Local News

Controversy swirled around the NFL earlier this year after PBS aired a documentary about the long-term effects of concussions on football players.

Yet the league is wildly popular—Forbes estimated in August that the NFL would have a revenue this year of $9 billion, the largest of any sports league.

So, this Sunday, it’s safe to bet that many Kentucky households will be tuned to NFL games. 

Kentucky doesn’t have much history with hosting professional football teams—though there is the complicated story of the Louisville Brecks. But 64 percent of Americans were watching the NFL in 2011, and the league is reporting nothing but growth since then.

So, in a state where sports loyalties can be fierce, who are these Kentucky NFL fans cheering for?

The question was asked of Kentucky voters (it was mostly a political poll) by Public Policy Polling.  The answer is complicated.

The Cincinnati Bengals were the answer for a quarter of the survey respondents chose. Makes sense, since the franchise is geographically the closest.

But 11 percent—the next most—chose the Dallas Cowboys, who are based about 580 miles from Kentucky’s most southwestern point. The Cowboys—often called “America’s Team”—are the most popular NFL franchise in the U.S., according to an October Harris Poll.

Here’s more, including comparisons to PPP’s polling on the same topic from last year and 2011:

Some notes: The teams above were the only options given; 28 percent of respondents to the PPP poll said they either followed another team or weren’t football fans.