The Washington Redskins are the most popular team in the galaxy.
Or so they say.
As Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post relayed Wednesday, the team wrote in a recent report that there were “7,845,460,401 unique visitors of print/online coverage of the 2014 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp from July 24-Aug. 12."
Steinberg followed that up with a number from the U.S. Census Bureau that estimates Earth’s population to be around 7.26 billion people.
Seems suspicious, right? Well, kind of.
The number itself is accurate, but Steinberg went on to explain why it isn't quite as impressive as it sounds at first glance:
What’s going on here? As with last season, the Redskins and their monitoring partners are using some strange definitions, definitions I can’t say I’ve seen other people use. “Unique viewers/visitors,” according to this report, provides “a unique and accurate count of the number of people visiting any content of a website in a given period of time, accounting for any possible duplication as a result of cookie deletion, cookie rejection or IP address changes.” “Hits,” according to this report, are “the amount of articles published on a search topic from any given source in the specified period of time.”
The team also explained that each article accrues the total unique visitor count of each site on which it appears. As an example, “if six articles on ESPN.com contain the specified search terms within the specified timeframe, the website’s unique visitor count (and accompanying value) is multiplied by six.” Fifteen Redskins articles on our site would credit the Richmond coverage with our millions of Washington Post unique visitors, times 15.
Editor's note: The original version of this article failed to take into account that the unique visitors number was so large because of the method used to calculate it. We regret the error.