Green Bay Packers Top List Of The NFL’s Best Fans
Matthew McLaughlin posted an ad on Craigslist offering to pay top dollar to acquire an existing holder’s season tickets or someone’s spot in line if their wait list number is under 1,000. To get around the Packers’ strict policies, he will also cover the cost to marry and divorce, legally change his name, or arrange to be adopted to make this transfer legal.
The fact that McLaughlin already has a wife and a mother are minor details to him.
“Our marriage certificate is only a piece of paper,” said the husband of 11 years. “And I’ve had an attorney offer me free services for the divorces as long as they aren’t contested. So there’s no real risk. If we did it in January, we could be remarried by the end of the year. I’m trying to tell [my wife] we’d get a second honeymoon, and she still thinks I’m unreasonable. I don’t get it.”
(McLaughlin’s wife declined to be interviewed for this article and, at the time of publication, was giving him the silent treatment. Forbes gets her.)
As for the one woman who responded that she would consider adopting him but worries about how his mother will handle it, McLaughlin already has it all figured out.
“I only need to fill out a form and schedule a court hearing. The records are [then] sealed, so I could probably hide it from my mom.”
Does this kind of next-level fandom seem insane to you? Well, then you might be among the worst NFL fans.
But to Packers fans? The kind that invented tailgating, attend Sunday mass in the Lambeau Field parking lot, have a funeral home that will allow you to have a Packers casket and ties for your pallbearers, will sue the Bears for the right to wear Green Bay gear on Soldier Field’s sidelines, and think nothing of having a few frostbitten toes amputated after tailgating for four hours and then staying the entire game in subzero temperatures? McLaughlin’s behavior is completely normal (and his wife’s is not).
The extent to which they support their team seems to know no bounds, and for the third time in a row, the Packers rank as Forbes’ Best Fans In The NFL.
To be clear, we did not rank the craziest fans. Rather, we ranked the best fans objectively based on quantitative fan consumption metrics: hometown crowd reach (defined by Nielsen Scarborough as a percentage of the metropolitan area population that watched, attended and/or listened to a game in the last year), local television ratings (per Nielsen), stadium attendance based on capacity reached, secondary ticket demand (per StubHub), merchandise sales (per NFLShop.com) and social media reach (Facebook and Twitter followers based on the team’s metro area population).
To account for bandwagon fans, we used three years of TV, stadium attendance and merchandise sales and considered both the numbers and the trends over that time. We made no differentiation among teams that reported attendance figures beyond capacity—everyone over capacity was given the same consideration as if they had reported 100%.
To be fair, in the two-team markets, we divided the population in half to determine social media reach. Attendance and secondary-market ticket demand were counted half as much as the other metrics. Merchandise is for units moved, not dollars spent. Forbes agreed not to disclose metric rankings or our entire ranking of all 32 teams in order to gain access to sensitive data.
Packers fans blow all other bases out of the water in terms of their devotion. According to Nielsen Scarborough’s survey, 82% of Green Bay adults identified themselves as a fan who had watched, attended or listened to a Packers game in the last year. That is 7 points more than the Saints, who claim the loyalty of 75% of New Orleans to rank No. 3 on our list of the NFL’s best fans, and over 50 points more than the teams with the smallest local fan base. As evidenced by their social media reach, Packers fans extend far beyond the team’s metropolitan area. Between Facebook and Twitter, that team has 7.5 million followers. The population of the entire state of Wisconsin is only 5.8 million.
Joining the Cheeseheads are Cheez Whiz-loving Philadelphia Eagles fans, who rank No. 5 on our list. To some, including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, that could seem to suggest there is a correlation between “crazy” and placement on our list. (Incidentally, Giants fans failed to make our top ten cut.) The fact that the Philadelphia police switched from using Crisco to grease city poles ahead of the NFC Championship game to hydraulic fluid ahead of Super Bowl 52 (in another failed attempt) to prevent fans from climbing them in celebration doesn’t help their reputation.
However, going back to 2013, the beginning of the failed Chip Kelly experiment, Birds fans consistently performed very close to or within the top ten in each fan consumption metric. And for what it’s worth, the team has published a handy How To Raise An Eagles Fan slide deck to keep the fan base strong.
Forbes’ NFL Valuations play no part in this ranking. Statistically speaking, there is no correlation between what a team is worth and its Best Fans status. That said, the Dallas Cowboys, the most valuable team for the 13th year in a row, worth $5.5 billion, rank No. 9 on this list and have ranked in the top ten in each past iteration. America’s Team consistently leads the league in national TV appearances and dominates the ratings. That has helped move a lot of merchandise and push the Cowboys’ social media following to tops in the league.
Are there any surprises on our list? Maybe, to team fan bases that missed our top ten. Beyond the top ten, though, the rankings are very close, with many ties.
It is important to note that this is just a ranking over a short period in time in the league’s 100 years. The NFL’s Best Fans Of All-Time? That’s another story. But for now, we can just defer to Santa Claus.
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