Saturday, January 5, 2008

United Countries of Football

In honor of the National Football League playoffs, that begin this evening, I present the United Countries of Football:

In August, when the baseball pennant races were starting to heat up, Strange Maps brought this map to my attention. The United Countries of Baseball, presented by Nike. Imagine the United States (and Ontario) divided into separate countries based on their allegience to a Major League Baseball team. Since I much prefer American Football over baseball, yesterday I started looking for a similar "United Countries of Fooball".

I couldn't find one from Nike, but while searching, I did come across this one, a hand drawn football fan map of the United States. I found this map on (artist unknown). The map is clever, but incomplete... he turned the entire state of Ohio over to the Browns, and ignored that the Chiefs share a state with the Rams, and the Jaguars and Buccaneers are also in Florida along with the Dolphins.

Continuing the search, I got very close to my goal with this map from The CommonCensus Map Project. The CCMP is "redrawing the map of the United States based on your input, to reveal the boundaries people themselves feel, as opposed to the state and county boundaries drawn by politicians." I'll have more on this project in a future post, but a "side project" of the CCMP is the CommonCensus Sports Map project. This map plots fan loyalties to American sports teams. It's very close, but still not a thematic companion to the Nike map.

Since I could not find the perfect map, I decided to make my own. I present the United Countries of Football:

This map is based on the data from the CCMP, as well as my own fanciful notion of how the nation might be divided, if regions were obliged to divide based on team loyalty. Your mileage may vary... For instance I am a Detroit Lions fan living in the Cincinnati Bengals country. Where do you draw the dividing line in Ohio between Bengals and Browns fans? In Missouri between Chiefs and Rams fans? etc. Feel free to comment and question my assumptions about your region of the country.

However, there is something wrong with this map. Because many of the western states are geographically large, but sparsely populated, this map give the false impression that the Denver Broncos have the largest fanbase. As discussed in my earlier post, The Purple states of America, maps can "lie" or present false impressions. So, I replaced the map above with a similar map using Mark Newman's population cartogram:

Now we see a more even distrubution of fans throughout the country.

By the time I finished this map last night, it was getting late, and I started feeling a little silly (as if all these maps so far are not silly). So, I carried the idea of independent countries based on fan loyalty to its logical conclusion. At the end of the football season, there were only twelve nations left standing. I imagined the Division winners as conquerors over their Divisional rivals (except for the Wild Card teams), then redrew the map to show the conquered territory:

You know what this means, of course... you will now be subjected to at least four more of these silly maps until the Super Bowl winner unites the country under one United Country of Football. Will the New England Patriots complete their perfect season? Can the Indianapolis Colts repeat? Can anyone else stop them? For what it is worth, I am predicting that Indianapolis will shock the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, then go on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. You read it here first (although my picks are notoriously bad).

UPDATE 1/6: Wildcard Weekend Results

UPDATE 1/13: Divisional Playoff Results

UPDATE 1/20: Conference Championship Results

UPDATE 2/3: Super Bowl Results

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At Thursday, March 06, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a native NY-er, and rabid NY Giants Fan, and Yankee fan, I'd like to mention that no one gives that much credence to the fact that NY should really be stripped territory for the Giants/Jets and Yankees/Mets. In the NY metro, it is really a good blend.

At Monday, October 06, 2008 , Anonymous Cap said...

I love it! Your baseball map is outstanding!!!

The only thing I'd change, is the West part of Michigans Upper Pen. is more for the Brewers (kind of like the area of the UP that is for the Packers).

At Monday, June 08, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Portland, OR, which your map shows belonging to the SF 49ners. However, the CommonCensus Map Project showed that as Sea Hawk territory, which is (3 hours to Seattle vs. 10 to SF, plus Oregon doesn't like things Californian and would side with WA any day). So, why did you change it?

At Monday, June 08, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Portland, OR. The CommonCensus Map Project map showed that as Sea Hawk territory, which it is, but you changed it to SF 49ner territory. It is 3 hours to Seattle, and about 13 to SF. And Oregonians hate Californians. Why did you change it?

At Monday, June 08, 2009 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

It was completely arbitrary and capricious on my part. The CommonCensus map is incomplete for the Northwest... however the United Countries of Baseball map shows a good chunk or Oregon as being Giants country. Blame it on Nike.

At Sunday, June 14, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

southeast texas? DALLAS COWBOYS all the way!!

At Tuesday, September 22, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the nfl maps, they just dont make any sense to me. i live un washington and i know that not that many ppl can love the seahawks, and its just wierd. but i loove the baseball map though


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