Week two in the National Football League is about to wrap up – a very happy week for yrs truly, with my beloved (and perennially cursed) Buffalo Bills scraping out a victory against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to even their record to 1-1. That’s the same record as the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the mighty, Tom Brady-led New England Patriots.
But forget the won-loss standings for now – seasoned fans know everything will be different in two months anyway. The more interesting football news comes from the Center for Responsive Politics, which has produced a chart ranking teams by level of donations to political candidates and committees since 1990. The figure for each team is an aggregate of contributions made by coaches, players, team officials, employees and executives.
Which NFL team has been most active in the political arena over the past two decades? The trophy goes to the San Diego Chargers, who disbursed a total of $2,455,200. Of this sum, all but $40,773 (2 percent) went to Republicans. Only the Houston Texans (second in overall donations) and Cincinnati Bengals are "redder" organizations, skewing 99 percent of their total contributions to the GOP.
None of this will surprise people who assume all football fans, players, coaches and executives are rock-ribbed conservatives. But this assumption is wrong. There actually are some teams whose owners and personnel gave disproportionately to Democrats. The bluest teams in the National Football League are:
(1) Philadelphia Eagles & Miami Dolphins (85 percent to Democrats)
(2) San Francisco 49ers (84 percent to Democrats)
(3) New England Patriots (72 percent to Democrats)
(4) Buffalo Bills (65 percent to Democrats)
(5) Detroit Lions (63 percent to Democrats)
I was feeling good about the Bills’ fourth place finish, until it dawned on me that this would still place them third in their division, behind Miami and New England. Figures and rankings for all teams can be found here, at OpenSecrets.org.