The most popular NFL teams in the UK

The United Kingdom has a surprising number of football fans—American football, that is. According to NFL research, the country has an estimated 14.3 million NFL fans. That’s nearly 1 in 5 Brits.

That fanbase has grown because of the NFL’s International Series. The league created this set of regular season games in 2007 to expand the sport’s reach in countries outside the United States. The series kicked off in London with the New York Giants beating the Miami Dolphins 13-10. Since then, 36 games have taken place in the U.K., including three matchups in 2023. Other games have occurred in Mexico and Germany.

OLBG compiled a ranking of the most popular NFL teams in the U.K. using data from YouGov as of the third quarter of 2023. Popularity is defined by the percentage of survey participants that indicated they like each team. Ties were broken using each team’s fame score, the percentage of survey participants that said they had heard of the team.

The team that’s played in England the most did not make this list: the Jacksonville Jaguars. They played back-to-back weeks in London in 2023, pushing their total to 11 games on British soil.

Patriots fans takes photos prior to a NFL match at Wembley Stadium.
Elsa // Getty Images

#5. New England Patriots

– Popularity: 17%
– Fame: 56%

Fans love a winning team, and during the 20 years quarterback Tom Brady spent with the New England Patriots, they reached the playoffs 17 times and recorded six Super Bowl victories, picking up countless fans across the pond. Other British fans jumped on the bandwagon because the team’s name includes “England.” The Patriots haven’t played in London since 2012, but they have a 2-0 record on British soil.

A fan is seen wearing a Tagovailoa jersey of Miami Dolphins outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Justin Setterfield // Getty Images

#4. Miami Dolphins

– Popularity: 20%
– Fame: 67%

Many British fans started rooting for the Dolphins in the 1980s when superstar quarterback Dan Marino led the team. Their massive U.K. fanbase, however, hasn’t had much to cheer about when Miami comes to town—it has a 1-4 record in London.

Graham Gano and Carter Coughlin of New York Giants celebrate at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images // Getty Images

#3. New York Giants

– Popularity: 22%
– Fame: 65%

The Giants kicked off the International Series in 2007 with that victory over the Dolphins at a rainy Wembley Stadium packed with more than 80,000 fans. The game was ugly—New York quarterback Eli Manning threw for just 59 yards—but it marked a win for the eventual Super Bowl champs.

Chicago Bears fans watch the NFL match between the Bears and Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Jack Thomas // Getty Images

#2. Chicago Bears

– Popularity: 22%
– Fame: 69%

The Chicago Bears have had British supporters since at least the 1980s when legendary running back Walter Payton awed fans around the world. After their Super Bowl XX victory in 1986, the Bears played the Dallas Cowboys in London in the American Bowl, an exhibition match the Bears won 17-6. Chicago has a 1-1 record in the International Series, with a 24-18 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011 and a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders in 2019.

A Cowboys fan dons a Cowboys star temporary tattoo at Wembley Stadium.
Charlie Crowhurst // Getty Images

#1. Dallas Cowboys

– Popularity: 25%
– Fame: 73%

“America’s Team” has one of the biggest fanbases in the world. Though the Cowboys played preseason games in London prior to 2007, they’ve contested only one International Series game: a 31-17 win over the Jaguars in 2014.

A split bar chart showing the popularity of NFL teams among different age demographics

The Chicago Bears are particularly popular among the UK’s younger demographics

Most of the popular teams in the U.K. had standout years in the 1980s. Not only have Brits remained loyal to their first teams, but they’ve also passed down that fandom to their children.

Data reporting by Karim Noorani. Story editing by Mike Taylor. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.

This story originally appeared on OLBG and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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