With the Vikings having less than a stellar season, local football fans aren’t the only ones getting frustrated. People from other parts of the country are joining in on bailing out on the team.
A Harris Poll that ranks NFL teams in terms of their national popularity has the Vikings dropping from No. 9 to No. 13 — and that was in a survey conducted before the team’s Monday night loss to the New York Giants in a game that was so badly played that the sports website Deadspin said that watching it was “punishment for something you did in a past life.”
The news is even worse for those Vikings fans who hate the Packers, the team’s foe in Sunday’s game — which also is going to be televised to a national audience. While the Vikes are floundering faster than a shanked punt, Green Bay is gaining fans. The team has moved up the popularity poll from No. 3 to No. 2, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys, who have been No. 1 every year since 2007.
The Harris NFL survey has been conducted since 1998. For this year’s poll, 2,577 adults who answered “yes” to the question, “Do you follow professional football?” were asked the follow-up question: “What are your two favorite NFL teams?” Pollsters ask for two teams to reduce the effect of the fans’ hometown bias.
Joining Dallas and Green Bay in the top five in popularity were, in order, the Denver Broncos, Giants and New England Patriots. As for other teams in our division, the Chicago Bears were No. 6 and the Detroit Lions were 22nd.
Optimists would point out that the Vikings still are in the top half of the 32 NFL teams in popularity. But there seem to be fewer optimists every week. As one fan lamented on a fan blog during Monday’s game, “Am I still a man if I weep uncontrollably into my beer?” □