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Palm Beach Post (Florida)


The Dolphins' 6-10 record in 2017 says they have plenty of work to do on the field.

Samford University says they have a lot of work to do off it.


Using a "deep dive" into social media analytics, the university based in Birmingham, Alabama, has compiled a ranking of North American pro sports teams by relevancy as they relate to their respective fan base. The Dolphins came out 18th, sandwiched between the No. 17 Lions and No. 19 J-E-T-S. That's despite drawing 65,000 for every game at Hard Rock Stadium this season.

Not surprisingly, the leaders were the Cowboys, Patriots and Steelers. The Panthers and Broncos rounded out the top five.

Samford's rankings are designed to quantify the emotional attachment between each team and its fan base, which obviously is critical toward riding out seasons like the one the Dolphins just finished.

News flash: The Browns did not rank 32nd! They're 23rd. Take that, Bengals (30th), Titans (31st) and Jaguars (32nd). However, with Tennessee and Jacksonville having made the playoffs, and the Jaguars now advancing to face the Patriots for the AFC championship, you'd have to think they'll move up next year.

Other findings:

*League rankings: The NFL was rated most relevant, followed by the NBA, MLB, ESPN's college football "Gameday," WWE, NHL, UFC and Olympics. One head-scratcher: MLS was 15th, four notches ahead of the English Premier League.

*NBA: The Heat ranked fourth, behind only the Lakers, Warriors and Bulls.

*NHL: The Panthers were 22nd. The top three were the Blackhawks, Penguins and Bruins. Surprise: The Red Wings were a mere seventh.

*College football: Leaders were national champion Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson and LSU. FSU was eight, Florida 12th and Miami 19th.

*MLB: Samford has not yet rated baseball teams, but we'll bet a set of Derek Jeter rookie cards on who will rank last. Twitter: @gunnerhal

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January 15, 2018


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