Who are America’s favorite NFL players?
February 1st, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Who are America’s favorite NFL players?

As the NFL season wraps up, we dip into YouGov Profiles to look at the favorite players of regular football followers in the US as well as the favorites of those who play Madden NFL.

Among Americans who say they follow football regularly, Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes leads the charts. The 27-year-old, who is the son of former baseball star Pat Mahomes, is the favorite of nearly a quarter of football fans (23%).

Ageless legend Tom Brady, who is still going strong with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, comes in next, with a fifth of fans (19%) rating him as among their favorites. Another seasoned pro in Aaron Rodgers claims the third spot (16%).

Interestingly, Rodgers is the favorite among those who play Madden NFL video games (23%), marginally ahead of Brady (22%) and Mahomes (21%). The figures for other players can be vastly different among the two groups. For example, the gamers are 70% likelier than football followers to vote for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (17% vs 10%).

Meanwhile, J.J. Watt, the Arizona Cardinals defensive end who recently retired, is the fourth favorite among football followers (16%) but only just makes the top 10 among the gaming cohort (15%). Still, in absolute terms, there isn’t much difference in his popularity among the two groups. This speaks to the increased propensity for Madden NFL players to have a favorite player at all. Four-fifths of them have at least one favorite (82%) compared to 72% of all football followers.

JJ’s brother TJ is one of the few other players to feature in the top 10 on both sides, rated favorite by 12% of football followers and 15% of the gamers group.

Russell Wilson (12%), Joe Burrow (11%), Josh Allen (10%), Prescott (10%) and Travis Kelce (9%) also feature in the top 10 among football followers. Among Madden NFL gamers, the other names in the top 10 include Cooper Kupp (17%), Russelll Wilson (17%), Ezekiel Elliott (17%), Lamar Jackson (16%).

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for US and Britain market is weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Image credit: Dave Adamson on Unsplash