On the hunt for the worst
Every sporting league in the world has fanbases that don’t quite match the enthusiasm of others. These ‘supporters’ would rather spend their weekends on the couch than cheering in the stands of their local stadiums. They scroll past their team’s social media posts and roll their eyes at the suggestion of watching them play on TV.
it’s time to have some playoffs of our own – for the worst fanbase in the NFL
Although the US is considered a sport-loving nation, the NFL is certainly not immune to this phenomenon. The lower half of the league in particular is littered with fanbases that could certainly be considered sub-par. As we approach the 2021/2022 season decider, it’s time to have some playoffs of our own – for the worst fanbase in the NFL.
For its research, VegasSlotsOnline News has taken the five teams with the lowest home stadium attendance this season as a starting point. Next, we collated data on social media interaction and TV viewership to rank those teams further. Each team received ten points for placing first in a category, decreasing by two for each position after.
Let’s see how those positions filled up.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Total Points: 10
Stadium Attendance Rank: #5
Social Media Interaction Rank: #4
Local TV Viewership Rank: #5
The Pittsburgh Steelers have scraped into the worst fanbases top five with ten points in total. Unsurprisingly, they’re also the best performing team of the five, finishing second in the AFC North this season with nine wins. Their Super Bowl hopes came to an end at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, but the team’s playoff-reaching performance perhaps deserved more from fans.
fans filled just 88.4% of the stadium on average
Heinz Field returned to full capacity in September, and I’m sure the Steelers were hoping for a strong turnout throughout the season. However, Pittsburgh ranked fourth worst for home stadium attendance with an average of 60,488. With a total Heinz Field capacity of 68,400, this meant fans filled just 88.4% of the stadium on average.
For social media interaction, the Steelers came in fourth-worst again. Approximately 1.3% of the team’s Instagram followers showed their support by liking posts on gameday this season. The average total of 22,852 trumps our other four teams by far, but this is boosted by Pittsburgh’s 2.9 million followers (1.9 million more than the closest competitor).
Finally, for local TV viewership, the Steelers did better than any of our other four teams. Around 36.24% of local Pittsburgh households regularly tuned in to watch games on TV this season. Impressively, that’s more than 27 of the NFL’s teams, but still represents a decrease of 10% from last year.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Total Points: 14
Stadium Attendance Rank: #5
Social Media Interaction Rank: #2
Local TV Viewership Rank: #4
Time for fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars to make their appearance. They scored 14 points in VSO News’ ranking system, making them the fourth-worst fans this season. Matching the enthusiasm of supporters, the team finished dead last in the AFC South with just three wins to their name. With that dismal record, the Jaguars are the worst-performing team of our top five.
All three of Jacksonville’s wins came at home, even though TIAA Bank Field regularly had a number of empty seats. On average, Jaguars fans filled 89.2% of the arena with a home attendance of around 59,968. That’s an improvement on our other four teams, with Jacksonville beating all others in this category.
Jacksonville fans had the second-lowest figure for Instagram likes
That said, the Jaguars fanbase really let the team down in regards to social media interaction. Jacksonville fans had the second-lowest figure for Instagram likes. On average, 0.9% of the team’s 634,000 followers liked gameday posts. This average fell to its lowest in October when just 4,190 fans regularly showed their support.
As for TV viewership, Jaguars fans redeemed themselves slightly by moving back up to fourth. Around 19.67% of local Jacksonville households tuned in to watch Jaguars games this season, an increase of 8% from 2020/2021 figures.
3. Washington Football Team
Total Points: 18
Stadium Attendance Rank: #1
Social Media Interaction Rank: #5
Local TV Viewership Rank: #3
Next up, it’s Washington Football Team. Their fans ranked below just two others with a total of 18 points. As for the team itself, Washington actually performed better than most. They ended the season third in the NFC East with seven wins to their name. In part, they can surely blame the poor support for their failure to reach the playoffs.
If our system were based on stadium attendance alone, Washington fans would rank as the worst by far. Despite opening at full capacity in 2021, FedExField saw an average attendance of just 52,751 this season. That represents a regular attendance of around 64.3% of capacity – more than 15% less than the closest rival.
Washington fans clearly opt to show their support via different means. On average, they liked more gameday posts than any other team in our top five. Around 1.6% of Washington’s 961,000 Instagram followers liked gameday posts on average. That support hit its peak at the start of the season when it reached approximately 22,695 per post.
For local TV viewership, Washington fans earned a ‘must do better’ badge. They ranked third-worst with 16.64% of local households tuning in to watch the team play. That’s up just 1% from the previous season.
2. Detroit Lions
Total Points: 22
Stadium Attendance Rank: #2
Social Media Interaction Rank: #3
Local TV Viewership Rank: #2
Sliding into VSO News’ worst NFL fanbases at number two are supporters of the Detroit Lions. The team’s fans scored 22 points based on our three categories. Much like their support, the Lions also failed to make much of an impact this season. Their results tally stood at three wins, one tie, and 13 losses, placing them dead last in the NFC North.
only 51,522 fans attended each game on average
With such a poor win record, Detroit fans could barely muster up the effort to attend home games this season. Ford Field has a capacity of 65,000, and only 51,522 fans attended each game on average. That corresponds to around 79.9% of capacity, placing them second-worst in the rankings behind only Washington.
The fanbase performed slightly better, albeit marginally, in the social media rankings. Lions gameday Instagram posts generated 8,244 likes on average, or around 1% of the team’s 812,000 followers. That places their fans third in the rankings, with support reaching its height in December.
Finally, as a depressing end to the 2021/2022 performance of Detroit fans, just 10.92% of local households regularly tuned in to watch games. That represents some increase on last year – a 4% rise – but still places them second-worst in the rankings.
1. New York Jets
Total Points: 26
Stadium Attendance Rank: #3
Social Media Interaction Rank: #1
Local TV Viewership Rank: #1
So, which fans have claimed the title for worst supporters of 2021/2022? It’s the New York Jets of course. Their supporters ranked top in two categories and third in another to earn them the terrible fanbase crown. As expected, the team also went out with a whimper this NFL season, finishing bottom of the AFC East after losing 13 games and winning just four.
Perhaps surprisingly, Jets fans actually beat two others for stadium attendance. Supporters regularly filled up around 86.9% of MetLife Stadium despite the team’s poor performance. Due to MetLife’s large capacity, that also represents the highest average home attendance figure of the five at 71,676.
a dismal 6,544 likes per gameday post
Despite a promising start, New York Jets fans really let the team down in the remaining categories. They received the worst score for social media interaction with just 0.8% of followers providing Instagram likes on average. That corresponds to a dismal 6,544 likes per gameday post. Much like their team’s win record, support remained low all season, peaking at just 11,051 in November.
Perhaps most telling of all, Jets fans topped the list for the worst local household TV viewership at a measly 7.12%. That’s more than five times less than the total secured by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but shockingly an 8% rise from last season.