The NFL has some of the most passionate sports fan throughout the country, and many NFL teams have claimed that their fans are truly the best of them all. While it is easy to be an enthusiastic fan when your team is successful, which NFL fans remain just as enthusiastic even in the years when their team is struggling?
In order to answer this question, we created a loyalty metric through analyzing a variety of indicators of fan loyalty including home game attendance, travel game attendance, merchandise sales and TV ratings while adjusting for metro population. This data was then compared against the team’s records each year to determine how fan enthusiasm varies with team success. So then, which teams actually have some hard evidence to back up their statement that they are the most loyal fans in the NFL? Check out which teams made the Top Ten for the NFL’s Most Loyal Fan Bases:
1. Green Bay Packers
According to Forbes, Green Bay is the NFL’s smallest market with a metro population of over 300,000. Not a remarkably huge market, but did you know that only 16 percent of that population are NOT Green Bay fans (or “cheeseheads”). The Packers also have social media on their side with over 4 million backers on Facebook and over 700,000 on Twitter. Of course, it also helps that the Packers have an NFL record of 13 championships, easily making them #1 in the eyes of the league when it comes to having the best fandom around.
2. New England Patriots
The Patriots are arguably one of the best major sports teams in North America, right up there with the Yankees. Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have carried the team to one of the best 14-year winning percentages (.759), second only to the Bears (.767) and the 49ers (.760). With four championship wins, the Patriots have cultivated a massive following of loyal fans donning their blue and silver face paint (or war paint) and pseudo-colonial attire. These people know how to party and, whether it’s in victory or defeat, their passion-fueled revelries become the stuff of legend.
3. New Orleans Saints
It’s easy to admire a fan base that has endured as much adversity both on and off the field. Even after the devastation wrought by Katrina, Saints fans continue to show up in droves at the Superdome. You can recognize them by their gold and black body paint, often accompanied by the famous fan chant “Who Dat” scrawled across their chests. Many fans attribute the “revival” of Saints fandom in the wake of such natural disaster to Drew Brees – a man who helped inspire one of the most loyal (and, perhaps, rowdiest) fan bases in the league.
4. Denver Broncos
People love the Broncos and their fandom extends well beyond the Rockies. Think Antarctica. Broncos fans are some of the most spirited around, and it takes more than a little snow to keep them from the game. Fans love the Broncos and, turns out, the Broncos love their fans. For the last couple of years, the Denver Broncos have been touring the state of Colorado in their Salute to Fans Tour. Their visits include a variety of locations and feature autograph and photo opportunities with Broncos players, cheerleaders, and the Mascot “Miles.”
5. Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys fans don’t mess around when it comes to showing their love for the game both on and off the field. Fans of the Cowboys extend well beyond Texas to include chapters in California, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, Virginia, and even some in the DC area – all proudly donning their over-sized cowboy hats and silver paint. While the #1 spot for best fans seems to go to Green Bay for the sheer passion those cheeseheads demonstrate, no one pays more to see their favorite team in action than the Cowboy fans. At least, according to a recent study…
6. Baltimore Ravens
Ever since the first Friday of the 2011 NFL regular season, the Baltimore Ravens fans have donned their violet best to engage in something known as “Purple Friday”. It happens every Friday during the NFL season and has exploded into more than just hashtags and Instagram uploads. Entire events are built around this occasion and the Purple Caravan, often staffed by cheerleaders and playmakers, make their rounds – spreading the purple pride.
7. Seattle Seahawks
How many fandoms do you know that cause small earthquakes with the sheer force of the collective presence? Which team has fans that can break the Guinness World Record for loudest sporting event? None other than the fans of the Seattle Seahawks, of course. Lime green wigs, blue face paint, and huge bird heads are the telltale signs of the fan base that stopped their way to a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake when the Saints were defeated in 2014. A fan base whose stadium reached 137.6 decibels making CenturyLink Field the loudest place to play in the NFL.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers fans are known for stealing the scene and invading the bleachers when it comes to watching their favorite team play. Their devotion to the team is so great that they are widely considered one of the most traveled fan bases in the league. Another show of loyalty on the part of this intense fandom is the fact that they have easily bought out over 330 straight home games. Just to give you an idea why that’s so significant: NFL teams usually play eight home games per year in a regular reason. This means that Steelers fans have bought out all possible home games for over 40 years.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
Say what you want about some of the rowdier exploits surrounding the Chiefs, the fact is that some truly remarkable people count themselves fans. Paul Rudd of recent Ant-Man fame is a Chiefs fan…when he’s not too busy hosting the Big Slick fundraiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Brad Pitt is also a Chiefs fan along with David Cook who you might remember from his success on American Idol. He also sang the national anthem before a game, FYI. That’s a lot of star power in one fandom!
10. Indianapolis Colts
As we’ve already seen, the proliferation of social media can greatly expand the fanbase of any team, often exceeding their local population. Having star power like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck doesn’t hurt either. Of course, those aren’t the only reasons the Colts made this list. The term “12th man” is often thrown around in football, but what it actually refers to is the fans themselves. In any league game there is a maximum of 11 players on the field per team…with the 12th being one of the most pivotal – the fans. The Indianapolis Colts value their fans so much that they even inducted them into the Ring of Honor – a prestigious honor for the best coaches and players – as the 12th Man. How’s that for super fandom?