Twitter Bowl 2010

About two weeks ago Amanda, netmeg and I ended up having a twitter conversation with @detroitlions on Twitter.

We were immediately impressed with their Twitter account and their willingness to engage with their fans. I even followed them even though I’m not a Lions fan. Amanda said someone should write a blog post about their fine example. I agreed and planned to write one.

And then we discovered @detroitlions was actually a FAN account and not the official Detroit Lions account (which by the way is @detroitlionsnfl.)

Yet, it was BETTER than the official account. So, being the avid football fan that I am, I started to wonder what the official NFL accounts looked like. From there, I got the idea for the Twitter Bowl.

These teams compete on the field every week, but what would a Twitter competition between them look like? Who is the pro football Twitter champ? Who actually engages their followers and uses Twitter smartly to promote their brand?

So I enlisted Amanda as my “co-host” and “co-researcher” and we spent a weekend (the weekend of October 4th to be exact) to compile stats. The Twitter Bowl standings will obviously change daily – but we did some diligent research and used the stats from that weekend to create the post.

For the record, there is ZERO bias in this article. I’m a Bucs and Eagles fan, Amanda is a Redskins fan and not to give anything away, but you can easily see our teams didn’t make it far. But who did? And why? And where did YOUR favorite NFL football team score on Twitter?

Welcome to Twitter Bowl 2010

Welcome to Twitter Bowl 2010. This season we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, unexpected wins and unexpected losses. See how your favorite NFL teams stacked up in the competition for who has the best Twitter feed, which teams were able to engage the most with their followers and which team will be crowned the Twitter champions of the football world.

Your hosts

Rae Hoffman and I’m joined by my co-host, Amanda Orson to bring you the play by play of the games that led up to the Twitter Bowl and the (potentially) surprising champion of Twitter Bowl I.

Round 1

Round one allows teams to score up to ten points via their Twitter grader score (1 game point per 10 points of the grader score), 2 points by having “official” somewhere in their account bio, 7 points for following the most real people and a chance to lose the game all by themselves if they auto-tweet, which results in them giving seven points to the other team with an interception that is converted for their competitor.

Rae:

With that, let’s get into it. Amanda, how did Round 1 of the AFC games go?

Amanda:

Well Rae, before we get started with the AFC Round 1 recaps, can we talk for a second about Twitter handles? Kansas City, you have a problem. Your official Twitter account is @kc_chiefs1. You can do better. Go grab whoever is squatting on @KCChiefs and wrestle it from them. And Ravens, come on now- @1winning drive? This may appeal to your fanbase that knows your training facility address, but why not grab @Ravens or @BaltimoreRavens? Here’s a pro tip for the pro teams: Go find @KnowEm and get yourself a consistent, relevant, widely understood handle for all your social media profiles.

Alright, let’s talk football and Twitter losers in the AFC.

Browns vs. Steelers
I have to tell you Rae, this contest was pretty close to a no-show and should have been a landslide. The Steelers came into this game with over 4000 followers waiting to read; nothing. Not a single tweet from the Steelers until this week. Final score: Browns 12, Steelers 11. Browns take the game.

Bengals vs. Ravens

Both teams got their running game on and were even at the half with Official Acct in their bio and perfect Twitter grader scores. But the Ravens fell to the Bengals when they scored a touchdown with higher listed numbers. The 12th man comes up huge for the Bengals. Final score: Bengals 19, Ravens 12.

Texans vs. Indianapolis
Indy who? Rae, these guys must have thought it was a bye week. Not only do they not have a Twitter account- the biggest Colts twitterfeed right now is a fan/ opportunistic affiliate marketer. Send us a postcard, Peyton. Texans get the easy win against the Colts in a no-contest.

Jaguars vs. Titans
Seems like the tale of the 1st round in the AFC Rae, but this was another evenly-matched game decided by total listed numbers for the tie-breaker. The fans come through with another win – this time for the Titans by a touchdown. Final score: Titans 19, Jaguars 12.

Bills vs. Dolphins

Rae, we should just rename this sloppy game The Autofeed Bowl. Both the Dolphins and the Bills streams seem to think they can score big by retweeting their posts. Luckily for Miami, their followers seem to think they’re worth listing more often. Miami wins by a touchdown with a final score of Dolphins 26, Bills 19.

Patriots vs. Jets
The Jets get a huge win against the Brady Bunch by taking the unprecedented step of following real people and fans! This game should have been a blowout, too. Jets win by 7 with a final score of Jets 19, Patriots 12.

