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Poll: Record number of Americans follow pro football

The NFL's lockout of players last year didn't dent the league's popularity. Neither did this year's lockout of officials.

The Harris Poll conducted a survey last week in the three days following the "Monday Night Football" replacement officials fiasco. The results: 59 percent of the country follows football. That's a record number.

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"Football remains popular and even shows a rise in interest since last year," the poll stated. "In 2011, over half of Americans (55 percent) said they followed professional football -- a slight increase from 2010, when 53 percent said so. This year, that number rises further, with 59 percent of Americans saying they follow professional football; this is the highest percentage to indicate this since The Harris Poll first started asking the question in 1992."

Television ratings support the numbers. The NFL had the top two programs during television's "premiere week" of prime-time programming. All the prime-time football properties are up in ratings this year in a climate where all television ratings decline. Just nine shows have topped 20 million viewers since Labor Day: Eight football games and the NCIS premiere.

This is the type of post that is uncomfortable for me to write at this job. It's like YES Network's airing of "Yankee Classics." (Spoiler alert: The Yankees win.) But these are the sort of posts I'd write at my last gig, and football's massive popularity is the only reason I've had any gig for the last nine years. Not recognizing the popularity is silly. I'm grateful.

Oh, and NCIS. Really? (Sorry, New York Times).

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