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Poll finds NFL more popular than ever

Pro Bowl Football

Fans watch the entertainment before the NFL football Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)


We have another data point indicating that the NFL is more popular than ever.

A Harris Poll of the American public, conducted September 25-27, found that 59 percent of Americans follow pro football, the highest level of interest in the NFL that Harris has ever found in its regular studies of the U.S. population.

“Football remains popular and even shows a rise in interest since last year,” the Harris Poll said in a release. “In 2011, over half of Americans (55 percent) said they followed professional football – a slight increase from 2010, when 53 percent said so. This year, that number rises further, with 59 percent of Americans saying they follow professional football; this is the highest percentage to indicate this since The Harris Poll first started asking the question in 1992.”

It’s been remarkable in recent years that nothing -- not an offseason lockout of players, not increasing emphasis in the media on the long-term health risks of concussions suffered while playing football, not the NFL’s at times heavy-handed actions to try to curb concussions, not replacement refs, nothing -- can slow the growing popularity of the NFL. It’s not just America’s most popular sport, it may be America’s most popular cultural institution of any kind. And there’s no reason to think the NFL has stopped growing.