Broncos vs. Chiefs
Rae, I’m seeing a trend here. Teams that follow real people and fans are winning games! The Broncos Twitter feed has been around longer and is listed more frequently, but interacting with and paying attention to your fans pays off big in the Twitter Bowl. Chiefs win by a touchdown making the final score Chiefs 19, Broncos 12.

Raiders vs. Chargers
Two teams with rabid fan-bases go head-to-head in this California contest. But the Raiders are no match for the San Diego Chargers amazing backfield- they not only have thousands more followers, but they talk to them too! Rae I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Bolts in future rounds.

So that wraps up Round 1 in the AFC. How did the NFC do, Rae?

Rae:

The NFC saw some pretty decent action today, Amanda. It’s a tough conference this year when it comes to engagement rates featuring three of the top five teams in the league. But we’re also seeing a lot of basic mistakes hurting offensive drives and we had one very serious upset in the round 1 games.

Let’s talk recaps.

Bears vs. Lions
Well Amanda, things started out well for the Lions in what turned out to be a low scoring game. Both teams made costly mistakes in the second half, but neither da Bears nor the Lions was able to capitalize on them and convert them into any points. The Lions eek out this win by a safety for a final score of Lions 12, Bears 10.

Packers vs. Vikings
Both teams had a high scoring first quarter resulting in a 12-12 tie going into the half. Neither team fell victim to the auto-tweet plague we’ve seen in other games around the league today keeping them neck and neck into the fourth quarter. But the Vikings pulled an easy touchdown in the fourth for following real people, which was expected considering they hold the #2 follow rate in the league. Frankly, I think we expected more from the Packers out there on the field today as a team owned by the fans. Final score: Vikings 19, Packers 12.

Falcons vs. Panthers
Amanda, it was a close game and a disappointing tight win for the Falcons as they’re a strong team with some real potential to make it all the way. A tight first half showed both teams to be making all the right moves, but neither Atlanta or Carolina was able to get anything going on the offense in the second half. The game ran into overtime with Atlanta scoring a touchdown with listed numbers in the fifth quarter giving them the win. Final score: Falcons 19, Panthers 12.

Saints vs. Bucs
The Buccaneers have the number five engagement rate in the league, but that didn’t help them on the field today. It was a tight game with both teams making good plays without any costly mistakes in the first three quarters resulting in a 12-12 tie, but the Saints were able to pull out the win by following real people for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Final score: Saints 19, Bucs 12.

Cowboys vs. Giants

Everything was looking bright for the Cowboys heading into this game. Second in the league as far as followers and one of the earliest teams on Twitter, this should have been an easy victory for “America’s Team.” Dallas took the lead 12-10 in the first half but a turnover in the third half from autotweeting allowed the Giants to score a touchdown. With an uneventful fourth quarter, Dallas fans were left shocked as the Giants took the game with a final score of Giants 19, Dallas 12.

Eagles vs. Redskins
We’d hoped for some action here Amanda, but it turned out to be an uneventful game. Both teams made strides in the first quarter and headed into the half with a tie score of 12-12, but neither team was able to make any offensive strides in the second half and both defensive lines looked good. The game went into overtime and the Skins made a quick touchdown with higher listed numbers and took the game with a final score of Redskins 19, Eagles 12.

Cardinals vs. 49ers

The Cards and the Niners both looked good in the first quarter, but the Cardinals D couldn’t seem to get it together and give their quarterback a decent pocket by adding “official account” to their bio, resulting in a safety in the second quarter for the 49ers. An uneventful second half advanced the 49ers with a final score of 49ers 12, Cardinals 10.

Seahawks vs. Rams
Number 4 in the league for engagment and with a lot of advanced offensive moves in their aresenal, the Seahawks were heavily favorited entering this game. Both teams had a strong and equally matched offensive showing in the first half starting them off tied in the third. But neither team was able to get anything going in the second half, leaving them to head into overtime with the Seahawks winning with an overtime touchdown from listed numbers giving the game a final score of Seahawks 19, Rams 12.

So it’s official, in round two we’ll see the round one winners face off with more aggressive plays and advanced strategies.

Round 2

Round two allows teams to score on a slightly highly level of Twitter usage. they can earn 7 points for responding to people tweeting at them, 2 points for proper #hashtag use, 3 points for creating Twitter lists on their profiles, 3-7 points for listing their Twitter profile on their official website (3 points if listed on a subpage and 7 points if it’s listed on the homepage) and as with round one, any ties are decided based on the number of times the team is listed by other people.

