NFL Power Rankings: Who Has the Best Fan Base in the NFL Today?
The NFL is the most popular sport in America right now, and it's mainly because of how passionate the fans are about their teams.
The once-a-week game schedule makes every game an event, and the fans turn every game day into an unofficial holiday with tailgating and gatherings at homes and sports bars.
These rankings are based on several factors, but loyalty is the biggest one.
Starting at the bottom...
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars struggle to sell the stadium out even when they're doing well, and there's a lot of speculation this team may be on the move, possibly to be the next Los Angeles team no one in L.A. will care about either.
This is a bad fanbase, partially because this team is still relatively new, partially because they haven't had a lot of success and partially because Florida is just a bad state for professional football.
It's all SEC fans down there.
31. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are in a similar situation as the Jaguars in that they're a relatively new team that hasn't had a lot of success.
There is a growing base of loyal fans, though, so this kept the Panthers from being at the bottom.
30. Houston Texans
The Cowboys still are king in Texas, but the Texans have a very loyal following.
If the Texans can start stringing together a few successful seasons in a row, they might be able to sway some of the bandwagon fans over to their side.
29. Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals fans shouldn't be this low, but they are because of how many fans like to sell tickets to the opposing team's fans on game day.
In 2008, the local news stations were begging fans not to sell their tickets to Cowboys fans when Dallas came to town.
However, there is hope. The Cardinals have started to have some success, this season aside, and there now has been one full generation of children born in the Phoenix/Tucson area who grew up with the Cardinals playing in Arizona.
Expect this ranking to rise over the next few years. Right now there are still just too many transplanted fans in the Phoenix/Tucson area to rank them higher.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals fans haven't had much to cheer about since the early '90s, and to top it off, the team is even more horrible this year than anyone would've guessed. (Except me, I called this debacle in training camp.)
Cincinnati has always been a baseball town, and other than the Browns, they have no real rivals anyone gets excited for. Since the Browns have been pretty awful as well, it's not like that rivalry is considered for prime-time placement on the networks.
27. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams have been in St. Louis long enough to have had a lot of kids grow up with the Rams in town. Plus, the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 with Kurt Warner and the Greatest Show on Turf.
The Rams fell off the map a few years later, but there's renewed hope now that Sam Bradford is leading the team.
In the NFC West, anything is possible.
26. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have had wonderful fortune under head coach Jeff Fisher, and they always seem to be in the playoff race.
However, we'll have to go with ESPN's review on this one when they say the fans don't seem to come out when the going gets tough. We'll see how full the stadium is if the Titans continue their fade this season.
25. Miami Dolphins
The problem with Florida is that there are so many other things to do outside that sports end up taking a back seat to the beach.
To compound this problem, the Dolphins have struggled to field a good team since Dan Marino retired.
There has been renewed life since Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano rode into town, but that doesn't change the fact Miami Dolphins fans aren't as high on this list as a team that's been around this long should be.
24. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens fans out there are good ones, but being situated so close to Washington and Philadelphia, most of the super-fans were siphoned off.
Now the Ravens have been in Baltimore for 15 years, so they also could start rising up this list in the coming decade.
23. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons fans have been through a lot recently, and they are very happy Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner are leading them to the playoffs.
Of course, that's assuming those fans can tear themselves away from college football and Braves playoff runs.
Things are improving for Falcons fans, as having a good football team for more than a year or two breeds better fans.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers fans are pretty much guaranteed to have a good time at their games, even if the team is losing, which they've done a lot of in the recent past.
But not this year—the Bucs' fans have a lot more to believe in and cheer for now.
21. San Diego Chargers
Chargers fans fall into the same boat the Dolphins fans fall into—there's a lot to do outside in Southern California, even in the winter months.
However, the Chargers have been in the playoffs consistently over the last few years, and the fans are responding more and more to the team.
Now only if the Chargers could reward those fans with a Super Bowl.
20. Buffalo Bills
Bills fans are extremely loyal, and their tailgating parties are legendary, but the fact is they've lost one home game a year to Toronto.
The team has struggled throughout much of the last decade, and the team has come up in discussions about relocation.
19. Minnesota Vikings
If there's one thing Vikings fans were able to rally around, it was the firing of head coach Brad Childress.
This fanbase would be ranked higher in a smaller league, because Vikings fans will stand up for their team no matter what warmer climate they have relocated to.
Besides, the true Vikings fans, the ones that went to games before the dome, now are aging and probably live in Florida or Arizona.
18. Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions fans also have had a rough couple of decades. They had one of the best running backs in the league in Barry Sanders but had one losing season after another and never got to the Super Bowl. Plus, the local economy started to disintegrate.
But everything changes now that Matt Millen is gone from the front office and Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh form the core of a team that can finally start to challenge for control of the NFC North.
17. Seattle Seahawks
With the departure of the Supersonics a few years ago, supporting the remaining two pro teams in the city became even more of a passion for Seattle fans.
