News & Politics

Surprise! Redskins Fans Aren’t the Most Unhappy in the NFL

Photograph via Shutterstock.

Washington’s NFL team has failed yet again. Despite a preseason during which it made every attempt to zap its supporters of their dignity, it fell short in making its fans the most miserable bunch of mopes in all of professional football. According to Facebook, four teams—the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and San Diego Chargers—have fan bases sadder than Washington’s.

Chart courtesy Facebook.

To compile the happiness index, Facebook’s data scientists analyzed all NFL-related updates users posted during the preseason, between July 22 and September 7, and sorted them according to how positive or negative they were, Facebook data editor Robert D’Onofrio writes. This enabled us to compare and rank all 32 NFL teams by how positive the overall conversation among each fan base was during the preseason, as well as look more closely at trends over time for specific teams,” he writes.

The Patriots’ low standing, for instance, might be explained by their permanently aggrieved fans forgetting a recent Super Bowl victory* in favor of entire summer’s worth of complaining about allegations of dishonest play on the part of their imperious head coach and Trump-friendly quarterback.

While the full league’s fan-happiness rankings show only aggregate moods, Facebook broke down day-by-day happiness for each division, and the resulting chart for the NFC East shows Washington never brightened its fans mood. While the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys opened training camp providing their fans nearly equal levels of happiness, Washington started well below.

Chart courtesy Facebook.

And then it got much worse. While other teams dipped and spiked depending on the news of the day—Frank Gifford‘s death on August 9 was the saddest moment for Giants fans—Washington’s fans kept falling. The nadir came August 31, when the team announced that Kirk Cousins would replace Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.