In the Chicago Bears roast thread, 69memelordharambe420 posted “There are more Bears than Bears fans.” That got me thinking: Is that true? And more generally, which teams have fewer fans than there exist whatever they’re named after?
To start, I needed a rough estimate of the number of NFL fans in the world. This turned out to be difficult to find. I found several reasonable estimates that ranged from 200,000,000 to 400,000,000, but the average estimate seems to be about 300,000,000, so I decided to go with that. If you prefer a different estimate, you can easily scale all of the final numbers up or down as needed.
Of those 300,000,000, about 90%, or 270,000,000, consider themselves fans of one team in particular. To find out how these 270,000,000 fans apportion themselves among the 32 teams, I used this page, which lists how many likes each team has on Facebook (it lists the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers but still has accurate numbers for the Facebook likes, I checked), and calculated the total number of likes across the 32 teams: 91,712,968. Then, I took the number of likes for each team and multiplied it by 270,000,000/91,712,968 (then rounded to the nearest whole number) to get the best estimate that I was realistically going to be able to get for the total number of fans that each team has. Here are my results:
Bears: There are roughly 12,092,476 Bears fans. There are eight species of bear, plus the grizzly-polar hybrid. I won’t go through all of my calculations, but I came up with a final number of 1,148,364. There are more Bears fans than bears.
Lions: There are roughly 5,642,181 Lions fans. The worldwide lion population is somewhere around 20,000. There are more Lions fans than lions.
Packers: There are roughly 16,024,215 Packers fans. I don’t really feel like doing extensive research on the worldwide meatpacking industry, but the U.S. meatpacking industry employs about 148,100 and there is no way that there are a hundred times that number outside of the country. There are more Packers fans than packers.
Vikings: There are roughly 6,200,740 Vikings fans. The Viking Age ended nearly a millennium ago. There are more Vikings fans than Vikings.
Cowboys: There are roughly 25,758,315 Cowboys fans. There are currently less than 9,730 cowboys in the United States. Again, there’s no way there are over a thousand times more cowboys elsewhere. There are more Cowboys fans than cowboys.
Eagles: There are roughly 8,888,974 Eagles fans. This one was a lot harder than I was anticipating, but there are 60 different species of eagle. Two of the most common are the bald eagle (70,000 in the world) and the most common eagle in Europe, the spotted eagle (40,000 in the world). Based on this, I highly doubt that the average eagle species has a worldwide population of more than 100,000, an estimate which would yield a total eagle population across all species of 6,000,000 (remember, this is most likely a wild overestimate). There are almost certainly more Eagles fans than eagles.
Giants: There are roughly 11,690,931 Giants fans. Giants are mythological creatures. There are more Giants fans than giants.
Redskins: I’m not touching this one.
Buccaneers: There are roughly 2,779,276 Buccaneers fans. According to Wikipedia, the term “buccaneer” refers specifically to Caribbean pirates of the 17th and 18th century. They’re all dead. There are more Buccaneers fans than buccaneers.
Falcons: There are roughly 6,009,462 Falcons fans. The common kestrel (5,000,000 worldwide) and Merlin (1,300,000 worldwide) alone cover this number, according to this list. There are more falcons than Falcons fans.
Panthers: There are roughly 7,034,101 Panthers fans. “Panther” is kind of a loosely defined term, but the genus Panthera includes tigers (3,890 worldwide), lions (20,000), jaguars (15,000), leopards (250,000), and snow leopards (6,000). That adds up to 294,890. There are more Panthers fans than panthers.
Saints: There are roughly 11,930,352 Saints fans. For this study, I’ve only been counting living things, and you have to die to become a saint. Not that it really matters, since the Catholic Church has only canonized about 10,000 people anyway. There are more Saints fans than saints.
49ers: There are roughly 12,383,284 49ers fans. “49ers” refers to people who partook in the 1849 California gold rush. The oldest living person was born in 1900. All of the 49ers are dead. There are more 49ers fans than 49ers.
Cardinals: There are roughly 4,279,156 Cardinals fans. There are about 120,000,000 northern cardinals alone. There are more cardinals than Cardinals fans.
Rams: There are roughly 2,327,583 Rams fans. A ram can refer to either a male sheep or a male goat (note to all of the Patriots fans about to make what they think is a super clever comment: just stop). There are over a billion sheep in the world and nearly as many goats. This isn’t even close. There are more rams than Rams fans.
Seahawks: There are roughly 11,993,609 Seahawks fans. A seahawk is another name for an osprey, of which there are fewer than 100,000 in the world. There are more Seahawks fans than seahawks.
Bengals: There are roughly 3,517,293 Bengals fans. There are 2,500 Bengal tigers left (to be honest I’m just going to stop posting sources when the information is a single search away because I’m already tired of this and I still have half the league to go). There are more Bengals fans than Bengals.
