Are Cowboys 'America's Team' on the Web?

Jerry Jones' Cowboys are a popular topic of conversation on the web, but is that a good thing? AP Photo/John Bazemore

As the Dallas Cowboys celebrate another Thanksgiving in the national spotlight, they are proud to claim the title "America’s Team." But in an era defined by social media and a 24-hour sports conversation, are they “America’s Digital Team?”

Do Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys get more buzz on Twitter, Facebook and other sites than the competition?

We set out to uncover whether the Cowboys truly own the interwebz. The end result: While the Cowboys are indeed the most talked about team, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

First, let’s break this down by the numbers, which were accurate as of Tuesday evening:

• The Cowboys have more Facebook fans than any other team in the league with 5,239,532 (almost 500,000 more than the second-place Steelers).

• Despite a roller-coaster season, they still gained the most “likes” -- 128,000 -- since Sept. 1. The Patriots were next with 99,000 likes.

• In the past month, the Cowboys were mentioned the most on Facebook.

Dallas has the third-most Twitter followers in the league with 462,881, trailing the New York Jets’ 499,218 and New England’s 471,312.

• According to Google, “Dallas Cowboys" is the most-searched NFL team, beating out the Steelers, Giants and Packers.

• Same with Yahoo. According to Carolyn Clark, Yahoo’s Web trend expert, the Cowboys always come out on top. “In the past 30 days on Yahoo, they got almost double the searches of the Chicago Bears and more than double the searches of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Clark, adding that the Cowboys’ cheerleaders and the Cowboys’ schedule are also top searches.

• Those rankings aren’t just high compared to other NFL teams. They blow away pretty much all team searches on Yahoo, whether we’re talking about baseball, hockey, basketball or other sports.

Beyond the numbers

But while the Cowboys might get a lot of social media action in a given week, the numbers don’t necessarily paint an accurate picture. What if those tweets aren’t positive? We looked to Fizziology for some insight. Fizziology is a social media analysis company that pulls together data from Twitter, Facebook and blogs and measures “sentiment analysis,” which deciphers how people feel when they post or tweet.

Fizziology relies on a team of human beings -- not computers -- to determine the sentiment behind a post. For example, trending on Twitter isn’t always a good thing -- just ask Romo.

Here’s what the firm discovered regarding Week 11:

You can see from the chart that, sure, the Cowboys received 225,000 tweets. But only 42 percent of them were positive. In fact, the references to the Cowboys as “America’s Team” mostly came from the negative tweets, like this gem from @HunterDymock: “Lol at the Cowboys. ‘America's team’ my ass.”

Love 'em or hate 'em, it goes to show that tweet volume doesn’t necessarily equal positive trend -- even for the widely proclaimed “America’s Team.”