Patriots fans ranked the second-best among all 32 NFL teams

In a new study that compares metrics for fans of all 32 NFL franchises, the New England Patriots’ fans were ranked the second-best overall.

Let’s just call it how it is: the New England Patriots are used to being No. 1. Whether it’s leading the NFL in Super Bowl championships; leading the league any given year in offensive, defensive, or special teams metrics; or having the No. 1 quarterback, head coach, and – up until this year – tight end in all of football, the Patriots are accustomed to occupying the very zenith of the pigskin mountaintop.

Seldom do they settle for second-best. However, a new study just released has the Patriots pegged at No. 2… and this might be the rare occasion where New England is actually pleasantly surprised and satisfied with that ranking.

Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business does a research project every year they call their NFL Fandom Report. The report analyzes three factors: Fan Equity, Social Equity, and Road Equity to determine its rankings.

Fan Equity studies how much money a football team’s fans spend on tickets, merchandise, apparel, etc. Social Equity measures the breadth and depth of a team’s social media reach. Road Equity is just what it sounds like – analysis of how many fans show up in stadiums to cheer on the ‘away’ team as they play their road contests.

The study ranked the Patriots No. 3 in Fan Equity, No. 4 in Road Equity, and No. 1 in Social Equity, for an overall ranking of No. 2… just behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys for the best overall mark amongst all 32 NFL franchises.

For those curious, the Patriots trailed the Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers (in that order) in Fan Equity scores. With regards to Road Equity, New England fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys, and the New York Giants (in that order).

It may surprise some NFL fans to find the Cowboys and Patriots atop this pecking order, considering the two franchises are also arguably the most-hated in all the NFL. Dallas has long been despised for its self-championed reputation as “America’s Team,” and New England is probably even more reviled this millennium because of all its success… making it the envy of the rest of the league.

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That leads back to our original point, though: that the Patriots might actually be a bit surprised and delighted to find themselves at No. 2 on this list.

Considering the negative reputation the team and its fans have earned outside the New England area the past 20 years – with other teams and their fans labelling Patriots and their fans as being “spoiled,” “arrogant,” or “sore losers” – it’s got to be encouraging and refreshing that there’s at least one report out there that clearly supports the theory that the Pats have some of the best fans in the NFL.