Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports

That sound you just heard was the collective groan of millions of football fans that don’t reside deep in the heart of Texas. According to a study conducted by two professors from Emory University, the Dallas Cowboys have the best fan base in the NFL. The two professors, Mike Lewis and Manish Tripathi, named the study “2015 NFL Fan Equity Ranking” and used the following criteria to evaluate how NFL teams’ fanbases ranked against one another.

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From The Fan Equity Study:

“In terms of the nuts and bolts of what we are about to present, we use fifteen years of data on NFL team performance, ticket prices, market populations, median incomes, won-loss records and multiple other factors. We create statistical models of box office revenue, and then see which teams over- and under- perform the model’s predictions.” 

“The winner this year is the Dallas Cowboys followed by the Patriots, Giants, Ravens, and Jets. The Cowboys have a storied history, a market that loves all forms of football, and a world-class stadium.”

Here’s the complete list ranking each of the NFL’s 32 teams’ fans:

1. Cowboys
2. Patriots
3. Giants
4. Ravens
5. Jets
6. Bears
7. Packers
8. Saints
9. Colts
10. 49ers
11. Eagles
12. Texans
13. Broncos
14. Steelers
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Chargers
18. Vikings
19. Cardinals
20. Falcons
21. Buccaneers
22. Panthers
23. Rams
24. Bengals
25. Lions
26. Seahawks
27. Chiefs
28. Bills
29. Jaguars
30. Raiders
31. Browns
32. Dolphins

If there’s one thing fans of teams that found their squad towards the bottom of the list can argue, it’s that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Cowboys fans are the most passionate fans. The study was based strongly on teams’ revenue and didn’t include other factors, among them social media followings and other categories that could show how passionately fans follow their teams. The two professors, likely in an effort to avoid piles of hate mail from a bunch of cities that are known for the ravenous support of their NFL teams.

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From The Fan Equity Study:

“Maybe the biggest surprise is some of the teams that aren’t at the top. The Steelers and Packers have great fan followings. The Seahawks are slowly developing a great fan base. And these teams will do better when we switch to non-financial metrics such as social media following. But for the current “revenue premium” model these teams just don’t price high enough. In a way, these teams with massive season ticket waiting lists are the most supportive of their fans.”

Still, according to the website fanpagelist.com, the Cowboys still top the charts in social media following as well. While the New England Patriots’ Twitter account has more followers than the Cowboys’, Dallas still has the biggest Facebook following with just over 8 million fans. The Steelers and the Packers, both of whom were mentioned as having a strong online presence in the report, checked in at No. 4 and No.5 on the social media page list, respectively.

From The Fan Equity Study:

“On the other side of the coin, the teams that ranked towards the bottom of the list mainly come from the cities that have always struggled to support their NFL teams and have been the speculation of relocation for many years. The study also acknowledged this, At the bottom we have the Bills, Jags, Raiders, Browns and Dolphins. There are some interesting and storied teams on this list. The Raiders have a ton of passion in the end zone but maybe not throughout the stadium. Cleveland may have never recovered from the loss of the Ravens, and the recreation of the Browns. Florida is almost always a problem on our lists. Whether it is the weather or the fact that many of the locals are transplants that didn’t grow up with the team, Florida teams just don’t get the support of teams in other regions.”

For Cowboys fans, this is another notch on the old belt confirming that they love their team, but for NFL fans around the country who hate on Jerry Jones’ team, this is just more fuel thrown on the fire and more of a reason to dislike “America’s Team.” How ’bout them Cowboys?

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.

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Questions or comments? Feel free to follow Bryan on Twitter or send him an email