Ranking sports fanbases against each other is an... interesting task. Any approach to scientifically compare fanbases will be flawed in one way or another, and yet every now and then people give it a shot.
That's what happened Wednesday, when Forbes released its ranking of the 10 most passionate sports fan groups in the United States, out of all 123 teams across the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.
If you know anything about Philadelphia, you won't be shocked to learn the Eagles finished in the Top 5.
But you might be surprised about who landed ahead of the Bird Gang.
Forbes said it looked at television ratings, game attendance, merchandise, hometown crowd reach, and social media reach from all 123 teams, an interesting - and kind of soulless - way to measure "passion". Where's the variable for beer cans smashed into foreheads? Faces (and stomachs) painted? Ah well.
Here is Forbes' Top 5:
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New England Patriots
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Philadelphia Eagles
And here's the Forbes blurb about why Eagles fans ranked fifth:
It takes a special breed of fan to merit two Hollywood movies, both of them blockbusters. The throng has made this franchise the most popular in Philadelphia, besting the Phillies, the 76ers and the Flyers.
It's kind of unfortunate that most of the country has to learn about Eagles fans in one of two ways: through "Invincible" and "Silver Linings Playbook", or through re-tellings of the Santa Claus story and post-commercial shots of Pat's and Geno's during national broadcasts.
But, like I said: imperfect science. I don't really take exception to Packers fans or Steelers fans being ahead of Eagles fans, but I don't enjoy the Patriots ranking ahead of the Birds. You're telling me that spoiled fanbase, bloated with championships, still cares as much as the Eagles' fanbase does? Okay.
And I'd at least say Saints and Eagles fanbases would finish in a tie. The Saints fanbase might try to sue me, though, so whatever.
You'll be happy to know the Cowboys didn't finish in the Top 10, but the Pittsburgh Penguins were the only NHL team to finish up high, coming in at No. 9, so it's a wash for Philly fans on the old rival front.
All in all, this list could've been much worse. No harm, no foul, etc.
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