Sean J. Taylor of Facebook’s Data Science department put together this nifty map of the United States showing NFL team loyalty, county-by-county, according to Facebook likes:
For some reason, South Carolina really likes the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The map, which shows the most-liked team in each county, can be a bit confusing because of the need to use 32 colors. The Cowboys, Colts, and Patriots, for instance, are all shades of gray; the Bears and Giants are very similar shades of blue; and the Vikings and Ravens are nearly identical purples.
By my count, there are ten states in which every county favors the same team: the Vikings in Minnesota, Packers in Wisconsin, Saints in Louisiana, Broncos in Wyoming, and Steelers in Hawaii (?) account for half of those. The rest belong to the Patriots, who have unanimous support in five of the six New England states. (It helps when your team is named for a region of small states.)
Taylor then broke down Facebook likes for the two teams in the Super Bowl and created this map showing which counties support the 49ers and which support the Ravens:
Granted, there are no doubt millions of football fans who have a preference in Sunday’s game but wouldn’t identify themselves as fans of either team, or bother to like either team on Facebook.
Taylor’s research also looks at when teams get most of their likes and examines friendships between fans. Packers fans, for instance, tend to have a lot of Facebook friends who are Bears fans. (It’s great to know that people can set aside their differences long enough to accept each other’s friend requests.)