Fandom is such a fickle and subjective thing. Yet our guys at FiveThirtyEight.com have put metrics on it by equating popularity with the frequency of Google searches done on professional teams.
Nate Silver and Ritchie King ran numbers on teams in all seven of the professional sports leagues in North America (the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, CFL and Liga MX) from 2004 through 2014 and, to no one's surprise, the NFL was king. Twelve of the top 17 teams most often searched were football teams ... even if the top two were the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
And despite the Raiders' recent bad run -- they have not had a winning record or been to the playoffs since 2002 -- they remain in the upper half of most popular NFL teams, checking in at No. 12.
The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular NFL team, followed by the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and then the Raiders.
In fact, the Raiders were the third-most searched team in the two west divisions, ahead of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.