Andy Nesbitt, a writer with USA Today's For The Win, might be the most-hated sportswriter in Texas right now. That's because he said that the Arizona Cardinals were not only the best team in football, but were more deserving of the title of "America's Team" than the franchise that has held that title for so many years: the Dallas Cowboys.
But while Nesbitt might not be welcome in the city of Dallas for a little while after that bold proclamation, he might actually be on to something. Never mind that the Cardinals are really, really good and are the only undefeated team left in football. More important is the fact that it would be hard to call a team "America's Team" if it also happened to be America's "most-hated" team... right?
Spoiler alert: according to one study, that title belongs to the Cowboys.
The study, conducted by the folks at BetOnline, was done by compiling "geo-tracked data on more than 400,000" tweets with negative phrases. You know... a team sucks, a team blows, "I hate" posts, and all the other delightful stuff that you'll find on Twitter. Most of that stuff is probably too explicit for us to even reference on here, so I'm kind of glad we don't have a sample of all the data.
From there, the hateful tweets were broken down by their location, so that the team with the highest percentage of hateful tweets in a certain state then became that team's "most-hated" team. Super scientific? No. Entertaining and probably fairly accurate? Sure.
That cluster of fellow NFC East states, unsurprisingly, has all their hatred and frustration coming out against the Cowboys, which is probably due to the fact that they're far and away the leaders of the pack. But the majority of the hate in Texas and surrounding states is focused on the Birds, which also is not a shocker to anyone involved. The two Bays — Tampa Bay and Green Bay — are also pretty widely hated, picking up six states apiece surrounding their homes. It kind of looks like a game of Risk, though the strongholds in Florida and Wisconsin have proven pretty tough to bring down so far.
It must be fun to hate the Jets, seeing as that's who a good amount of New England has chosen as its most-hated team. However, perhaps it's a little surprising that a team that doesn't serve as much of a threat to the Patriots is more hated than, say, the nearby Buffalo Bills. It's also kind of odd that Georgians, with so much of the population in Atlanta, would display more hatred for the Bucs than for the Saints. Perhaps that's because the data was collected throughout the preseason and the first six weeks of the regular season, and the Falcons and Saints have not yet met. The Falcons and the Bucs did meet, on the other hand, and Tampa Bay routed them for a 23-point victory... so mystery solved.
Oh, and why do Hawaiians so adamantly hate the Seahawks? And shouldn't Tennesseans hate a team in their division — the AFC South — more than they hate the Baltimore Ravens? And why does Wisconsin hate the Bears so much... don't they know that their quarterback owns the team?