The Miami Dolphins, specifically their fan base, rank 14th among the 32 NFL teams according to a new study.
Emory’s Mike Lewis has used various formulas to come up with a ranking of the NFL’s best fan’s. And their worst. Oddly enough some of who you think would be at the top are not and some that you would believe to be at the bottom are also not. The Dolphins? Slightly better than middle of the road. But not by much.
Using data to create statistical models in areas such as road support, social media, and of course spending. Dr. Lewis calls these equity’s. In the case of the Dolphins, the teams overall ranking is 14 but their social media “equity” and “fan equity” which focuses on box office revenue rank 20th and 21st. Miami however comes in with a whooping 7th in road equity support.
Here is the issue with these types of rankings. While models can be drawn using specific formula’s it gets a little hazy when higher values are given to teams’ fan bases where a higher ticket price is charged. Dr. Lewis accounts for some of this but it isn’t full proof or without error.
He does acknowledge that the Patriots, who rank number two behind the Cowboys have “bandwagon” fans, something that Dolphins fans know all too well. The Patriots also rank 1 overall in social equity but let’s face one fact, a lot of people follow the Patriots simply over their alleged cheating and Dr. Lewis also acknowledged that as well. If that is a plausible reason then the numbers are slightly flawed.
The Kansas City Chiefs rank dead to last and again this is partially due to lower ticket prices and a smaller community than say New York or the wide scope of “New England” which cover not just a local city like Boston but most of the Northeastern U.S. states.
Surprisingly the Browns are ranked 26th overall. That is surprising because the Browns fan base is one of the most widespread and rabid fan bases in the league. And the only team to fight the NFL over the name of their team after the original Browns left for Baltimore. The Browns highest rank is 17 in social media. Of course continued losing seasons will also drum down interest on the road.
The top five ranked are the Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Giants, and Steelers. The Eagles make little to no sense as the number 3 overall team. While their fans are very proud it is still surpring to see such a high ranking.
While the Dolphins are ranked 14th I have a hard time believing that they are outranked by the 49’ers, 10th overall, the Colts at 11th overall, and the Ravens 12th overall. For that matter the Jets are ranked one spot above Miami and considering that the Jets can’t fill two sections of their own stadium that is annually stolen by the fans at DolfansNYC, maybe they shouldn’t be ranked so high at all. The Bills however are two spots below Miami.
Overall, the results really are not all that surprising given the matrix of what is being studied and frankly the models drawn by Dr. Lewis are quite extensive and to be honest a little above my pay grade for fully understanding every aspect of how they were obtained.
It will be interesting to see this model again in a few years.