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Who Are the Most-Mentioned NFL Teams, Players, and Brands on Social?

The first two weeks of the NFL Season 2016 have come and gone. Excitement is widespread, and there is much analysis about which teams will emerge as most valuable, and who will win the MVP of the season. Here we look at who and what drove conversations about the NFL on social media between Sept 8–19, 2016.

The TeamsNFL-TeamHashtags-rev-02-01 A day before the season kicked off, NFL and Twitter announced that each of the 32 teams would have their own Twitter hashtag emoji, so that as fans tweet a team hashtag, the image appears automatically.

Emojis have become an integral element in our social media communication today, making engagement more fun and visual. Below are the loudest teams, ranked by number of mentions of their official hashtags.

1. The Denver Broncos were the most-mentioned team on social media in the first two weeks of football season, as their linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee during the national anthem for two straight games, first against the Carolina Panthers and second against the Indianapolis Colts.

2. The Carolina Panthers’ mentions were ramped up, thanks to quarterback Cameron Newton. The player was in the news for various reasons, from getting hit on his head, to flossing his teeth in the middle of games, to his choice of a certain hat at a post-game meet after the Panthers beat the San Francisco 49ers.    

3. The New England Patriots created buzz on social as they moved up the rankings to claim the top spot in the second week of the games. The team played without their quarterback, Tom Brady, who was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots controlled the game against the Cardinals end to end nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 9.03.05 PM

The PlayersNFL-PlayerMentions-01

1. Cameron Newton was the most-mentioned player on social media in the first two weeks of games, receiving more than five helmet-to-helmet hits against the Denver Broncos, with the NFL penalizing only one of those.

Cam Newton also drove Twitter into a frenzy, sparking tons of memes on the Internet because of a funny hat he wore for a post-game meeting after they beat the San Francisco 49ers.

2. Conversations about Brandon Marshall taking a knee during the national anthem in two of the games Denver Broncos played made him the second-most-mentioned player on social media. Marshall lost a few endorsements but stood by his action and said that he wanted to send that message again that he was not afraid of any penalty because of what he believes.

TSR Staff: Kyle Anfernee Instagram: @Kyle.Anfernee Denver Broncos linebacker #BrandonMarshall joined #ColinKaepernick movement and decided to take a knee during the national anthem before his team played the Carolina Panthers. It seems not everybody was here for Marshall's actions because he lost his endorsement deal with Air Academy Federal Credit Union. _____________________________________________ According to Yahoo, Marshall spoke about why he decided to take a knee-“I’m against social injustice. I’m not against the military, the police or America at all. I’m against social injustice.” _____________________________________________ Although Marshall's intentions were good the company didn't see it that way and quickly ended their deal with the football player. The company made the shocking announcement on their Facebook page Friday. _____________________________________________ "Although we have enjoyed Brandon Marshall as our spokesperson over the past five months, Air Academy Federal Credit Union has ended our partnership. AAFCU is a membership-based organiszation who has proudly served the military for over 60 years. While we respect Brandon's right of expression, his actions are not a representation of of our organization and"–Read More At

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

3. Antonio Brown gathered mentions and was fined by the NFL for his dance after his second touchdown against the Washington Redskins, and for wearing baby-blue cleats, which violated uniform protocol.

The BrandsNFL-BrandMentions-01 (1)

1. Among the brands, Nike generated the most conversations on social media as they released the Color Rush uniforms for all 32 NFL teams. While each teams got their uniform, not every team would get to wear it, because of the color scheme conflicts.

2. AT&T was mentioned as the NY Giants played against the Dallas Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The telecom brand was also mentioned as the Dallas Cowboys partnered with them for the 360-degree view of their opening game.

3. Twitter launching on Apple TV and other online video platforms drove up mentions for Apple. The service has reached deals with Apple and launched their TV app just in time to start streaming NFL games. Apple TV is expected to bring Twitter’s live-streaming video experience to life on the TV screen.

We will be listening in to the social media conversation about the NFL to understand what and who is driving the conversations, and keep you updated. If there is anything in particular that interests you about the NFL on social, do let us know and we will dive right in.

Image source credits:

Cam Newton :

Brandon Marshall :

Antonio Brown :

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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