Rae:

Let’s get started. How did the AFC fare in Round 2 Amanda?

Amanda:

Round 2 of the AFC looks a lot like Round 1- close contests decided by a single score. Why? To start, the AFC is turning the ball over frequently by not using Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists are a great way to aggregate followers important to your followers like players, coaches, staff, and FAN twitter streams. The victors in this round were the teams that knew how to play the whole field well by using all the resources available to them in their Twitter account.

Now onto Round 2.

Browns vs. Bengals

Both teams fumble out of the gate by not responding to their fans and failing to use Twitter lists. In the end, the Bengals score in an OT tie-breaker victory by being listed by more fans, 1257 to 1049. Sloppy ball-handling in this game, Rae. Final score: Bengals 16, Browns 9.

Texans vs. Titans
In a close contest, both teams scored well by responding to their users and listing their Twitter account on their site. The Texans went for the two-point conversion late in the game by using #hashtags, but the Titans prevail with the big 3 pt field goal by using Twitter lists. Rae, this was one of the most exciting, evenly-matched games we’ve seen in the AFC so far. Final score: Titans 17, Texans 16.

Dolphins vs. Jets
Rae, say what you will about the arrogant coaching staff on the Jets, but this game was all about taking advantage of the whole field with proper Twitter account management. They scored the points needed to win by properly using both hashtags and Twitter lists. The Fish flop by 5. Final score: Jets 19, Dolphins 14.

Chiefs vs. Chargers

The Chiefs came to play but were outmatched by a veteran Chargers squad. Though this game hinged on Twitter lists Rae, the Chargers capitalized on every opportunity by scoring the maximum points throughout. The margin of victory should have been much larger than just a field goal. Final score: Chargers 19, Chiefs 16.

What was the story for the NFC in Round 2 Rae?

Rae:

There were a lot of surprises in Round 2 for the NFC Amanda, and almost no one seemed to be able to get an successful offensive drive going when it came to Twitter lists. I think you’ll note we had some surprising teams left behind after Round 2.

Now let’s get onto the Round 2 recaps.

Lions vs. Vikings

Looking at the Lions Twitter feed, I’m surprised they made it into round two. Here’s hoping they find a head coach capable of taking them into the playoffs next year (we’d love to see them pick up the coach manning @detroitlions). The Lions weren’t able to pull anything out of their offense, leaving their defense to put their only points on the board via a safety in the second quarter. But the Vikings offense showed unexpectedly poor at making any scoring drives today, leaving their only points on the board a touchdown for having their Twitter handle front and center on their website giving the Vikings a victory over the Lions with the final score at Vikings 7, Lions 2.

Falcons vs. Saints
The Falcons came into this game favored over the Saints and their offense was on point throughout the entire game putting points on the board every quarter. After a slow first quarter, the Saints were able to score some a safety and two field goals in the last three, but it wasn’t enough for them to take the victory. The Falcons easily advance to the third round with a final score of Falcons 19, Saints 8.

Giants vs. Redskins

Amanda, we say engagement matters, and the Giants proved that in their game today vs. the Redskins. While neither team managed to score any points with Twitter lists, both teams converted #hashtag use and website promotion of their Twitter handle into big points. But it was the Giants who were able to secure the win by crushing the Skins at user engagement for the game winning touchdown. Final score: Giants 16, Redskins 9.

49ers vs. Seahawks
The Seahawks came into this game with a ton of potential, but they couldn’t seem to get the basics right today to capitalize on their talent. After a strong first quarter scoring 7 points, the Seahawks couldn’t get any conversion on #hashtag use and both teams put three points on the board with Twitter lists early in the third. The game remained tight well into the final moments of the game when the Seahawks failed to promote Twitter on their website, allowing the 49ers to swoop in for the win. Final score: 49ers 12, Seahawks, 10.

The winners in Round 2 will advance to Round 3 setting up the AFC and NFC Championship match ups.

Round 3

Round three allows teams to score points in a variety of ways. Posting live play by plays on their Twitter stream during games can earn them 7 points, while having a retweet button on their official website blog posts can get them another 7. Using the favorite button on Twitter gives you 3 points and a comparison of follower growth will earn one team another 3 points. As in the previous rounds, any ties will be broken by the number of times the team has been listed by folks on Twitter.

