The state line between Illinois and Wisconsin is NOT where Chicago Bears fans separate from Green Bay Packers fans. That line is a little north of the border, probably just north of Kenosha, which sits 35 miles south of Milwaukee and 50 miles north of Chicago.
There must be other landmarks of that sort around the country, especially in the Northeast, where there are many National Football League teams to cheer and so many tiny states to do the cheering.
And you have to wonder about states with two or more NFL teams. What community in Pennsylvania marks the Mason-Dixon Line between Philadelphia Eagles fans and Pittsburgh Steelers fans? How far north do you go from Manhattan before hitting Buffalo Bills country? How do the Miami Dolphins and Tampa bay Buccaneers share the state of Florida (which assumes correctly there are no Jacksonville Jaguar fans to be concerned with)?
This question comes up thanks to a new study by Vivid Seats, a new website that sells tickets for upcoming events, sports or otherwise. Vivid Seats collected data on the sale of NFL tickets and by using the billing addresses on ticket orders determined which teams are most popular in each state of the union.
To begin, only 22 states serve as host cities to NFL teams. There are some peculiarities in saying that; for instance, the Kansas City Chiefs play in Kansas City, Missouri, so Kansas does not really host a team. The Washington Redskins represent the nation’s capital, but play their home games in Maryland. The Carolina Panthers want to represent both North and South Carolina, but play homes in North Carolina.
Both the New York Giants and the New York Jets play their home games in New Jersey, so you can quibble over who gets to claim them.
Also, seven states host at least two teams – New York (Buffalo and those New Jersey outliers), Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri and California.
So let’s look at those first. According to Vivid Seats, the Bills win New York, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Florida, the Cleveland Browns claim Ohio, the Eagles get Pennsylvania, the Cowboys get Texas, the Chiefs get Missouri and the San Diego Chargers get California.
However, both New Jersey and Connecticut claim the New York Giants (the Jets get no statewide love). The Miami dolphins and the Jaguars are not favored anywhere. Location allows the Cincinnati Bengals to claim Kentucky. The Pittsburgh Steelers get West Virginia. The Houston Texans are blanked. The St. Louis Rams get no nods. The San Francisco 49ers get Hawaii, because Hawaii has to claim some team.
Overall, those darn New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, last year’s Super Bowl combatants, lead the league by getting the overall approval of five states. For New England, it is Massachusetts, Rhode Island (Foxboro is very close), New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Seattle gets Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.
The Dallas Cowboys lay claim to four states – Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The Kansas City Chiefs get three others besides Missouri, including Kansas (that’s cheating), Iowa and Nebraska.
The Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings get three each, but the Vikings might be cheating, too, since they get to claim both North and South Dakota as fan bases.
The six teams not getting to claim a state are Jacksonville, Miami, the Jets, the Oakland Raiders, the Texans and the Rams.