If you had to guess what NFL team’s fans were the most positive about this season, who would you guess? The defending champion New England Patriots? The former NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons? The consistently good Green Bay Packers? The surprisingly impressive Oakland Raiders? Nope, nope, nope, and nope.
The Tampa Bay “we just cut a kicker we drafted in the second round” Buccaneers?
That’s at least according to this study of Twitter discussion of the teams, from ESPN senior analytics specialist Brian Burke:
NFL fan Twitter sentiment analysis (although the zombie polar bears from Game of Thrones are slightly affecting the Bears' rating.) pic.twitter.com/pIwbtNxt6I
— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) August 21, 2017
A couple thoughts when I saw this:
1. Okay let’s talk about the Bucs. Last year Tampa Bay finished at 9-7, just out of the playoff picture. Theoretically, with more experience for Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay has a shot to be better this year. But I still see no reason for their fans to be the most positive about their team’s outlook.
2. The Patriots are at 28th overall, and that makes absolutely no sense. The only reason I can come up with them being that low is if New England fans assume Commissioner Goodell is out to ban Tom Brady again.
Getting bored of all this winning
— Brian (@NecessaryPaper) August 21, 2017
3. The New York Jets were dead last in the survey? Seems about right.
4. The Los Angeles Chargers were 13th, and the Los Angeles Rams were 26th. It’ll be interesting to see how the two teams do this year, as both are battling for the NFL fans in Los Angeles that haven’t committed to a team yet. The Chargers probably have a better chance for success this year, so the Bolts ranking higher isn’t too surprising.
5. Please, someone explain to me how the Cleveland Browns were 17th. I know they had a ton of draft picks this year and it’s hard to be worse than Cleveland was last year, but the Browns have also started a billion people at quarterback over the last decade.
6. Same for the San Francisco 49ers at 8th. I feel like they should be much lower. I know the 49ers brought in a new front office and all, but San Francisco did go 2-14 last year, and they’re in the same division as Seattle and Arizona.
7. My top five would’ve probably been this if I had to guess: 1. New England Patriots 2. Atlanta Falcons 3. Seattle Seahawks 4. Pittsburgh Steelers 5. Dallas Cowboys. Interestingly enough, only two of those made the top five in this study.