NFL fans, find yourself on North Carolina map

Can the fan followings of NFL teams be mapped county-by-county by  how frequently the teams are “liked” on Facebook?

If so, then Eastern North Carolina fans heavily favor Baltimore over San Francisco in the Super Bowl, while the rest of the state exhibits mixed loyalties. Location, location…?

When the entire 32-team league is mapped, the Carolina Panthers manage only a modest footprint in North Carolina and barely a toeprint in South Carolina. Their biggest rivals for fan affection: Pittsburgh and Dallas, which will come as news to no one who has observed fan attire when those teams visit Bank of America Stadium. I was surprised to see the state’s long attachment to the Washington Redskins go virtually unrecognized.

But when the map is redrawn to include only the 12 teams that made the playoffs this season, Washington rivals New England as North Carolina fans’ cynosure. Atlanta’s proximity to the state wins it little affection, except in those vacation-home counties contiguous to Georgia.

With the Super Bowl almost here, surely someone is counting “likes” to map which counties prefer guacamole and which salsa….


How to win voters: Clobber the QB

“One photograph [from football history] has always stuck in my mind: Y.A. Tittle on his knees, blood dripping down his forehead, after losing a game in 1964. … [Unlike Tittle, Brett] Favre at least has a Super Bowl ring, but watching him get brutalized by the Saints made me think of the Tittle photograph, widely known as ‘The Agony of Defeat.’ ”

— Larry Canale, blogging in the New York Times, January 29

“Morris Berman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette…. had gone to Pitt Stadium that day not to cover the game but looking for human interest. He decided to focus on Tittle. But his editor, wanting an action photo, refused to run the injured warrior photograph. It became widely seen only after Berman entered it in contests….

“Now, it [hangs] in the lobby of the National Press Photographers Association headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, alongside Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima and the image of the fiery death of the Hindenburg dirigible at Lakehurst, New Jersey.”

— Michael Shapiro in Smithsonian magazine, February 2007

“When John Baker ran for sheriff of Wake County, North Carolina, the first time [in 1978], he put the photo on his campaign flyer with this message: ‘Baker sacked Y.A. Tittle, and he’ll sack crime the same way.’ “

— From “Pittsburgh Steelers: Men of Steel” (2006) by Jim Wexell