Facebook Analyzes Users’ Sentiment About Their NFL Teams

Kansas City Chiefs fans on Facebook are licking their chops for the start of the National Football League season this weekend. San Diego Chargers fans? Not so much.

Kansas City Chiefs fans on Facebook are licking their chops for the start of the National Football League season this weekend. San Diego Chargers fans? Not so much.

Facebook examined posts and comments by NFL fans during the league’s preseason, July 22 through Sept. 7, and used the anonymous aggregated data to rank all 32 teams by how positive posts about them were.

Data editor Robert D’Onofrio described the findings of the social network’s first-ever NFL sentiment research in a Facebook Media blog post:

Heading into the 2015 NFL season, the most optimistic fan base belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs–perhaps not too surprising, considering the Chiefs were the only team to finish the preseason undefeated (4-0). Likewise, the Minnesota Vikings (ranked No. 3) finished the preseason 4-1, have Adrian Peterson returning and Teddy Bridgewater has looked solid as he begins his second season. The Tennessee Titans (ranked No. 5) had the second overall pick in the most recent NFL Draft, and their selection of Marcus Mariota has clearly boosted fan spirits. Other teams in the top 10 share similar characteristics related to high-promise rookies, coaching changes and solid preseason game performances.

On the flip side, until very recently, New England Patriots fans were bracing for four games without Tom Brady, so it’s not too surprising to see them rank among the least positive fan bases since July 22. Quarterback turmoil also impacted the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and New York Jets this preseason, leaving their fans less enthusiastic about the pending season compared with other fans. Pittsburgh Steelers fans were disappointed to find out star receiver Martavis Bryant was going to miss four games, and Chargers fans spent one-half of the preseason worrying about the Phillip Rivers contract situation. I’ll leave additional editorializing to the reader–fans of each team can likely think of a number of possible factors impacting their team’s Facebook fan sentiment.

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D’Onofrio also focused on the NFC East division, which was heavy on offseason drama, writing:

Fan sentiment on Facebook moves as you might expect it to–down with negative team news and up with positive news. Philadelphia Eagles fans peaked this preseason with the long-awaited debut of Sam Bradford, while Dallas Cowboys fans fretted most when one of their starting cornerbacks (Orlando Scandrick) was lost for the season. Similarly, Redskins fan sentiment seems to perfectly reflect all the drama around RGIII (Robert Griffin III) and the team ultimately deciding to move on from their one-time franchise quarterback. It will be interesting to see how these team trends continue into the regular season and beyond.

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Readers: What is your current sentiment about your favorite NFL squad?

Image of Arrowhead Stadium courtesy of Shutterstock.