An annual Harris Poll that measures America’s love for pro football and the teams that play it reveals that, in 2011, the Pittsburgh Steelers have jumped ahead of the Green Bay Packers to become America’s second-favorite team (after, of course, the Dallas Cowboys). Consider it a consolation for the loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, Pittsburgh folk. Hooray?

The results were generally quite predictable, and with only 2,462 adults surveyed, there’s an uncited margin of error that sees teams jump multiple spots perennially, so we’re trying not to lend much credence to the final tally. Still, it’s rather interesting that two of the biggest droppers from 2010 to 2009 were the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

Indy held the No. 2 spot last year at this time, but it sunk all the way to sixth this year. New Orleans plummeted from fifth to 11th.

It’s probably no coincidence that those two teams met in the Super Bowl to cap the 2009 NFL season. And while neither fell off a cliff in 2010, neither got out of the wild-card round of the playoffs this past January.

What does this mean? America is riddled with bandwagon jumpers who bail as soon as the winning buzz has been harshed. It’s the same reason the Arizona Cardinals jumped eight spots the fall after they lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII and the Seahawks rose all the way from 24th to 12th after playing in their first Super Bowl in 2006. The ‘Hawks and Cards have both lost fan steam since (Seattle has dropped all the way to 27th).

It would be easy to tie the results to Indy’s 0-4 start, but the poll was conducted between Sept. 12-19, just after Week 1. I doubt one terrible loss to Houston was enough to sink the Colts in the survey, but the combination of Super Bowl Fever fading, Peyton Manning’s injury (announced the week prior) and that loss might have steered on-the-fence fans in alternative directions.

Also of note from the survey:

  • I was surprised to see that the “Dream Team” Eagles didn’t rise more than a single spot (13th to 12th) one year after Michael Vick’s phenomenal season and one month after they took the world of free agency by storm.
  • The Lions rose 11 spots, busting into the top 20 for the first time since 2006. I guess people could see the breakout coming. Two percent of fans also predicted that Detroit would win the Super Bowl this year.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars finished dead last for the third consecutive year.
  • Your average football fan is essentially a 50-year-old Republican male, but his race is a toss-up (black, white, Hispanic). More members of Generation X (35-46) watch NFL football than members of the Echo Boomer (18-34) generation, which seems a bit strange.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents said they follow professional football, a number that’s never been higher since Harris began conducting the survey in 1992. So it doesn’t appear the lockout hurt the sport.

(Via Yahoo! Shutdown Corner)

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