

Keep Your Head Up

If you are experiencing any one or a combination of these symptoms, you could be suffering from FAD. Although it is not a life-threatening disease, it is a serious disorder that affects your life. Your friends may or may not understand your depression. They might laugh at you as you work through your FAD treatments. You have to keep pushing through. Read up on the FCS schedule.  Check out your new head and assistant coaches.  Be sure to get to know your new signees.  You survived the 2020 season.  You can handle anything.