Study: Cowboys fans best in NFL; Dolphins worst

A new study from Emory University is sure to turn some heads and anger Dallas Cowboys demonizers all around the world.

The Cowboys are not only "America's Team", but they also have "the best fans" in the NFL according to Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi at Emory Sports Marketing Analytics. The authors define "best" as "the most avid, engaged, passionate and supportive fans."

However, the study relies heavily on market outcomes, like attendance, prices and revenues. So if a fan base spends more money on its team, then it's likely that fan base gets a higher ranking. Of course, that skews towards teams in big cities with more affluent populations -- hello, Dallas.

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Rounding out the top five are the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and, most surprisingly, New York Jets. Apparently, fans like winning (who knew?); the Patriots, Giants and Ravens have combined for eight Super Bowl wins since 2000. While the Jets don't win consistently, they play in the top media market in the country, and they're always entertaining, for better or worse.

Surely, every team's fans have grounds to protest the study. The Seahawks faithful -- or the 12s -- came in 26th, despite making the Super Bowl two years in a row and staking claim to being the loudest fan base in the league. (Chiefs fans, who follow the 12s at No. 27, would beg to differ.)

Steelers fans are noted travelers -- they bring that Terrible Towel everywhere -- but Pittsburgh's supporters are pretty average, ranking 14th in the study.

Ranked seventh in the league, Green Bay supporters are so dedicated that if you tried to order season tickets at Lambeau Field today, it would be nearly 1,000 years before you get off the wait list. Cheese doesn't stay fresh that long.

Coming in dead last are the Miami Dolphins. The study blames the Miami weather and Florida's transplant population for the team's woeful fan base, but it overlooks one key point: the Dolphins have been mediocre at best since Dan Marino retired in 1999. Why root for Daunte Culpepper and Tyler Thigpen when LeBron James is guaranteeing seven championships down the street?

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