Fans cheer on the Falcons ahead of Super Bowl LI. File photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Jennifer Brett/Atlanta Buzz
Photo: Jennifer Brett/Atlanta Buzz

Falcons fans rank 13th in team devotion, Emory prof study says

Rise up Falcons fans! You have some work to do to top a list of the most fanatical fans in the National Football League, according to a new study by a Emory University professor.

The “NFL Fan and Brand Report 2018” by Emory’s Michael Lewis ranked Atlanta Falcons fans as 13th among the league’s 32 franchises. Dallas Cowboys fans ranked first on this year’s list, followed by fans of the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. Tennessee Titans fans ranked last.

Falcons receiver Julio Jones finished in the top five on the list of the NFL's top 100 players of 2018. (Video by Leo Willingham)

Lewis, who has taught in Emory’s Goizueta Business School since July 2010, used three criteria for his rankings: “Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity.” Fan equity focuses on how much money fans spend to watch their team. Social media equity measures how active are fans on those platforms to discuss and support their team. Road equity measures how teams draw away from home after adjusting for team performance. Lewis comes up with his rankings by taking the average of all three areas.

Lewis used data and created formulas that look like NFL plays to come up with the numbers. He wrote on his blog that the national anthem protests and other issues may have an impact on the rankings.

“The rankings are based on multiple years of data, use multiple performance measures and sophisticated statistical techniques,” he wrote. “But nothing is perfect and I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss some of the issues and controversies surrounding the NFL.”

Falcons fans are moving up in the survey. They ranked 19th in last year’s report. 

Lewis also does a similar survey of pro baseball fans. Atlanta Braves fans ranked 10th in a report he completed in March. 

The NFL report, posted on his blog, was published Sunday.

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