NFL Team Loyalty Ranks a Little Off


Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys fans holds a sign prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure everyone has read the poll virally making its way across the internet.  It shows the most “loyal and supportive” fanbases for each team.  It’s calculated, basically, on a combination of win/loss record, area population, median income and so on and so on to find which fans always show up.  What they got was a list teams that ranked in order from most loyal to least loyal.  It looks like this:

I’ll start by saying that I am not one to deny statistics.  I am a science student and I love facts and evidence.  But it is easy to get mixed up in what observational data actually says.  The Dallas Cowboys are ranked number one.  This basically means that the Cowboys home games are almost always sold out and at the same time, costs a butt-load.  The stands are always full no matter how horrible, how putrid, how ridiculous, and how much Tony Romo is your quarterback.  You can go to the Arctic Circle in Alaska and find a Cowboys fan.  Does that mean they are the most loyal?

NO! Of course not, it just means that they have mass appeal.  It means that they were branded unfairly “America’s Team” and every country boy, red blooded American that loves flags, BBQ, and Beer loves the Cowboys.  It means that there is so little to do in Dallas and the surrounding Texas area that fans would rather go to a game where the boys might win for  way more money than anyone should ever have to pay for a four hour event and way more than anyone should have to pay for a cup of beer and a hotdog.  I don’t consider that supportive, I consider that blind.  Very few people will rival my loyalty to the Falcons, but I’m not going to spend good money on a game that they have very little chance to win when I can stay at home and at least burry my head into a basket of wings. Too harsh?  Maybe, but I don’t care.

I’m not going to claim that the Falcons fans are more loyal than Giants fans or even Cowboys fans, but they aren’t 31 out of 32.  If the difference between how many tickets were sold for the upcoming 2013 games and how many tickets were sold in 2007 (for example) is what drove down the rank of Atlanta, the biggest hole in the study is how high Jacksonville is ranked.  They couldn’t sell out a game when they were good! (When was that?)They are at a constant amount of dismal ticket sales.  They have to build America’s largest jumbotron and play other games on it just to get fans to come to the games! If the Jaguars consistency sales are what keep them at 27, there is a problem with the means of collecting data.  My god, I went to Disney in Orlando and didn’t see a single Jaguars hat or shirt before I saw Texans, Vikings, and Browns apparel.

Probably the most apparent sign that this study doesn’t show the “Loyalty” of fan bases is where the Green Bay Packers are ranked.  At 14, the Packers should be right near the top.  The waiting list for season tickets in Green Bay is over 1,000 years.  The amount of loyalty and fandom in Green Bay is too hard to describe in words other than everyone in Wisconsin loves their packers like the first time you ever fell in love at all times no matter what.

Please tell me I’m not the only one that doesn’t find this study very amusing.