As the country celebrates all things NFL in preparation for Sunday's Super Bowl, the folks at Facebook have released a fascinating study which tells us things about ourselves and our rooting patterns that we otherwise may not have known.
As it turns out, Americans are prone to state their NFL fandom on their Facebook pages. More than 1 in 10 Americans have declared some sort of allegiance to an NFL team on Facebook (mostly through Liking a team's page). So, through a comprehensive study of Likes, Facebook created this cool "allegiance map" of the country.
The country is divided by county, and each area is shaded by which NFL team its users prefer. It's noteworthy how certain teams have pockets of supporters across the country (Pittsburgh Steeler fans in Western Oregon, Dallas Cowboys in Virginia). The Cowboys have perhaps the widest fan base, encompassing the majority of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Nevada and Idaho.
The data also tells us which teams our friends are likely to support. For example, the top five fan-friendships for Chicago Bears fans were: Green Bay Packers fans, Dallas Cowboys fans, Pittsburgh Steelers fans, Indianapolis Colts fans and New England Patriots fans.
The Facebook analysts examined how the "Like" count for each team's page changed following games this season. As you'll see below, making the playoffs was huge for NFL teams. "Likes" on their pages were three times higher for a playoff loss than a regular season win. This growing affection for teams that qualify for the postseason explains the widespread love for the historically successful squads like the Steelers and the Cowboys.
For the entire study, see here.