The Miami Dolphins are the 21st most popular NFL team this year, or if you want to be more negative about it they're the 12th least popular. That's the lowest point the Dolphins have ever found themselves in the ratings since Harris Interactive began keeping track of such things in 1998. The good news for the 'Fins is that they're still, by far, the most popular football team in Florida. Three cheers for being the most popular out of a pack of mediocrity!
The Dolphins sit at 21 this year. That's their lowest ranking ever. For the first two years Harris has data, 1998 and 1999, the 'Fins were the sixth most popular team in all the land. That was back during the last years of the Dan Marino days.
Since Marino retired in '99 the team has apparently struggled just as much to find an identity that excited fans almost as much as they've struggled to find a quarterback. Following Marino's retirement, the team fell to 14th, and though there's been ups and downs since, the team has slowly trended downward in popularity.
Despite desperate efforts under owner Stephen M. Ross to drum up publicity and fan excitement, including celebrity minority-owners, the team now sits in the popularity contest doldrums. Even lower than following the disastrous one-win 2007 season.
The survey though confirms the existence of bandwagon fans. The New Orleans Saints are now the fifth most popular team this year, after being ranked 24th last year. That's what a Super Bowl ring will do. So all the 'Fins have to do to increase their stock is win a Super Bowl. Funny how that works.
The kind of good news is that the Fins are still the most popular football team in Florida. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come in at 27, while the poor Jacksonville Jaguars spend their second year in a row (and fifth all time) as the least popular team in NFL.
The Dolphins are also doing better than the Marlins. Back in July, Harris released similar statistics for baseball teams. The Marlins came in 29th out of 30th. The only team lower was the Toronto Blue Jays, but the poll did not survey Canadian fans.
The poll was taking between September 14th and 20th of this year, and includes responses from adults across the country who indicated that they follow football. It's kind of interesting to note that the 'Fins had won both games that had gone by during polling, and still managed to pull such low popularity.
The poll also asked respondents who they thought would win the Super Bowl. Only one percent believed the 'Fins would.
For the fourth year in a row the most popular team remains the Dallas Cowboys, while the New Orleans Saints are the favorites for a Super Bowl win.
[View the PDF here]