In the United States, football is by far the most prominent and popular sport. Every Sunday (and some Saturdays) from September to January, most Americans wake up with excitement and eagerness. Watching NFL games and rooting for a favorite team is part of American tradition. On average, NFL games tend to get 18 million viewers and the big games are consistently the most watched broadcasts every year. The next most popular league in America, the NBA, only gets around 1.8 million viewers per game. Considering how important football is to America, FanWide has decided to create its own ranking of the top 10 NFL franchises. Using FanWide’s unique data, this top 10 list includes the amount of Fan Clubs each team has around the nation. FanWide has evaluated all 32 NFL teams across both the AFC and the NFC. The top 10 teams have been successful in recent seasons as well as throughout history. They all have their fair share of Lombardi Trophies and are all considered “NFL Elites” relative to the rest of the league. In addition, all 10 NFL teams are big market teams with large and loyal fan bases. Due to their consistent prowess, every football player growing up wants to play for these 10 teams. These teams are considered the tip of the top and have succeeded for decades on and off the field.
Current Rankings (check here periodically to see the updated list):
10. Seattle Seahawks
FanWide Fan Clubs:
Fan clubs are a unique measure of fan loyalty. FanWide is interesed in adding this component to their data because it shows how great of an effect the NFL team has on their fanbase. In addition, the amount of fan clubs each team has shows how spirited and prideful each NFL fan base is. This unique data allows for a more accurate depiction of each team’s popularity.
Aggregate Social Media Followers:
NFL franchises have started to use social media as a platform to build connections with their fans and increase fan interest. FanWide uses the number of followers each NFL team has on their Instagram and Twitter page, and the number of likes each team has on Facebook, as a way to determine how popular each NFL team is.
The value of each NFL team is based off of multiple factors such as stadium value, revenue and operating income from the 2017 season and revenue from non-NFL events such as events and concerts (if they won the stadium). FanWide will use the Forbes value of each NFL team to identify which teams are more profitable based off of the characteristics listed above.
National Games Televised in 2019:
The NFL only televised a select number of games nationally. Because of this, the games that are broadcasted to the country are often between teams that the NFL believes are the most popular or successful at the time. Nationally televised games increase fan interest and team popularity because they allows fans from different locations to still have to access to watch the games. In short, teams with nationally televised games are teams that are popular in the present and have potential to gain even more popularity in the future.
Playoff Wins (past 10 NFL seasons) (Data weighted half):
Recent playoff success, even if it doesn’t culminate in a championship, is still an important indicator of team success. Not all successful NFL seasons end with a Lombardi Trophy. When demonstrating team success on the field, FanWide did not want to penalize recently successful teams for not winning Super Bowls. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the past 10 NFL Seasons, have continuously contended for Super Bowls without ever actually winning one. It is important to include in the data, teams such as the Chiefs who have found plenty of success recently without winning the Super Bowl.
Playoff Wins (all time) (Data weighted half):
The amount of playoff wins each NFL team has all time measures the success of each team in the past. In addition, playoff victories tend to increase team popularity. For instance, teams who have encountered great success in the past have been able to attract more fans. FanWide included this data in their metrics in order to show the correlation between historic success and fan population.
Super Bowl Wins (past 10 NFL seasons) (Data weighted half):
Super Bowl victories show more than just how successful an NFL team is. It shows what NFL team’s are able to close out games and what franchises has players that perform their best when the game is on the line. This is what separates good teams from great teams. For instance, the New England Patriots have the most clutch player in the NFL, Tom Brady. It is no coincidence that the Patriots have won three super bowls in the past 10 years while no other team has won more than one. FanWide used the results of the past 10 super bowls in order to determine which teams have been the most dominant.
Super Bowl Wins (all-time) (Data weighted half):
The amount of Super Bowl victories a team has is the number one indicator of how successful a team has been. In addition, NFL victories tend to increase fan popularity due to the added exposure from each Super Bowl game. For instance, the average NFL Super Bowl game gains over 100 million viewers. This amount of viewership increases the amount of fans an NFL team has. The amount of Super Bowl wins a team has all time is weighted half as much as the other categories in FanWide’s data.
Number of All-Stars (Past 10 Years):
Stars players help top teams build success on the field and contribute to the increase in fan interest and popularity off of it. Players such as Quarterback Tom Brady, Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald, and Wide Receiver Antonio Brown have been dominating their respective positions ever since they entered the league. It is no coincidence that these teams have also been successful throughout these players’ careers. Star players also are very important for spreading team popularity and increasing commercial sales. From a fans’ perspective, star players excite the fan base and give people a reason to watch the games during stretches when the team is not performing well. The NFL Pro Bowl and All-Pro awards is made up of the best players in the NFL at each respected position. FanWide used the number of how many players made the Pro Bowl and were selected as All-Pro players in the past 10 years as a way to measure the caliber of players across all NFL teams and the success attached to these particular players.
Number of Hall of Famers:
Hall of Famers represent an NFL team’s success on and off the field throughout a franchise’s history. Similar to All-Star players, Hall of Famers carried their respected team towards victory and also increased the amount of fan interest demonstrated on any particular team. The main difference between All-Stars and Hall of Famers is that Hall of Famers represent more of a team’s success in the past than in the present. FanWide used the amount of players inducted into the Hall of Fame from each team in order to measure the success of a particular team and their popularity in the past.
Attendance (per NFL game) (Data weighted half):
FanWide used the average attendance per game of each team as a way to measure team popularity. From this data, FanWide was able to determine which franchises were able to attract more fans to their games. This data also correlates with the success of the team and the size of the market that the team plays in. For instance, teams with winning records that are in the playoff hunt tend to be more successful in attracting fans to their games. In addition, teams that play in bigger markets such as Dallas and New York also on average have a larger fan attendance at their home games.
Attendance (percentage of stadium filled) (Data weighted half):
While FanWide’s data includes the average amount of fans at each home, it also includes the average percentage of stadium filled for every home game. It essential to include both categories in FanWide’s data because the percentage of stadium filled allows teams with smaller stadiums to show how loyal their fan base is. Although the stadium may not be large, the percentage of stadium filled indicates fan interest while removing stadium’s size constraints.
The NFL is a sport like no other in the United States. The NFL brings in millions of fans for each game and generates over 100 million viewers for the Super Bowl. What makes it so difficult to identify the top 10 NFL teams is that every franchise has at some point enjoyed success, and each team has a fanbase that brings something special and unique to the table. Because of this, FanWide decided to incorporate all aspects of NFL teams. FanWide’s data consist of both success on and off the field, specifically focusing on each teams’ market size, historic success, recent success, and popularity. Because of this, the top 10 NFL teams are among the most prominent and successful teams in the National Football League. In order to make the most accurate list possible, FanWide made some aspects listed above worth more than other categories. For instance, the categories that are worth half as much of the others are: playoff wins (past 10 years), playoff wins (all time), Super Bowl wins (past 10 years), and Super Bowl wins (all time). FanWide made these four categories worth less than the others, because we believed that these four categories are very similar to each other and we did not want to make one factor of the top 10 list worth more than the others. In the coming weeks, FanWide will be rolling out the top ten, building up to the reveal of the #1 NFL team.
Follow the top 10 rankings on social media: @FanWide