Just who has the most rabid following of fans in the NFL? And, as you might imagine, we’re also curious which teams are at the bottom of such a category, too? All of it was laid out in an annual study by Emory University in Atlanta and it includes, where the Bucs, the Dolphins and the Jaguars rank?
As a quick aside, if you’re a Jaguars fan, you’re pretty much always understanding of where you’re going to rank on one of these lists. This is particularly, with the Jags having been perennial losers for so long and the small market size they play in in North Florida.
That being written, it’s also not surprising to see the teams at the top of Emory’s list include the ultra-successful Patriots, as well as iconic brand name teams like the Cowboys and the Steelers. And, other obvious large-market teams like the Eagles and the Giants topping their list:
The @dallascowboys, @Patriots, @Eagles, @Giants, & @steelers top this year's #NFL rankings by Prof. Lewis. The @Bengals, @Jaguars, @Titans, @Chiefs, & @RamsNFL are on the bottom of the list. https://t.co/Fe2PePPDKF pic.twitter.com/zHvcmUgVss
— Emory MAC (@Emory_MAC) June 24, 2019
Where did the Bucs and the Dolphins rank? And just how far down the list are the Jags on the heels of having an awful 2018? Let’s take a look in a second, but first here’s the methodology behind what Emory did.
As one of the researchers who wrote the article supporting their findings, Michael Lewis lays out that they were specifically looking for three criteria to rank the teams. Those would be “Fan Equity, Social Equity and Road Equity.”
Fan Equity is more on how much money does a team make revenue-wise from its fan base and its home games? Social Equity is the engagement of a team through social media, no matter wins or losses. And, Road Equity, according to the Emory study, focuses more on teams drawing on the road after adjusting for their performance.
Anybody that knows anything about that last component knows, whenever the Patriots, the Steelers or the Cowboys show up, there are legions of their fans guaranteed to be in your stadium and spending money.
So with that in mind, here’s a look at the full list:
— Emory MAC (@Emory_MAC) June 25, 2019
The Dolphins came in middle of the pack at 14th overall in the Emory study. It’s further interesting that they ranked 9th in Road Equity, even though Miami hasn’t been a perennial playoff team for years, and Dan Marino is long gone.
As for the Buccaneers, eight losing seasons in the last decade has beaten-down the home fan base and their ranking of 25th in the Fan Equity category helped put Tampa Bay at 23rd overall on the list. It is interesting that the Bucs scored very well, as a Road Equity in the Emory study, ranking as 11th in their methodology.
Then the Jaguars came in at 29th overall with a 30 in Fan Equity, and a likewise 30 in Social Engagement. Clearly, the Jacksonville market size is one of the smallest in the NFL and a bad 2018 season, even off of a playoff year two years ago, killed a lot of “the buzz”around the team.
You further take into account that the Jaguars have had a floundering quarterback in Blake Bortles at the helm, when so many other teams have a star that fans will gravitate to, and it’s obvious why Jacksonville was being hindered. They hope to now have that corrected with former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles having signed with Jacksonville in free agency.
It is interesting on the Emory Fandom list that the two at the bottom are the Chiefs and the Rams. That stirred up debate on the “NFL Total Access” show on Tuesday night, including analysts David Carr and Willie McGinest being puzzled by the Raiders and Chiefs being ranked so low on the list:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 26, 2019
It’s hard to grasp how Emory in their methodology has the Chiefs at 29 for Fan Equity when Arrowhead Stadium is known as one of the most raucous environments and the Chiefs were really good and sold out a year ago.
It’s much easier to understand that the Rams with competition in Los Angeles for the likes of: the Lakers, the Dodgers and obviously, Hollywood and entertainment would be dead last in Fan Equity or Social Engagement. Yet they were in the study. And, this despite the fact that L.A. won the NFC, and went to the Superbowl a year ago.
The bottom line is that winning is the key to everything, especially with fan support. And, for the three teams in Florida, or the rest of the NFL, you are only one good season away from changing your standing on lists like these.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.
Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 2020
This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.
Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″
It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially, put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?
Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.
If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.
Caldwell confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.
Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.
Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.
However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.
However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.
Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.
As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?