Seahawks fans No. 9 on Forbes list

RENTON, Wash. – This will get the 12s riled up. According to a new study, Forbes claims the Seattle Seahawks’ followers barely make the top 10 for best fans in the NFL.

Seahawks fans come in at No. 9. Really?

Many NFL players say CenturyLink Field is the toughest place to play in the league because of the crowd noise in the stadium from the enthusiastic fan base.

However, a quick look at how the rankings were determined helps explain it. The five criteria and where Seattle’s fans ranked in each one:

  1. Hometown crowd reach. It’s defined by market researchers Nielsen Scarborough as a percentage of the metropolitan area population that watched, attended, and/or listened to a game in the last year (12th).

  2. The last three years of television ratings, per Nielsen (4th).

  3. The last three years of stadium attendance based on capacity reached (1st).

  4. The last three years of merchandise sales, per NFLShop.com (10th).

  5. Social media reach, which is a combination of Facebook likes and Twitter followers based on the team’s metro-area population (5th).

It’s that three-year average that probably hurts Seattle’s ranking in a couple of categories. The Seahawks were 7-9 in 2011, including 4-4 at home. The Seahawks still had loyal fans, of course, but not quite as frenzied as they’ve been the last two seasons.

If the same criteria are used next year, it’s likely the Seattle fans will move way up in the rankings.

If you’re wondering which fans came in No. 1, it was Green Bay. The rest of the top five consists of Denver, New Orleans, New England and Baltimore.