According to a new study conducted by an Emory University professor, Dolphins fans rank pretty much exactly where the Dolphins have on the field for the last two decades: right smack-dab in the middle. For a team that routinely finishes 7-9, having the 14th-best fans actually makes a lot of sense. With the upcoming season just a few weeks away, the Fins and their fans have a chance to shoot higher this year.
The study, which author Michael Lewis says offers a scientific basis for determining the "best" fanbase in the NFL, considered the average of three main criteria: fan equity (tickets sold and overall financial support), social media equity (fans' participation in online communities such as Twitter and Facebook), and road equity (how well fans travel to away games).
The Dolphins ranked as the 15th best team in financial support, 23rd best at social media participation, and ninth best in fans traveling out of South Florida. Add those rankings together and you get a mighty mediocre average of the 14th-best fans in the NFL.
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As you might expect, the Dallas Cowboys claimed the top spot in the study, followed by the two teams that met in the Super Bowl last season: the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Last on the list were the Tennessee Titans, the Los Angeles Rams, and surprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs. As far as the AFC East goes, Dolphins fans beat out the New York Jets (15th) and the Buffalo Bills (18th).
While 14th best isn't the worst ranking, it would be hard to blame Dolphins fans for investing less and less money, time, and resources into the team. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since 2000, and have only made it to the postseason three times in the last 18 years.
Considering Dan Marino will turn 57 in September and the Dolphins have won only a single playoff game since he retired, it's not surprising that Fins fans aren't that motivated to tweet about their team.
But if there is one thing we know about Miami fans, it's if the Dolphins start winning, their supporters will begin to creep up lists like these. Like it or not, Miami loves a winner. The Dolphins haven't been a winner in a long time, so a 14th-best ranking in fan support isn't actually all that bad.