A recent Facebook study of NFL Fandom — Superbowl 2013 Edition — produced a map straight out of a Paul Ryan wet dream:
But instead of designating party affiliation, the colors on that map represent whether more Facebook users in a given part of the country have declared some sort of preference for the San Francisco 49ers or the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s big game:
Facebook data-science intern Sean Taylor analyzed patterns in the numbers of people who “like” the team pages of various NFL organizations, including the Super Bowl-bound 49ers and Baltimore Ravens. In all, some 35 million U.S.-based Facebook users—more than one in 10 Americans—have declared their support for at least one team.
Leaving aside the country’s fandom as a whole, my first look went up to Seattle, where — I’ll admit — I was mildly surprised to see solid support for the Niners.
Sure, both teams hail from the West Coast, and play in the NFC — but the two teams don’t particularly like one another. A lot of Seahawks fans feel Seattle was as good as, if not better than, San Francisco. Obviously, the Niners went into Atlanta and took care of the business the Hawks couldn’t, but the two teams have a competitive relationship: they play in the same division, feature dynamic young quarterbacks and, bruising hard-hitting defenses, and are both led by coaches who are generally disliked outside around the NFL.
The teams’ first meeting this season was a nail-biter; the second was a blowout. The 49ers won the division (and the second seed, and home-field advantage) by just half a game — thanks to a tie in St. Louis. There’s no tying in football! Come on!*
Meanwhile, there are solid reasons to root for the Ravens. Sure, the team’s inspiration probably killed someone and just today was implicated in illegal steroid use, but who doesn’t love an underdog? Baltimore knocked off heavy favorites in Denver and Boston — personally, I’ll be pulling for them come Sunday.
But then it all started to make a little more sense. I was reading an article about the Seahawks on NW Sports Beat — that ‘NW’ stands for Northwest; in other words, the Seahawks’ home turf; in other words, the last place one might expect to find something of this nature — when I noticed this innocuous advertisement blatant attempt at brainwashing:
Less than a month to go until Purim (that would be Feb 23, for those of you who don’t have it on your calendars), so time to bust out my favorite seasonal joke: “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?”
*Obligatory reminder that Arrested Development is coming back to Netflix in early May.