Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 18, 2006
HarrisInteractive conducted a pair of polls last year that measured the sports-watching habits of American consumers.
A poll in late December looked at how football compares with other American sports. A poll conducted in September, right before the start of the 2005 NFL season, addressed football specifically.
The surveys yielded some very interesting results. These are some of the highlights:
Football continues to dominate other sports. Thirty-three percent of respondents to the December survey said that football is their favorite sport. Baseball finished second (14 percent). College football placed third on the list (13 percent).
The gap between football and baseball has widened dramatically over the last two decades. In 1985, pro football was No. 1 (24 percent) and baseball was a close second (23 percent).
The gap is not so wide among young people, which defies the notion that baseball is an old person's sport. Twenty-seven percent of so-called "Echo Boomers" (people aged 18 to 27) prefer pro football. Twenty-one percent choose baseball.
Football is most popular among African Americans (47 percent).
Baseball is most popular among Hispanics (20 percent).
Hockey (5 percent) and men's college basketball (5 percent) are more popular than pro basketball (4 percent).
Over the past decade, roughly half of American adults each year have said that they follow pro football. Men (61 percent) are more likely to follow football than women (38 percent).
Despite a decade of substandard performances, the Packers (16 percent) and Cowboys (14 percent) remain the nation's two favorite teams. The Steelers and Patriots were tied for third-most popular (13 percent).
In 1998, the Cowboys (25 percent) and Packers (20 percent) ranked No. 1 and No. 2. The Patriots were near the bottom of the list of favorite teams (4 percent). The popularity of the Steelers has remained relatively consistent since 1998.
The Cardinals have consistently been the league's least-popular team (1 percent).
The top three teams in the East are the Steelers (29 percent), Patriots (22 percent) and Eagles (20 percent).
The top teams in the Midwest are the Packers (29 percent), Bears (21 percent), Colts (17 percent) and Browns (17 percent).
The top three teams in the South are the Cowboys (26 percent), Buccaneers (14 percent) and Packers (13 percent).
The top three teams in the West are the 49ers (28 percent), Raiders (23 percent) and Broncos (16 percent).
Thirty-three percent of Americans expected the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Among the four remaining teams, the Steelers were considered the most likely at the start of the season to win the Super Bowl (6 percent).
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