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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rookie Quarterbacks on Opposite Ends of Puzzling NFL Attendance Figures

Statistics can sometimes be misleading. Attendance numbers are no exception. But that doesn’t mean they are not interesting to examine.

Here are some numbers to think about. As of week seven, the New York Jets are the only team to have totaled over 500,000 fans in attendance — both at home and on the road. No surprise there. The real surprise is the team that follows them. No, it’s not Dallas or Green Bay. Drum roll please. Did you think it would be Carolina? The Panthers have attracted over 482,000 people to their games.

Certain match-ups and other variables like stadium size and ticket prices are obviously a factor. In 2010, Carolina ranked 13th in regular season attendance. Despite their struggles, people always seem to make it to the stadium to watch the Panthers. Jerry Richardson, the Panthers’ owner, is probably quite satisfied with the size of his wallet these days, even if his team isn’t producing wins.

Think about it: A team with a record of 2-6 after Sunday’s loss to the Vikings has had the second-most fans watching their games live. Obviously, that proves hype can mean a lot for a team. I’d even wager that Richardson’s prized signal-caller is driving up the numbers. All that draft talk over Cam Newton has paid off, literally. It’s certainly not the anti-soundbite Ron Rivera that’s drumming up business.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the Cincinnati Bengals. With just under 339k in attendance, Cincinnati comes in dead last. Let me remind you that this is a team that has kept pace with the Ravens and Steelers atop the AFC North. They too have a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton, but that has not translated into a desire to travel to the stadium on game day.  Clearly winning isn’t everything.

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