Matt Neely, the Tennessee Titans superfan and “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcaster, has died at the age of 31. Neely’s girlfriend, Chelsea Hornsby, confirmed the sad news on Twitter on October 10.
Hornsby tweeted, “It’s with the heaviest of hearts to let you all know that @mattneely_ has passed away. The cause is unknown at the time but I will give everyone funeral and visitation details as soon as I know them. He cared about y’all more than you know. #69 #soulmate.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tennessee Native Jalen Ramsey Was Among Those Paying Their Respects to Neely
Neely had been a producer and star on the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast along with Taylor Lewan and Will Compton. Compton posted a message on Instagram on October 11 that read, “It’s with heavy heart to inform you that one of our own, Matt Neely, has passed away. This is truly a sad time for the boys. Everyone knows Matt loved being a part of this community. You all meant the world to him and this fan base he helped create. We love you Matt. Rest in Peace.” That message was also posted on the podcast’s official Instagram page. Among those who paid their respects on Compton’s Instagram post was Tennessee native and Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
In a tweet, Compton said that he was “absolutely crushed” to hear of Neely’s death. Compton went on, “I’m so fortunate to have grown close to him while we were building @BussinWTB. This has been tough to process and I’m sad I won’t get to talk to my boy again.” While Taylor Lewan tweeted, “Hate to hear the news about our @mattneely_ the guy was truly a great person and loved the @titans more than anyone I knew. @BussinWTB will miss you Matt. Love you brother! #69 #DontGiva #NoBadDays.”
2. A Fellow Titans Superfan Said Neely ‘Took Nothing & Everything Serious All at Once’
The Tennessee Titans official Twitter account paid tribute to Neely. Famous Titans superfan Matt Smith wrote a Medium blog in tribute to Neely. Smith wrote in part, “shined the right kind of light in all the right places to keep things fun online. He made me a better fan.” Smith said that in private message conversations with Neely, he found Neely to be “a vulnerable guy who wore his heart on his digital sleeve. He took nothing and everything serious all at once.”
Neely’s last Instagram post came on October 8. One fan paid tribute to Neely in a comment under that post writing, “You will be missed. Thanks for all of the memes. You’ll always be with us. #titans #69.”
3. Neely Was a Superfan & Fan of the ‘Bussin’ With the Boys’ Podcast Before He Was Hired to Work on it
Neely’s fandom was covered by USA Today in August 2019. The article had noted that Neely had been a fan of the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast before he became a member of the team. Neely said that he answered a job advertisement that Will Compton had posted on Twitter. Neely said, “I saw Will Compton had posted it on Twitter, and then I decided to get creative. In the past, I was unemployed, and I used the hashtag ‘Hire Matt Neely’ and then it just kind of organically came back up. So, it just kind of seemed like a perfect landing spot. So I made a video for them, submitted my resume. And then I interviewed, and I didn’t mess that up.”
4. Neely Referred to Titans Controlling Owner Amy Adams Strunk as His Mother
The USA Today article notes that Neely had previously referred to Titans controlling owner as his mother Amy Adams Strunk. Neely said that when he went for an interview with the podcast team he wasn’t nervous as he felt like the job, creating funny Titans related content, was something he had already been doing for free. Neely said, “The content I was making seemed like a perfect match. I felt more confident then than I feel most of the time in my life.” Neely said that he is inspired by his co-hosts and learned that with his media role, he couldn’t just talk trash on the internet anymore.
5. Neely Referred to Titans’ Subreddit Users as the Team’s Best Fans
Heartbreakingly, Neely said that he had previously been a pessimist “about a lot of things” prior to joining the podcast team. Neely said he was a “happier person overall” since joining “Bussin’ With the Boys.” Neely added, “It feels like I’ve got more of a purpose now, just being an internet person, and hopefully I can spread some of the things they’ve taught me about being positive and good work ethic.” Neely went on to say that the best Titans fans were those who were active on the team’s subreddit page.