LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 27: Marcus Mason #32 of the Washington Redskins is tackled during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on December 27, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Cowboys defeated the Redskins 17-0. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
The Redskins lag far, far behind opening game rivals and ownership-besties the Dallas Cowboys in the first-ever Neilson rankings of NFL teams. But hey, look on the bright side: the 'Skins double the share of the Bucs and Jags combined!
The media research firm's so-called Popularity Index, which calculates local team ratings, gross national TV audience, online buzz volume, and monthly unique visitors to official team websites, places the 'Skins and their score of 55 in 11th place in the NFL.
That's just short of the New England Patriots (58), and just ahead of -- the Denver Broncos? Apparently Tim Tebow can work miracles...
But so can Jerral Jones. Dallas notched a perfect 100, a "stunning" 23 percent more popular than the No. 2 Steelers. The Cowboys' team website even draws almost 50 percent more unique visitors per month than Pittsburgh's.
Bill Wanger, VP of programming and research at Fox Sports Media Group, informed the Wall Street Journal this is because the Cowboys are one of a handful of "national-appeal teams" that pull massive ratings regardless of viewing market.
Janie Campbell, VP of authoring this article, points out that's probably because half of America is tuning in hoping to see them pelted by hail, Tony Romo get vertically split in half, and their famous cheerleaders reduced to pillars of salt.
But maybe that's just her.
What do Neilson rankings mean for Washington? Nothing, really, short of satisfactorally and scientifically proving that Texas is very flat and very boring. The rankings also hint that, despite their popularity, the product is such that few outside the DMV actually want to watch them.
But despite having less national appeal, less online interest, fewer hits to their website, and a history of over-spending that would make the Korean Paris Hilton blush, the Redskins still remain the most profitable team in the NFL, with an operating income 50 percent higher than that of the Cowboys.
Guess we'll have to settle this stat-swinging contest on the field after all.