By Barry Janoff
November 5, 2013: The Oakland Raiders are 3-5 and have given up 53 points more than they have scored and totaled just 17 touchdowns, but they have the "toughest" fans in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, are 5-3 following their 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night, have outscored their opponents by 47 points and have a total of 25 touchdowns, but have only the second toughest fans in the league.
The teams with the Top Ten "toughest fans" also include (in order) Philadelphia (Eagles), Pittsburgh (Steelers), Chicago (Bears), Dallas (Cowboys), New York (Giants/Jets), New England/Boston (Patriots), New Orleans (Saints) and Cleveland (Browns), according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Hanes apparel and Weber Shandwick.
The survey supports a new activation from Hanes in which it has joined with former player and current ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi to "give away thousands of Hanes ComfortBlend T-shirts, the brand's softest ever."
Hanes said it would conduct the campaign via Twitter and offer the T-shirts to people "who tweet @Hanes with #AmericasToughest and say why they think their city is the toughest" during a 14-week program. (Full details here.)
"Being a professional football player for 13 years, I've seen my share of tough fans in many different cities," Bruschi said in a statement. "And, we all know a tough guy who could use some softening up in his life. Hanes and I are going to have some fun this season and soften up these fans with Hanes ComfortBlend T-shirts."
A TV spot showing Bruschi's soft side — which includes watching romantic movies on TV — is part of the effort. (See the full spot here.)
According to Hanes, there are several factors that determine which NFL fans are the toughest. Among them:
• 84% of those surveyed agree that the toughest fans tailgate in the parking lot hours before and after home games.
"93% of professional football fans agree that the toughest fans head to the stadium even in some of the worst weather conditions to support their teams."
• 97% agree that the most loyal of fans continue to stand by their team even after a losing season.
• 79% said that the toughest fans open up their wallets to buy team merchandise and tickets regardless of the economic conditions.
82% said that the toughest fans travel to away games to support their team.
This survey was conducted online in the U.S. between Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2013, among 6,111 adults ages 18-plus.
Hanes has a separate "Tagless" campaign with Michael Jordan.
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