Browns: There are roughly 3,738,429 Browns fans for some reason. The Browns are named after someone whose last name was Brown. In the United States, there are about 1,552,500 people with that last name. The majority of the people who speak English as a first language live in the United States, so it’s very likely that the majority of Browns do as well. There are probably more Browns fans than Browns.
Ravens: There are roughly 6,927,791 Ravens fans. There are 20,000,000 common ravens alone.. There are more ravens than Ravens fans.
Steelers: There are roughly 19,179,380 Steelers fans. There are only about 87,000 or so steel workers in the United States, and I’m just once again going to extrapolate and say that there aren’t several hundred times more than that outside of the USA. There are probably more Steelers fans than steelers.
Bills: There are roughly 2,533,838 Bills fans. The Buffalo Bills were named after Buffalo Bill, so it makes sense to use the number of people named Bill. There are about 3,002,475 people in the United States named William. Using the same logic as we did with the Browns suggests that there are roughly twice as many Williams in the world as Bills fans, so we’d need at least half of all Williams to go by Bill. Especially considering how many common nicknames for William there are, this seems unlikely. There are probably more Bills fans than Bills.
Dolphins: There are roughly 6,637,669 Dolphins fans. I was somewhat surprised to learn this, but we don’t really have much of an idea how many dolphins there are in the world (the ocean is, like, really big). My standards for reputable sources have fallen so far at this point in this regrettable project that I’m just going to use Quora, where “Patricia Barquin, Enthusiast” believes that there are well over seven million. So there are probably more dolphins than Dolphins fans. Whatever.
Jets: There are roughly 5,824,758 Jets fans. Apparently, there are about 20,000 commercial airplanes in the world. A lot of those are not jets, but there are also a bunch of private jets. Either way, there’s no way the number of jets is in the millions. There are more Jets fans than jets.
Patriots: There are roughly 20,653,722 Patriots fans. A Gallup poll from last July found that 52% of Americans are proud to be Americans, so there are way more than twenty million people in the U.S. who consider themselves patriots, which is good enough for me. Yeah, we’ve had an ugly election since then but considering that the president still has an approval rating in the 30s, there’s zero chance that the percentage of Americans who are patriots is less than 10%. There are more patriots than Patriots fans.
Colts: There are roughly 6,689,254 Colts fans. A Colt) is a male horse under the age of four. There are 58,000,000 horses in the world. The lifespan of a horse in the wild is about 15-20 years (we’ll take an average of 17.5 years) and I do not feel like doing in-depth research into the horse industry so I’m just going to assume that the 58,000,000 horses are distributed evenly by sex and age. That would mean 29,000,000 male horses, of which about 6,628,571 would be under the age of four. This is ridiculously close, but using my obviously extremely accurate numbers it looks like there are more Colts fans than colts!
Jaguars: There are roughly 1,748,475 Jaguars fans, significantly higher than my initial guess of 87. As I said earlier, there are about 15,000 jaguars in the world. There are more Jaguars fans than jaguars.
Texans: There are roughly 6,484,945 Texans fans. Texas has a population of about 27,470,000. There are more Texans than Texans fans.
Titans: There are roughly 2,737,981 Titans fans. Titans are mythological creatures. There are only 26 of them anyway. There are more Titans fans than Titans.
Broncos: There are roughly 13,082,453 Broncos fans. A bronco is apparently just a name for an untrained horse. The vast majority of the world’s 58,000,000 horses are domestic horses, and I’m just going to assume that most of those are trained because I don’t know why they wouldn’t be and also I am extremely sick of looking all of this stuff up. It would be convenient if Reddit had an option to save drafts of posts but it doesn’t appear to. Anyway, the vast majority of horses are not broncos, so that means that there are probably more Broncos fans than broncos.
Chargers: There are roughly 4,700,430 Chargers fans. The Los Angeles Chargers don’t seem to have been named after an actual thing, so I’ll improvise. I own several chargers. So does everyone I know. Considering how ubiquitous electronic devices are, there have to be billions of chargers. There are more chargers than Chargers fans.
Chiefs: There are roughly 4,568,973 Chiefs fans. Chief is an honorary title used by a lot or organizations, but do they combine to account for one out of every 2000 people or so in the world? I doubt it. There are probably more Chiefs fans than Chiefs.
Raiders: There are roughly 10,099,869 Raiders fans. Meanwhile, a “raider” isn’t really an actual thing. It’s pretty much only used for sports teams. There are more Raiders fans than raiders, I guess.
Summary: So the teams with fewer fans than their namesakes are:
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
Los Angeles Chargers
Make of that what you will.
Conclusion: Turns out that there are a lot of birds in the world.