Matt Birk or Randy Moss? Facebook Map Shows Minnesota NFL Fan Allegiances
Leading up to the Super Bowl, the 49ers and Ravens have Minnesota pro football fans split on the victor. Two former Vikings standouts, one on each squad, also complicate things.
Even if the Vikings haven't been able to reach the Super Bowl in more than three decades, Minnesota fans have an interest in this year's big game.
Former All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss, who the Vikings drafted in 1998, is lacing up for the San Francisco 49ers Sunday.
Meanwhile, Matt Birk, a Minnesota native and longtime Viking offensive lineman, has his first (and probably only) shot at a ring since coming into the league.
A new map created by Facebook's Data Science team shows the 49ers fanbase stretches from the California coast well into the Midwest. But, in Minnesota, there are pockets of Ravens fans begin to crop up.
The analysis of 35 million Facebook users who have "liked" a National Football League team fan page paints a colorful picture of allegiances, hometown favorites and rivalries in the NFL.
The graphics, done down to a county level, show more Northern California support for the Niners than the Oakland Raiders during the NFL regular season, but the Raiders' have a fan base that stretches into Nevada and Oregon.
Deadspin.com calls it "the most accurate NFL fandom map ever created" and draws some interesting conclusions.
The map is compiled by Data Science team intern Sean J. Taylor. It also shows how allegiances changed as teams were eliminated during the playoffs—right down to this weekend's 49ers vs. Ravens Superbowl match-up.
Baltimore's fanbase appears strongest in the Mid-Atlantic and South, whereas San Francisco has supporters all the way to the banks of the Mississippi and in the Northeast.
Taylor's analysis even shows the top five fan-friendship teams. San Francisco fans, for example, are most likely to have friends who back Oakland, Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Diego and New England.