Have you ever wondered which football team has the most loyal fans? What does it take to be loyal when it comes to football? Studies have been conducted over the last 12 months, with the good people at Forbes thinking up the most comprehensive means of measurement. Loyalty isn't about the numbers, but all kinds of other factors. Merchandise sales, stadium numbers and social media followers are just a few components adding to a whole. It takes a lot to figure out which team has the most loyal fans, and no doubt figures will fluctuate with each season. Going into the playoffs, let's see how it all pans out.
5. Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals
Never before have these teams been so strong, which is probably why they're tied at no. 5 on this list, and for the first time, part of the cool crowd. Before this season, you never saw anyone wearing a Newton or Dalton jersey, but times are a-changin’. While their social media fans still need to climb, their televisions audience numbers are at a high. Just a side note – there's never been a QB whose hair matches the uniform. Yes, you Dalton.
4. New England Patriots
Uh, shouldn't they be in the top three at least? Turns out having the most Facebook fans out of all the teams in the NFL ain't enough. Not even winning four out of six Super Bowls since 2001 was enough to gain the most loyalty either… They're ranked fourth in merchandise and 10th in hometown rankings, but that could be due to the fact that they have more outside-of-hometown fans than other teams. Ye-ah!
3. New Orleans Saints
The franchise became the cornerstone of New Orleans’ sense of community, post Katrina. Locals ran to the welcoming arms of the Saints to escape the horror of their daily lives. Secondly, the introduction of Drew Brees… there's something to be said about someone who raps a pep talk. This wasn't a great season for them, but the fans are ever faithful. They're ranked first and second in hometown crowd, television audience, stadium attendance and social media.
2. Denver Broncos
Loyalty accumulated fast during 2013 when the Broncos broke just about every offensive record. This season, the situation was dramatically different - defense on top and offense amongst the worst. For the first time in years, the loyalty of Broncos fans was tested, if comments on social media were anything to go by. Now with the team at the top of the AFC West, confidence is sky-high (or mile-high – you knew that was coming) and there's nothing but love. Just ask the people rocking the orange and blue onesies and taking down their Broncos-themed Christmas trees...
1. Green Bay Packers
The franchise has been one of the strongest in the NFL since Vince Lombardi turned it from dust to diamonds. That success from so long ago cemented their fanbase, which grew and grew. They're first in stadium attendance, hometown rankings and second in television audience. Even if this season wasn't their best, the fans will never stray from their #GoPackGo mentality. Who else would be willing to wear foam cheese wedges on their heads?