Local12.com - Bengals fans who stuck with the team through years of losing seasons have not only been rewarded with back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship Game but also recognition as the most loyal fan base in the NFL.
A new ranking by researchers crowned Cincinnati fans as most dedicated. They looked at the volume behind more than 500 keywords related to NFL teams over the last three years. Those keywords covered all aspects, including general team performance, merchandise, individual player news, upcoming matches, team stadiums, game tickets, and more.
The Bengals' keywords have seen an average increase of 80% in volume year-over-year. The fans of the Philadelphia Eagles (+42%), San Francisco 49ers (+34%), Buffalo Bills (+33%) and Jacksonville Jaguars (+27%) round out the top five.
Ah yes, the end all be all in NFL fan loyalty: Keyword research.
Get the fuck out of here. Not only do I live in Ohio, but I covered the Browns for nearly a decade. That includes games on the road in Cincinnati and if they are considered the NFL's most loyal fan base then Tristan Thompson should be crowned the most loyal boyfriend in the world too.
Besides a small handful, Bengals fans were nonexistent before Joe Burrow. There were small pockets of fandom during the Chad Ochocinco and John "How is this guy still a QB in the league" Kitna years. But even during their annual first round exits from the playoffs with Andy Dalton at the helm, Bengals fans were at best decent. I would say the fan base felt more or less indifferent.
I mean this is the franchise that nearly had a playoff game blacked out because they couldnt sell the tickets.
And I get that Joe Cool has revitalized things and the fan base is riled up now, but let's not forget that a Bengals home game just 4 seasons ago looked like this.
I'm just struggling to understand how keyword searches equals fan loyalty. You know what makes fans loyal? Sticking around through a 1-32 run. Throwing in 0-16 parade to mock ownership for their ineptitude. Buying into every dog shit quarterback the franchise wasted a draft pick on for a quarter century. Screaming "SUPPPEEERRR BOOOWWWWLLLL SUPPPEERRR BRRROOOWWWNNNSS!" every single training camp even when half the roster was guys who could barley make it in the arena league.
Stupidity is often mistaken for loyalty and thats pretty much the boat us Browns fans are in. But whether or not we are stupid for continuing to live and die over our team (we are) you can never question our loyalty. Our keyword searches? Sure. But not our loyalty.
Eighteen teams had a decrease in fan interest year-over-year, with the Cleveland Browns fans as the worst (-34%). Other teams that have struggled to maintain their fans’ enthusiasm include the New Orleans Saints (YOY drop of 28% interest), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-27%), and the New England Patriots (-26%).
Just look at Cincy's average attendance by year. A sellout is around 65,500 people.
There is one year (2022) where they averaged a sellout since 2008, four where they averaged less than 55k, and three where they averaged LESS THAN 50K! How is that loyal?
Now let's look at Browns fans. Our capacity is approximately 67,400.
Every single year we suck. Every single year we average a sellout. We have loyalty coming out of our lake effect snow covered, frostbitten ears. And Cleveland is just one example.
Bills fans? Ok. Chiefs fans? I can buy it. But Bengals fans. Give me a fucking break.
I'm not sure I ever saw a Cincy uniform or even a knock off shirsey while meandering around Ohio until the last few seasons. And like I said, I get it. You should be excited about Burrow and your squad. They're really fucking good.
But let's just not pretend like you weren't all doing yard work and watching golf on Sundays through those lean years down there. You already pretend like you're not a suburb of Kentucky and that slop you eat is actually chili, don't pretend about this too.