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A Note On The NFL's Popularity And Ceiling

GREEN BAY WI - FEBRUARY 08:  Green Bay Packers fans await the arrival of players prior to the Packers victory ceremony on February 8 2011 in Green Bay Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matt Ludtke/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY WI - FEBRUARY 08: Green Bay Packers fans await the arrival of players prior to the Packers victory ceremony on February 8 2011 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Matt Ludtke/Getty Images)
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We talk often around here about NFL fans and where our voice fits in and, more accurately, where our dollar fits in. We spend money on the NFL so we want a say in what happens (however unrealistic that is).

Here's something that surprised me when it comes to NFL fans and spending money at the stadium. Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said over the weekend at the Sloan Sports Athletic Conference that only 3 percent of NFL fans have actually attended a game.

Yes, only 3 percent of NFL fans have attended a game.

The definition of "NFL fans" can mean a lot of things but, generally speaking, that's a pretty incredible statistic. It begins to help illustrate not only the sheer size of the league's fan base but also how incredibly effective the league is in promoting its product across the world.

Jon Bois of SBNation.com, a native of Prairie Village, KS residing in Louisville, KY, passes along some anecdotal evidence that, indeed, "The League is everywhere."

One example within arm's reach: in Louisville, where I live, there are no local major professional sports teams. Here, there is little to no interest in the NBA (though part of that owes it to the town's obsession with college hoops), and from my experience, there aren't many serious baseball fans, either. NHL fans are exceedingly rare. NFL fans, though, are all over the place.

I can identify with that, especially living in a non-NBA, non-NHL, NFL city. Maybe it's because I run a football blog but I will often find out your NFL team the first time I meet you. [Editor's note: On that note, I'm also very glad that I have Ms. Primetime. Admittedly, "Hey baby, who you like in free agency?" isn't a very good or effective pick-up line.]

Also, we must take this opportunity to note that this sort of ridiculous popularity and untapped potential are exactly why the NFL and NFLPA need to do whatever it takes to get a deal done this week. No excuses.