Seahawks fans know how to scream, and they support the team even though it's not very good right now. But the NFC West is so bad, a playoff run for Seattle fans isn't out of the question.
16. New York Jets
New York Jets fans are raucous, to say the least. Between Fireman Ed and the now-famous chant of "J-E-T-S, Jets- Jets- Jets!!," what isn't there to like about these fans.
Critics tend to say the Jets fans are more fair-weather than Giants fans—but that can be said of many fanbases, though.
15. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs fans always fill the stadium; they're always ready to party, and the Chiefs always feed off of that energy.
13. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the worst stadiums in the league, and they've been playing fairly poorly the last few years, but 49ers fans won't stop loving them.
The dynasty of Joe Montana and Steve Young from the early 1980s into the late 1990s cemented the fans' loyalty for generations to come.
12. Washington Redskins
We've made our first foray into the NFC East, and it is the Redskins who have the honor of first appearance.
Redskins fans don't care about how good you think your team is, they know their team is better, and they're not afraid to let anyone know it.
Redskins fans are found throughout the country and they all let you know the score.
11. New Orleans Saints
Saints fans are loyal and they know how to have a good time, but good luck trying to find one outside of New Orleans.
However, they are a loyal bunch and stuck with their team through some very tough times, so they are deserving of praise.
10. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts fans only stop watching football to watch college basketball. Everyone in the state of Indiana who isn't a Bears fan can probably name almost everyone on the Colts roster.
This is a fun fanbase, and they used to make the RCA Dome absolutely unbearable for the other team to play in.
9. New England Patriots
When your team wins as many Super Bowls as the Patriots have in the last decade, you develop a pretty good fanbase.
Gillette Stadium is constantly sold out and the waiting list for season tickets was estimated by ESPN to be around 50,000 in 2008.
Patriots fans know how to tailgate, and they have been constantly rewarded for their support.
8. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos fans don't care what the weather is, what the season is, or who the opponent is. They'll be there with their jerseys on.
Denver fans travel well and you can find them in other cities around the league—and no team like to play in Denver in December.
7. Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears fans love Mike Ditka and they love their Bears.
When Bears fans enter a room, you know it. They're loud and proud, and no sports bar would be complete without at least one table of Bears fans.
Bears fans are transplanted all over the country, but that doesn't affect their loyalty one bit.
6. New York Giants
New York Giants fans are a little more "adult" than the Jets fans, but they're no less passionate.
In fact, if you had to choose between the two in a fight, don't take on the Giants fans. You might be able to sucker punch the Jets fan, but a Giants fan is too smart to get caught unprepared like that.
6. Oakland Raiders
Then there are Raiders fans. No one takes dressing up as seriously as Raiders fans do.
Raider Nation is loyal and they don't care how bad their team has been the last few years, they're going to show up and be louder than you anyway.
Raiders gear is found in every sporting goods store nationwide and for good reason: It sells.
5. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have marketed their team very well. Everyone knows they are "America's Team," even if no one outside of the Dallas Cowboys fanbase agrees with that.
The Cowboys, even when they're bad, dominate the headlines because the audience is huge.
Cowboys fans are found all over the country. They have fans who have never even been to the state of Texas, but that's their team. Now that's a loyal fanbase.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
If there is a fan base you don't want to mess with, it's Philadelphia. Philadelphia fans are smart, and they're tough.
They believe in tough love, though, and don't hesitate to boo their own team and players when they're not playing well.
Win for Philadelphia and they'll love you forever. Lose and you're finished. There's no room in Philadelphia for losers, and the fans are very good at identifying and removing said losers from their midst.
This is the fanbase that booed Santa Claus. Don't mess with them.
3. Cleveland Browns
To be a Cleveland Browns fan is to be loyal to a fault—resilient through adversity and able to listen to a lot of crap that becomes hard to argue with.
Browns fans, though, persevered through their team leaving and forced the NFL to bring them another franchise.
They haven't had a lot to root for since the early '90s, but it's tough to find a fanbase more loyal or passionate. Football is Cleveland, and that's a fact.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Terrible Towel now is a worldwide phenomenon, and you'd be hard-pressed to go anywhere on Planet Earth and not run into a small contingent of Steelers fans.
Other than a run in the mid-late 1980s, this team has been consistently good since the early 1970s, breeding several generations of rabid fans who are used to winning.
Steelers fans are loud and in your face, and they absolutely do not tolerate anyone calling them out on anything. Steelers fans have been known to turn on each other for agreeing with the officials when a penalty is called against one of their own.
1. Green Bay Packers
Being a Green Bay Packers fan is a family thing. Season tickets are passed down through the generations.
On game day, there is nothing else going on in Green Bay. There is no chance Lambeau Field doesn't sell out in the foreseeable future, even if the Packers went 0-16 for the next five years.
Life comes to a complete halt for Packers fans when the game is on, and you won't find any Packers fans scheduling a wedding that might conflict with the big game.
Packers players are part of the community, and the painful divorce from Brett Favre still is an open wound three years later.