Rae:

The Round 3 games are important Amanda, as they determine who will be competing in the conference championships. How’s the AFC doing and who will be competing for the conference title?

Amanda:

For the first time in the AFC Twitter Bowl rounds, none of the Round 3 games were decided by a tie-breaker in OT. But Rae, can you believe that even though these teams are among the best of the best, NONE of them use Tweet This buttons or Twitter links on their blogs? And not one uses their Twitter Favorites? Even the best pro football teams are leaving points on the field by not scoring in the Twitter Red Zone.

Well, let’s see how the AFC powerhouses fared helmet-to-helmet in Round 3.

Bengals vs. Titans
Sometimes, without competent competition, mediocrity rises to the top. That was definitely the case in this AFC Divisional contest Rae. The Bengals and Titans matched touchdown-for-touchdown early by doing real time game highlights on their Twitter streams. But despite the Bengals having more followers, the Titans prevail with bigger growth and a greater @ reply percentage for the win. Final score: Titans 17, Bengals 7.

Jets vs. Chargers
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the playoff match-ups are harder fought victories than the final game Rae? Going into this game both teams have been simply en fuego on Twitter. The Chargers are the earliest Twitter adopter, have the 3rd most followers, and follow more fans than every other team in professional football. Both teams scored touchdowns on real time game highlights and the Chargers eeked out a field goal before the half with a bigger follower growth %. But the 4th Quarter of this game belonged to the Jets, who came up for the big win with the highest @ reply percentage in football. Big touchdown and a huge win for the Jets and their fans. Final score: Jets 14, Chargers 10.

Round 3 was full of missed opportunities that could have made the difference for some teams Rae, but failing to convert is failing to win. How did the NFC look?

Rae:

We actually saw some heavy retweet button usage here one of the NFC games today, but the lack of retweet button usage could have been the difference in who won one of today’s games. The Falcons were the favorites heading into this round and boy did we see some upsets today.

Vikings vs. Falcons

The Vikings and Falcons both had no trouble getting their offense started today causing it to be a 7-7 game heading into the half with both teams taking the time to do real time game tweets. But early in the second half, the Vikings managed to get a field goal from follower growth. The Falcons quickly answered back with a touchdown from a higher engagement score with their fans and took away any championship hope the vikings had with a Final score of Falcons 14, Vikings 10.

Giants vs. 49ers
The 49ers quickly took the lead with real time game tweets and both teams scored clean touchdowns in the second quarter for using retweet buttons on their official blogs. Both of these teams had no trouble gaining three points from favoriting tweets either. Based on previous rounds, it appears that while these teams may struggle a bit with the basics, they can step up their game when they need to. But the Giants dominated with follower growth and engagement percentages, giving them 10 more points in the final quarter to send the Giants onto another round. Final score: Giants 20, 49ers 17.

Looks like we’re heading to the Conference Championships.

Round 4

Round 4 will decide who goes head to head in the Twitter Bowl. Teams can score 3 points for using a custom URL shortener and 2 points for promoting other social media sites on their Twitter backgrounds. The teams will also go head to head on comparing replies percentages and retweet percentages, with the winner gaining 7 and 3 points respectively. As with prior rounds, listed numbers will break any potential ties.

Rae:

Time to get to the Round 4 scores and see who will be competing in the Twitter Bowl. Over to you Amanda.

Amanda:

The AFC Championship game, a clash between the Titans and the Jets, grades the +1 factors that separate the best from the rest in Twitter. Custom URL shorteners, Custom themes, @ replies and retweet percentages. Both teams missed opportunities to score points, but the winner should come as no surprise.

Lets take it to the tape.

Jets vs. Titans
The first half of this game began with fluttering offenses on both sides. Both the Titans and the Jets went wide on their initial field goal attempts by failing to use custom URL shorteners for their Twitter links. Going into the half, the score remained a dismal 0-0 with neither team getting the safety for a custom theme promotion or capitalizing on other social media. But early in the 3rd quarter, the Titans went downfield for a field goal with a greater retweet percentage. Their defense sputtered in the 4th, however, as the Jets connected for a touchdown with the biggest @ reply engagement percentage in pro football with a staggering 56.78%.

It was a great game, and a great day to be a Jets fan.

(Apparently, they’ll talk to you.)

That wraps up the AFC Rae. How did the final showdown go in the NFC?

Rae:

The Giants and the Falcons squared off today and let’s just say, you’re right Amanda. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff so to speak and today’s game had one hell of a surprising outcome.

