According to a new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling before the Super Bowl, Americans largely prefer the Seattle Seahawks, viewing them much more favorably and rooting for them to defeat the New England Patriots.
That preference derives from a dislike of Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, whose unfavorable numbers more than double rival coach Pete Carroll’s, a belief that the Patriots cheated in the AFC Championship Game by using under-inflated footballs, and the team’s dominance grating on fans of rival franchises.
The poll reflected 38% of respondents expressing an unfavorable reaction to the Patriots, with 30% viewing them favorably, as opposed to 45% seeing the Seahawks favorably. Belichick drew an unfavorable percentage of 34%, with a favorable rating of only 21%, compared to Carroll’s 14% unfavorable rating and a 27% favorable rating. Many voters remained undecided about both coaches; 45% said they were unsure about Belichick while a whopping 59% remained noncommittal about Carroll.
Tom Brady, who had been harassed by the media regarding the Deflate-gate scandal, remained reasonably popular, winning over 37% of voters while only 25% expressed an unfavorable view of him. His counterpart, Russell Wilson, garnered almost exactly the same percentage of voters liking him, at 39%, but his unfavorable marks were significantly lower, at a paltry 8%.
Slightly more than four in ten respondents believed that the Patriots cheated in their game against the Indianapolis Colts, only 27% disagreeing and about three in ten respondents admitting that they don’t quite know. The perceptions of Deflate-gate may have factored into which team Americans cheer for in the Super Bowl. When asked which team they wanted to win, 36% of respondents chose the Seahawks, with 29% rooting for the Patriots.
The constant swirl of scandal around the NFL triggered the pollsters to ask voters what they thought of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Twice the number of people saw him unfavorably rather than favorably, 29% to 15%, and the same ration existed on job approval: 35% disapproved, 18% approved.
The polled clearly believe that NFL football should remain an American sport, rather than an international one. When asked if they would like to see a team in Los Angeles, 41% approved, while only 20% demurred. But when asked about a prospective team in London, 54% of voters disapproved, while only 15% approved of the idea.
Americans chose the Green Bay Packers as their favorite team, winning 15% of the vote. Despite DeflateGate, the Dallas Cowboys surpassed the Patriots as the team most people hated, drawing 18% to 13% for New England.