One Chart That Tells You Who You're Really Supporting When You Watch Your Favorite Football Team


It is football season. In this season of constant, aggravating, and seemingly pointless political battles, relaxing and watching a game is the perfect form of escapism for countless Americans, a time when they can forget about government shutdowns, Syrian chemical weapons, and mass shootings.

Perhaps because I was never much good at sports, or because I write for a political blog, I intend to ruin that for everyone.

The owners of the NFL teams are some of the most politically active people out there, donating millions to politicians across the country every election cycle.

If you happen to be a Houston Texans fan, congratulations: Your team's owner is personally responsible for nearly two-thirds of the political contributions among owners in the NFL, all to GOP candidates.

Even not taking the Texans' Bob McNair into account, Republican owners still out-donate Democratic owners three times over. The only Democratic-leaning owner to really compete with the Republican contributors is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, Tom Benson of the Saints is the only Republican-leaning owner to have won a Super Bowl in the last dozen years, despite nearly two-thirds of politically partisan owners being Republican. Draw your own conclusions.

You can see a full report of owners' political activity here. You can also find specific information on each owner here, compiled by Mother Jones and broken down into handy chart form:

Meanwhile, the NFL itself is equally politically active, but more issues-focused than party-focused. Its Political Action Committee (PAC) has donated fairly equally across party lines, but focuses on committee leaders that deal with drugs, concussions, and other football-related issues. The fairly equal party split in donation dollars was strategic, to avoid making enemies with any specific party in a divided Congress.

This makes the NFL very similar to just about any other large business out there, defending its interests. Still, supporters of the sport might want to take a look into where their ticket and merchandising dollars are going in Washington.

So, who and what does your team support?