Let's talk a little about August.
The old Romans called it "Sextili" instead of "August," but it seems like "sextili" was a common topic back then. Their calendar originally had 10 months, but, just like the SEC, the Romans decided to expand and added January and February to the start of the year. Then Sextili was changed to honor Augustus, the first Roman emperor, because he already had a bunch of statues.
• August is National Goat Cheese Month. Who knew?
• Right now we are in the middle of, er, World Breastfeeding Week.
• Football starts!
No offense to goat cheese or, uh, the other thing, but nothing trumps the start of football. Sunday night we have the first NFL game when the East Rutherford Giants are actually dawgs to the Buffalo/Toronto/Los Angeles Bills in the Hall of Fame game. Of course the starters will only play about 30 seconds, but who could tell anyway with the Giants and the Bills?
As you may know, Orlando does not have a team in the NFL. (But neither does Los Angeles, so there!) However, I doubt if there is another community that has more wide-spread NFL interest. We have thriving fan clubs for at least a half-dozen teams, probably led by the Central Florida Packers Backers. Another team with surprising strength here is Cleveland (but all that means is a lot of folks were smart enough to get out of Cleveland).
Which NFL team is the most popular?
Two professors at Emory University in Atlanta may have the answer. Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi run Emory Sports Marketing, which examines brand equity and customer loyalty in sports. (Disclaimer: I don't understand their statistics at all, but stupidity has never stopped people from using stats to prove a point.)
• "NFL fan equity:" I think this measures the fans' willingness to financially support his/her team. Many of you may hate hearing that not only are the Dallas Cowboys No. 1 but they have held first for the last five years. No wonder Jerry Jones can build his own stadium/shrine. Rounding out the top five are the Patriots, Jets, Giants and Colts.
The bottom five in terms of financial support are, in descending order: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Miami and Oakland. For those who still care, Tampa was 17th, not good but immensely better than the Jags and the Fish.
• "NFL social media equity:" I think this gives us an idea of how recognizable every team may be around the nation. The top five are Pittsburgh, Dallas, New England, Green Bay and New Orleans. This seems believable although I'd move Pittsburgh from first to fifth. The bottom-feeders here are Washington, San Diego, Carolina, St. Louis and Arizona.
Washington is interesting. Tripathi, who was a guest during The Beat of Sports on 740theGame this week, suggests that one reason for Washington's low rating is its Redskins nickname. And one reason for that is national media may be avoiding use of the word "Redskins" by simply not talking about the Washington team at all.
As for Arizona, the researchers point out that the Cardinals have about 100,000 Twitter followers, just 20,000 more than the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. In this ranking Miami was 21st, Jacksonville 22nd and Tampa 24th.
Put the two lists together and what have we proved?
The Cowboys are No. 1.
And the NFL would be better off with the Los Angeles Raiders and the San Antonio Cardinals.
Or how about the Orlando Jags?
Postscript: Emory's mascot is Dooley, a human skeleton. Actually, as mascots go, a skeleton makes sense. After all, everybody at the school has one. You can't say that about anything else — except possibly cellphones.