It’s pretty typical for National Football League fans to call their team the league favorite. Pittsburgh Steelers fans dub the country “Steeler Nation,” the Dallas Cowboys cite studies that say they are the most popular NFL team, and the New England Patriots call themselves America’s true football squad.
What really matters, though, is who shows up at game time and which fans are willing to travel the distance and pay the big bucks to support their teams, even when they are are away. Luckily, it’s easy to figure out: ESPN publishes fan attendance statistics for every game, showing which teams pack the biggest crowds. Of course, each stadium holds different numbers, so that has to be taken into consideration when evaluating the totals. Still, ESPN’s list provides a window into which teams currently boast the highest attendance, both home and away.
Here are the eight NFL squads that topped ESPN’s 2012 list for highest overall attendance. ESPN takes into account the eight away games and eight home games each respective team plays in the regular season, and it offers total attendance, average attendance, and average percentage of season stadium capacity. See if you’re surprised at which teams pack the biggest crowds.
8. Houston Texans
The Texans are first on the list, sitting at No. 8. Houston’s overall attendance for 2012 was 1,123,975 people, split between its eight away games and eight home games that year. The team’s home turf, Reliant Stadium, has a capacity of 71,500; Houston’s average home attendance was 71,665, while its average away attendance was 68,831. This comes to an average total of 70,248 and an average season stadium capacity percentage of 100.3 — the second highest on this list, even though Houston ranks eighth overall. Anything above 100 percent stadium capacity accounts for standing room only.