Study says Cowboys have NFL's 'best' fans

Jerry Jones has long known that the Cowboys were America's Team. (USATSI)
Jerry Jones has long known that the Cowboys were America's Team. (USATSI)

Here's some news that won't get folks riled up at all: The Dallas Cowboys have the "best" fans, according to a study by two Emory University professors.

And before your face turns red and you start banging on your keyboard about the silliness of it all, here are the under-the-hood details of the study by Manish Tripathi and Mike Lewis.

"We use fifteen years of data on NFL team performance, ticket prices, market populations, median incomes, won-loss records and multiple other factors," Tripathi wrote on the Emory Sports Marketing Analytics blog. "We create statistical models of box office revenue, and then see which teams over- and under- perform the model’s predictions."

Using their methodology, the Cowboys have the best fans, followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens, and Jets. That's right, Ravens fans are better than Steelers fans, at least for the purposes of this study -- but Tripathi can explain.

"The Steelers and Packers have great fan followings," he said. "The Seahawks are slowly developing a great fan base. And these teams will do better when we switch to non-financial metrics such as social media following. But for the current 'revenue premium' model these teams just don’t price high enough. In a way, these teams with massive season ticket waiting lists are the most supportive of their fans."

So why do Dallas fans top the list?

"The Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium," Tripathi continued. "Deflategate hasn’t hit the window of our analysis yet (it is after the 2014-2015 season), but the Pats' strong showing in our ranking suggests that the impact will be small. The Jets position might be somewhat surprising, but this team draws well, and has great pricing power without a lot of winning on the field."

At the bottom of the rankings: the Bills, Jaguars, Raiders, Browns and Dolphins.

Other notes of interest: The Seahawks rank 26th, immediately behind the Panthers, Rams, Bengals and Lions. The Bears are No. 6, ahead of the Packers and Saints. And the Texans, at No. 12, are ahead of the Broncos, Steelers and Redskins.

The full list:

1. Cowboys
2. Patriots
3. Giants
4. Ravens
5. Jets
6. Bears
7. Packers
8. Saints
9. Colts
10. 49ers
11. Eagles
12. Texans
13. Broncos
14. Steelers
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Chargers
18. Vikings
19. Cardinals
20. Falcons
21. Buccaneers
22. Panthers
23. Rams
24. Bengals
25. Lions
26. Seahawks
27. Chiefs
28. Bills
29. Jaguars
30. Raiders
31. Browns
32. Dolphins 

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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