October 7, 2009: The Dallas Cowboys may not be winning all of their games, but they have won over football fans, placing as the No. 1 favorite team for the third consecutive year in a new Harris Poll, survey, conducted by Harris Interactive. However, even NFL fans can turn on their favorite team, and the Cowboys in the same poll were selected by just 6% of those who responded to win Super Bowl XLIV.
Right behind the Cowboys as America's favorite NFL team were the defending Super Bowl XLIII champion Pittsburgh Steelers (up from No. 4 in 2008), the Chicago Bears (up from No. 6), Indianapolis Colts (down from No. 3) and the New England Patriots (down from No. 2 despite going 15-1 in 2008).
The Cowboys were 9-7 last season and failed to make the playoffs and are 2-2 through four games this season, but have generated national attention and TV coverage via the opening of their $1 billion Cowboys Stadium. The team has now been named America's favorite team in The Harris Poll six times in ten surveys since 1998 (the poll was not conducted in 2001 due to the events of 9/11). A full list of this year's favorite NFL teams is below.
The Steelers were selected as the team most likely to win Super Bowl XLIV this February in Miami and successfully defend their crown by 19% of those who responded.The Patriots came in second, with 17% picking the team to win the next NFL title game. They were followed by the Colts (7%), Cowboys (6%), and the Bears, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles (5% each).
However, as the poll was conducted Sept. 8-15, the results could not take into account the 4-0 starts (heading into games of Oct. 11) by the Colts, Giants, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings (picked by only 4% of respondents to win Super Bowl XLIV), New Orleans Saints (2%), and Denver Broncos (1%); or the 3-1 start by the New York Jets (1%) and San Francisco 49ers (which no one selected to win the next Super Bowl).
Among the biggest winners and losers in the "favorite team" section were the Tennessee Titans, who moved up to No. 9 from No. 25 in last year's poll (but have started the 2009 season at 0-4); the Atlanta Falcons at No. 13 after coming in No. 27; the Arizona Cardinals, which moved up to No. 16 from No. 24 after reaching Super Bowl XLIII; the Jets, which dropped from a tie at No. 9 to No. 20; the Washington Redskins, now at No. 17 after tying for No. 9 in 2008; and the Oakland Raiders, which dropped from No. 13 to No. 21.
Among other results in The Harris Poll:
• 51% of respondents said they follow pro football
• 61% of fans are men, 39% are women
• 55% of baby boomers (ages 45-63) are pro football fans
• 53% of Gen X (33-44) and matures (64+), respectively, are fans
* 43% of echo boomers (18-32) are fans of pro football
* 59% of Republicans and 50 of Democrats are fans
• 63% of African Americans are fans of pro football
• 51% of Hispanics and 50% of Whites are fans
The Harris Poll was conducted among 2,334 adults (18 and older), of whom 1,194 said they follow professional football, surveyed online between Sept. 8-15, 2009 by Harris Interactive.
Source: The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive