Forbes, Nielsen, and E-Poll Market Research’s annual likability poll doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Undoubtedly the veracity is there, as are the correct scientific methods (we’ll take it that Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research have their polling methods down by now), but one begins to wonder just how practical and relevant their rankings really are.
Take, for example, the group’s likeability ranking. According to the list, Packers DB Charles Woodson has a 62 percent appeal with fans, which makes him the fourth most liked player in the NFL.
Now, don’t get us wrong: Woodson’s a fantastic DB, but he’s also a hard hitter and a harder talker; he’s been known to ruffle feathers in the past, like earlier this season when he mocked Bears QB Jay Cutler after the hurler put on an embarrassing performance against The Pack. Hard hitters and loud mouths are generally revered by votaries of the team they play on, but they’re also largely reviled by the fans of right about every other team. How, then, can players like Troy Polamalu (the most liked player, according to the poll) and Charles Woodson be considered most popular when they’re held below contempt by 31/32 of the sample size? Just something to chew on when you see the rankings.
Equally perplexing—what a player like Matt Leinart is doing on the most disliked list. Granted Leinert proved himself to be nothing short of inept during his seven years in the league, and it probably comes as a surprise to 95 percent of football fans that he’s even in the league anymore (he warms the bench and reads play charts for Oakland) but being a crappy QB holds little relevance to being a hated QB. Most fans at this point could probably care less about Matt Leinart. Few mention his name anymore in discussions that aren’t about huge draft busts.
This begs the question: what is Nielsen defining as “least liked?” Are these guys fans and players hate for their brash attitudes and dangerous on-field antics (rightfully Stomp enthusiast Ndamukong Suh is #1 on the list), or are the least liked players guys we’re pissed about because they didn’t pan out to be what Mel Kiper said they would be like five years ago?
Check out the list for yourself to determine what you think its merits are.