Falcons vs. Giants
While the Falcons had been a favorite since Round 1 of this competition, I don’t think anyone quite expected what occurred here on this field today. The Giants came onto the field with a weak offensive showing that was put up against an equally weak Falcons offense in the first half leaving us to head into the half with a tie 0-0 score. But the Giants came out with a vengeance in the third quarter and plowed through the Falcon defense scoring on both engagement percentages and retweet percentages. The Falcons were no match for the Giants defense today Amanda and they were sent packing with a final score of Giants 10, Falcons 0.

So that settles it. The New York Jets will take on the New York Giants in Twitter Bowl I.

Twitter Bowl

Today we see the last two twitterers standing after all 32 NFL Twitter accounts have done battle to try and take home the championship. The NY Jets will face off against the NY Giants in the final round. Each team can earn 7 points for both having the higher engagement score and for having the higher number of fans listing them. They can also earn 3 points for having the higher retweet percentage as well as for showing off their tweet stream on their official team website. This is it. Who will be crowned the champion tweeter?

Jets vs. Giants
The Giants came out scoring today. They quickly earned a field goal with a astounding 28.72 retweet percentage compared to a dismal .27% defense from the Jets. But the Jets immediately answered back, scoring 7 points for their 56.78% engagement score vs. the 9.30% defense displayed by the Giants. Both teams kicked field goals early in the fourth quarter after displaying their tweet streams on their official sites making it a one score game heading into the fourth with the Jets ahead by 4.

But the Jets supreme offensive training shined through when listed numbers were compared in last two minutes of the game. the Jets earned a clean touchdown, by nearly doubling the Giants listed numbers. Final Score: Jets 17, Giants 6.

And the New York Jets become the first ever Twitter Bowl Champions.


Twitter Bowl 2010
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Which teams reply most to their users?

FootballEngaging with your followers is what Twitter is all about. To quote Amanda, “otherwise, you’re just broadcasting.” So which teams most “get” the point of Twitter and actually converse with their fans?

  • New York Jets – 56.78% of tweets are replies
  • Arizona Cardinals – 31.50% of tweets are replies
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – 21.91% of tweets are replies
  • Seattle Seahawks – 18.55% of tweets are replies
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 13.67% of tweets are replies

Who has been using Twitter the longest?

FootballYou know what they say, “be the first or be the best.” Which five teams were the earliest to get in on the tweeting game? We were actually shocked by the Chargers and the Cowboys, whose accounts date all the way back to 2007.

  • San Diego Chargers – tweeting since 01/27/07
  • Dallas Cowboys – tweeting since 09/11/07
  • Oakland Raiders – tweeting since 09/17/08
  • Atlanta Falcons – tweeting since 09/18/08
  • New York Jets – tweeting since 10/30/08

Which team tweets the most?

FootballYou can’t make the impressive plays if you don’t actually participate in the game. Below are the top five teams who have acquired the most tweets. As an aside, the Twitter Bowl tweet #fail (regarding teams who actually had an account) goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers who Amanda noted had “2,925 fans eagerly awaiting nothing.” After the Bowl results were tallied, the Steelers began tweeting and amassed 1000 new followers almost instantaneously. Funny how that works.

  • Miami Dolphins – 18799 updates
  • New York Jets – 7304 updates
  • Baltimore Ravens – 4764 updates
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – 4472 updates
  • Dallas Cowboys – 4354 updates

Who actually follows their fans?

FootballNever forget that no football franchise can be successful unless they have fans filling the seats. Most NFL teams follow nothing but the official NFL Twitter account and the other 31 teams in the league. But a few teams managed to show some appreciation to their fans by following back.

  • San Diego Chargers – 31136 people followed
  • Minnesota Vikings – 9753 people followed
  • New York Jets – 5678 people followed
  • New Orleans Saints – 395 people followed
  • Houston Texans – 347 people followed

Which teams have the largest followings?

FootballIf Twitter follower numbers actually filled stadium seats, the following five teams would have the largest shows of support on their home field.

  • New England Patriots – 49182 fans
  • Dallas Cowboys – 43723 fans
  • San Diego Chargers – 43299 fans
  • New York Jets – 38294 fans
  • Oakland Raiders – 35328

Information and resources

The above data was compiled on October 4th, 2010 and obviously changes by the moment due to the nature of Twitter. The following websites were used in compiling that data:

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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