Despite what you may read on message boards and hear on sports talk radio, the New England Patriots are the easiest team in the NFL to root for.


Using only raw data while staying away from subjective opinions that could create some impartiality, American City Business Journals (parent company to sites like Sports Business Journal, Sport Business Daily, Sporting News and other publications) has endeavored to rank which professional teams in each of the four major professional North American sports are most difficult (and least difficult) to root for. The Patriots ranked last (i.e., easiest) team to root for in the NFL.


Detroit Lions are rated as NFL’s most disappointing team

Inside the Fan Difficulty Index


It appears that ACBJ attempted to be as objective as possible; factors include won-loss records and how many times a team advanced to each stage of the playoffs over the last ten years. Victories and championships that happened so long ago most current fans didn’t witness them don’t count, nor does attendance, apparel sales, how loud a crowd gets, or other components that are difficult to accurately measure and can have a tendency to become a bit questionable and inconclusive.


Given these criteria, it was not a surprise to see the top clubs after the Pats were the Steelers, Colts, Packers and Saints, while the most disappointing teams to be a fan of were the Lions, Browns, Bengals and Bills. That’s not to say there were no surprises with the list; the Chiefs, Dolphins and Vikings were the 5th, 6th and 7th toughest to cheer on while the Panthers were listed as the 9th easiest to root for.


So why is it that it seems as if there is so much angst among Patriot Nation? Is it (too) high expectations resulting in a higher likelihood of disappointment? Perhaps there is nowhere to go but down after three championships in four seasons? Maybe there is a vocal minority that doesn’t accurately represent the masses of Foxboro faithful?


What are your thoughts? Are these rankings accurate? Are the New England Patriots indeed the easiest team to root for in the NFL?