The 10 Most NFL-Obsessed States in the U.S., New Data Shows
Interestingly, half of the places that topped the list don't even have a home team of their own.
Besides the foliage changing colors and the weather cooling down, the arrival of fall also brings another unmissable change: the return of football season. Each kickoff brings 18 weeks of thrilling catches, come-from-behind victories, and crushing defeats all supported by an undeniably passionate fanbase. During the 2022-2023 regular season, an average of 16.7 million people tuned into each game on broadcast and streaming services, with an estimated 185 million tuning in at some point before the playoffs, ESPN reports. But while some teams can claim to have the most diehard fans out there, new data shows that the NFL-obsessed are more concentrated in certain states than others.
The latest football fandom research comes from a study conducted by OnlineCasinos.com that analyzed Google searches for terms related to the National Football League, including "NFL," "NFL scores," "NFL schedule," and "NFL draft." Results were then matched with the states where they were made, calibrated for population size, and tallied to determine the rankings—which included some surprising results.
"NFL is America's favorite league, so it was interesting to delve into the data and find out where it's loved more than anywhere else," a spokesperson for OnlineCasinos.com said of the findings. "Nationally, the figures show that each month, there is an average of 137,621,053 searches for the top 50 most common NFL-related terms. The true scale of the country's love for NFL becomes even clearer when you consider that those 50 search terms don't even include any team-specific searches."
So, which places topped the list? Read on to see the most NFL-obsessed states in the U.S., according to new data.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 51,273
It may not come as a surprise that Minnesota managed to crack the top 10 as an NFL-obsessed state thanks to the passionate fan base behind the Vikings franchise.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the enthusiasm for the team's home stadium in Minneapolis, which recently ranked among the ugliest buildings in the U.S. for its jarring design that relies heavily on sharp angles and reflective glass.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 51,496
South Dakota may be home to the famous Mount Rushmore, but it is one of the five states in the top ten that is not home to an NFL franchise.
Still, data shows that residents appear to be big professional football fans, with 468,519 Google searches per 909,824 residents.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 51,653
Even though it was formerly the annual host of the NFL All-Star Game, the Aloha State is still a few hours' flight from the closest official NFL stadium.
But data shows Hawaiian residents are nevertheless big on football: According to local FOX affiliate KHON-TV, the San Francisco 49ers are the most popular team, followed by the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 52,172
Colorado residents may have plenty of college football excitement to root for lately, but it doesn't detract from their devotion to the pros.
The Denver Broncos command plenty of allegiance as the state's lone NFL team, thanks in no small part to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998 under quarterback John Elway and a 2015 victory with Peyton Manning at the helm.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 53,204
New Mexico is far from the only state on the list with no NFL team of its own, but it's certainly not far from other options. There are franchises on practically every border, with the Arizona Cardinals to the west, the Denver Broncos to the north, and the Dallas Cowboys to the east.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 54,389
North Dakota may be literally on top of South Dakota when it comes to geography, but it also finds itself above it in NFL fandom rankings. Data found the state had 423,836 searches per its 779,261 residents.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 54,403
It probably doesn't come as a surprise that Pennsylvanians are big NFL fans. The state is home to two of the league's most iconic and successful franchises: the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The state's 12,972,008 residents—the most populous on the list—made 7,057,152 NFL-related searches to land it in the top five.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 56,892
Maryland finds itself deep within devoted pro-football fan territory. Besides being home to the Baltimore Ravens, the nearby Washington Commanders also remain a perennially popular franchise.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 58,899
While Las Vegas may have only just recently received the Raiders as their home team, residents' deep devotion to the NFL almost definitely factored into why they chose to move to Nevada.
And there's more to come: The state will also host the Super Bowl for the first time to cap off this season.
NFL-related searches per 100,000 residents: 60,583
Delaware bills itself as the "first state," but it's also first when it comes to NFL-obsessed fans. Its 1,018,396 residents made 616,974 searches, earning it the top spot on the list.
Why? Perhaps because despite not having a team to call its own, the slim state finds itself amid Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Commanders allegiances.
For more sports content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.