By Barry Janoff
October 22, 2015: Owner Jerry Jones loves to call them "America's Team."
Now, despite early season injuries to such key players as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, not winning a Super Bowl since the 1995 season and having lost in the divisional playoffs last season, the Dallas Cowboys are back on top as America's favorite NFL team.
However, it was the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots that were picked to win the historic Super Bowl 50 this coming February, according to a just-released Harris Poll from Harris Interactive.
The Top Ten includes the Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Patriots, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.
The next ten are the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions.
Following them: New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.
The Bottom Five in the 2015 survey are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Cowboys dropped to No. 4 in last year's Harris Poll after having been tapped as the favorite NFL team in the previous six surveys.
The Broncos, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, were the No. 1 team in the 2014 Harris Poll but dropped to No. 4 this year.
The Patriots, by virtue of winning Super Bowl XLIX and in spite of "deflate-gate" involving head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, moved up from No. 8 last year to a tie for No. 2 with the Packers.
The Giants dropped from No. 2 in 2014 to No. 8.
The Rams and Chargers are two of the three franchises, along with the Raiders, involved in talks to possibly relocate to Los Angeles.
Outside of Jacksonville, the Jaguars might actually have a stronger fan base in the U.K. than in the U.S. Dating back to 2013, the Jags have played three games in London's Wembley Stadium, including this Sunday's game (Oct. 25) against the Buffalo Bills, and are scheduled to play there again in 2016.
However, the Jaguars have been at the bottom of the list as NFL favorite fan teams on 11 of the last 12 polls.
The Patriots were named by 23% of those surveyed as favorites to win Super Bowl 50.
The Top Ten also included the Seahawks (15%), Packers (13%), Broncos (7%), Cowboys (7%), Steelers (4%), Colts (4%), Giants (3%), Ravens (3%) and Cardinals (3%).
Although the Cowboys were No. 1 in the poll overall, the Patriots were named as the favorite NFL team by men and the Packers were named No. 1 by women as well as fans ages 18-24 and 65-plus.
The Steelers were No. 1 among those surveyed ages 25-29; the Cowboys were favored by people ages 30-64 and by fans who identified as being African-American and also those of Hispanic heritage.
The Cowboys are also the most valuable franchise in the NFL, at $4 billion, according to Forbes. The Patriots are No. 2 at $3.2 billion.
The Harris Poll has good news for the NFL and marketers who will be showing ads on CBS during Super Bowl 50, scheduled for Feb. 7, 2016 in Levi's Stadium (home for the 49ers).
Three-quarters of those surveyed said they planned to watch the Big Game, with 60% saying they watch on TV either at their home of the home of a friend. And 74% said that they have "high expectations" for the halftime show (with the performing acts yet to be named).
Also good news for the NFL: Despite its challenging situations regarding domestic violence, child abuse, concussions and other health issues, 58% of those surveyed said the followed pro football, the most since 2012 (59%) and up dramatically from The Harris Poll in 2006 (48%).
The Harris Poll was conducted online between Sept. 9-17, 2015, among 2,368 U.S. adults, along with representative over-samples of 511 Hispanic Americans (interviewed in English and Spanish) and 179 Asian Americans (interviewed in English).
Harris Poll: NFL Takes A Hit But Still No. 1 Over MLB
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