When it comes to cheering for an NFL team, traditions of success and geographic proximity resonate with Canadians.
Earlier this month, 9,724 Canadians in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa answered Sun Media’s ‘Who is your favourite NFL team’ poll question. The question was posed online to Sun readers in those markets.
Two major trends emerge when looking at the results.
The first is that geographic proximity (border clubs, local TV, etc) has an effect on Canadian NFL fans.
The Minnesota Vikings received more votes than any other team in all five polls combined. The Vikings were chosen as the favourite NFL team of 36% of respondents to the Winnipeg Sun poll, and of 10.5% of all respondents overall)
The Seattle Seahawks were the top choice in Calgary (21.8% of respondents to the Calgary Sun poll chose the Seahawks as their favourite team) and the second choice in Edmonton (11.62% in Edmonton Sun poll), yet were far down the list of favourite teams in Winnipeg (2%), Toronto (1.7%) and Ottawa (1.4%). The Seahawks were the choice of 6.8% of respondents overall.
The East coast New England Patriots dominated the Ontario polls, emerging as the top choice in Ottawa (12.41% of respondents to the Ottawa Sun poll) and the second choice in Toronto(9.76%), trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The border club Buffalo Bills finished third in the Toronto Sun poll (9.61% of respondents selected the Bills as their favourite NFL team) and second in the Ottawa Sun poll (9.15%), but far down the list in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg polls (the Bills were selected by less than 2% of respondents in each of these local polls).
The second noticable trend in the consolidated results from the five Sun Media polls is that Canadians in each of these urban markets cheer for historically successful teams.
The Green Bay Packers were a top four selection in each regional poll (first in Edmonton with 17.64%, second in Winnipeg with 12.28%, and fourth in Calgary 7.39%, Toronto 8.16% and Ottawa 8.36%).
Similarly the New England Patriots (winners of three Super Bowls since 2001), Pittsburgh Steelers (winners of six Super Bowls, including three in the last decade), Dallas Cowboys (three Super Bowls in the 1990s) and San Francisco 49ers (winners of five Super Bowls since 1980) were among the top choices in every regional poll. The Denver Broncos (winners of two fairly recent Super Bowls) also proved to be a popular choice.
The overall poll results can be viewed in the Sun Media archives (for example here are Toronto Sun’s poll results http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/12/which-nfl-team-is-your-favourite
Here is a summary, using figures from Sun Media’s ‘view results’ summaries connected to each poll:
Calgary – 1,867 total votes 1) Seattle Seahawks (21.8%); 2) Denver Broncos (10.87%) 3) San Francisco 49ers (8.14%)
Edmonton – 1,162 votes 1) Green Bay Packers (17.64%) 2) Seattle Seahawks (11.62%) 3) Dener Broncos (10.07%)
Winnipeg – 2,174 votes 1) Minnesota Vikings (36.43%) 2) Green Bay Packers (12.28%) 3) Chicago Bears (7.98%)
Toronto – 3,382 votes 1) Pittsburgh Steelers (11.86%) 2) New England Patriots (9.76%) 3) Buffalo Bills (9.61%)
Ottawa – 1,136 votes 1) New England Patriots (12.41%) 2) Buffalo Bills (9.15%) 3) Dallas Cowboys (8.8%)
Consolidated results (total number of times chosen as ‘favourite NFL team’ in all five Sun Media polls):
- Minnesota Vikings – 1,026 (792 in Winnipeg)
- Green Bay Packers – 981
- New England Patriots – 754
- Pittsburgh Steelers – 714 (401 in Toronto)
- Seattle Seahawks – 661 (407 in Calgary)
- Dallas Cowboys – 630
- Denver Broncos – 615
- San Francisco 49ers – 537
- Buffalo Bills – 496
- Chicago Bears – 393
Complete Edmonton Sun poll results http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/04/which-nfl-squad-is-edmontons-team
Complete Calgary Sun poll results http://www.calgarysun.com/2012/11/04/which-nfl-club-should-be-calgarys-team
Complete Ottawa Sun poll results http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/11/09/which-nfl-squad-is-ottawas-team
Complete Winnipeg Sun poll results http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/11/03/vote-for-canadas-nfl-team