Canadian cities have hosted NFL games over the years, although no franchise has ever spread permanent roots. While the CFL has managed to fill that sporting void for many gridiron fans, there is absolutely no substitute for the NFL for others, with millions of Canadians tuning in to games each week.
In fact, Super Bowl LIV in 2020 broke the all-time Canadian TV audience record, attracting an average audience of 9.5 million viewers across three broadcasters, with a peak of 12.1 million during the halftime show with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. But all the glamour and glitz of the biggest games aside, what lures Canadians to pledge their allegiance to a particular team?
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 3, 2020
For some Canadians who live close to the border with the United States, choosing their NFL team is often based around geographical proximity. With that in mind, and especially for southern Ontarians, the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions are often the most popular choice. Further to the west, there’s also the Minnesota Vikings or the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin, with both states also bordering Ontario.
Meanwhile, fans from Vancouver and British Columbia are often spotted heading south on I5 once they cross the border, on their way to watch the Seattle Seahawks. Other teams in the northern United States that appeal to Canadians include the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, and of course, the New York Giants or the New York Jets
SUPER BOWL LIV CHAMPIONS pic.twitter.com/qnpxsn7D9n
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 1, 2020
One of the most decisive factors for many people choosing any sporting team to support, regardless of geographical location, there is usually no substitute for success. Tipped at 7.00 NFL odds on bet365 for another championship, the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV last time out. Many expert pundits believe this is just the start of what could be a glittering dynasty for the team, which already features several of the NFL’s highest-rated players.
Continued success has also been a huge attraction for the New England Patriots, who are one of the most followed NFL teams in Canada. Bandwagon support is nothing new in any team sports, as fans flip from one team to another, which is also why other NFL teams enjoy strong followings amongst Canadian fans.
Things you love to see pic.twitter.com/ncKqvVnaaQ
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) August 18, 2020
Often considered the most important player on a football team, the success and failure of a quarterback can genuinely shape the fortunes of a franchise. Regarded as a living legend in the NFL, 43-year-old Tom Brady remains one of the most popular players around. Indeed, many Canadians follow the NFL just to admire this guy, who spent 20 glittering seasons with the New England Patriots.
Given that Tom Brady has now switched to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will have undoubtedly taken a lot of fans there with him. However, the top-rated QB in the NFL right now is Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, closely followed by Lamar Jackson after an amazing debut season with the Baltimore Ravens, making them popular teams with followers in every corner of the globe.
— NFL (@NFL) April 25, 2020
There are just two players from Ottawa currently trying to forge themselves careers in the NFL. The first is 26-year-old Eli Ankou, who originally signed for the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in May 2017. After signing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and getting no games, the defensive tackle finally made his mark with the Cleveland Browns last season, playing nine games.
The most recent Ottawan addition to the NFL is 23-year-old Neville Gallimore, a defensive end who was a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys. If locally produced NFL players are your inspiration for choosing teams to follow, hopefully, these two guys will enjoy plenty of success in the years to come.
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