One reason people watch sports is that the most popular ones have superstars that fans love to watch. Often these stars have large social media followings, huge salaries, millions of dollars in endorsements and careers that last for years, after which they move on to jobs like TV network commentators or movie stars. People wear their jerseys to games, and each year thousands of people ask for autographs.
Many of the major league sports also have players who are immensely well-liked, if not beloved. Others are the equivalent of villains, at least for fans of the teams against which they compete.
Polling company Morning Consult has created a list of the most-liked players in the NFL. It conducted a “favorability” poll of 513 to 621 people per player. The poll was taken on January 8 and 9 of this year.
The poll settled on 18 players. Some have been in the league for many years. Tom Brady is the longest-lived of these. Now 44 years old, he has been in the league since 2000. In the most recent season, he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns, and he set the all-time record for pass completions in a season. Last year, he won the Super Bowl in his first year in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. He has won seven Super Bowls, and his team is in the playoffs this year.
Some of the players on the most-like list are virtually new to the NFL. Among these is Joe Burrow, the quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was drafted in 2020. The Bengals are in the playoffs this year.
To determine the most well-liked player in the NFL, Morning Consult took the number of favorable votes and subtracted unfavorable votes to create a score. Quarterback phenom Patrick Mahomes took first place with a score of 34, well ahead of Seattle quarterback Russel Wilson, who had a score of 28. Mahomes has been in the league since 2017, when he was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the NFL MVP in 2018, the year he led his team to a Super Bowl win. He was also the MVP of that Super Bowl.
These are the most-liked players in the NFL:
- Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City): 34
- Russell Wilson (Seattle): 28
- Rob Gronkowski (Tampa Bay): 27
- Josh Allen (Buffalo): 25
- Tom Brady (Tampa Bay): 25
- Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams): 23
- Lamar Jackson (Baltimore): 23
- Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia): 22
- Travis Kelce (Kansas City): 22
- Joe Burrow (Cincinnati): 21
- Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh): 21
- Dak Prescott (Dallas): 20
- Derek Carr (Las Vegas): 20
- Davante Adams (Green Bay): 20
- Matt Ryan (Atlanta): 20
- Amari Cooper (Dallas): 20
- Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee): 20
- Teddy Bridgewater (Denver): 20