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Seahawks, Packers are tops for Alaska NFL fans

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published November 18, 2011

Karlyn Moyer of Anchorage has been a Seattle Seahawks fan for as long as she can remember and is fiercely loyal to her team. One of the rooms in her house is decorated almost entirely with Seahawks souvenir items she has collected over the years, and come Christmas time, her tree is an homage to the green-and-blue.

"The only thing that is not a Seahawks (ornament) is my fiber-optic angel at the top," she said.

Moyer grew up in Oregon and became a Seahawks fan as soon as there was a Seahawks team. She brought her passion with her to Alaska 18 years ago. If you pricked her, she would surely bleed green and blue, and yet the Seahawks are not in her DNA.

One daughter, Sharryll Muffler, is a Tampa Bay fan. Another, Nanette Moyer, is a Tennessee Titans fan. Sharryll's husband Daniel is a Denver Broncos fan. And Nanette's boyfriend, Mike Burger, is a Green Bay Packers fan.

"And when he puts that cheese thing on his head, he's a Cheese-Burger," Moyer said.

Moyer can't figure out how her kids strayed so far. Nor can she explain her own mother's allegiance.

"Mom is a Steelers fan. I have no idea why. Hell, I'm 48 years old and she's always been a Steelers fan," she said.

As perplexed as Moyer is about the source of her family's disparate devotion when it comes to the National Football League, it makes perfect sense in Alaska.

Recently the Daily News asked football fans who their favorite team is, and 879 of you responded -- 579 by voting online and another 300 by spending 44 cents to mail a ballot.

Our conclusion after tallying the votes? There is no "Alaska's team." While the Packers and the Seahawks were the favorites -- the Packers garnered 288 votes (32.8 percent) and the Seahawks got 213 (24.2 percent).

Forty-three percent of voters opted for a team other than those two -- meaning that, like Moyer's family, Alaska has a diverse group of NFL fans. All but two of the league's 32 teams got at least one vote. Getting no love were the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Seahawks rule TV

If you get your NFL on regular television, you'd think the Seahawks are Alaska's team. On seven of the season's first 10 weekends, which included Seattle's bye week, KTBY-Channel 4 -- which airs NFC games -- showed Seattle games.

That's no coincidence. The Seahawks air here so often because Channel 4 told Fox Sports that Seattle is its No. 1 preference, according to Mike Mulvihill, the senior vice president for programming and research for Fox Sports.

"Every year in the off-season we ask affiliates to submit a list of their top three preferences," Mulvihill said in a phone interview last week. In order, he said, Channel 4's top preferences were Seattle, Green Bay and Minnesota.

While an affiliate usually gets the games of its No. 1 preferences, that's not a guarantee, Mulvihill said.

"Once the seasons starts, we sit down every Monday and assign games for the upcoming two weeks and the station is notified. If they want something else they have the opportunity (to request) a different game, which we often times grant them, but it's not something we automatically approve," he said.

But once the season gets beyond the midway point, the affiliate's preference isn't always Fox Sports' preference.

"If a team is falling out of the race, we will go with games with national implications," Mulvihill said. "In different parts of the country, there are varying opinions on when you should abandon the local team. By mid-November we start feeling confident about moving teams away from their markets."

That's why Channel 4 will air something other than the Seahawks this Sunday for just the third time this season (fourth if you count the bye week).

"For (this week) we originally had Seattle-St. Louis, but we decided to move to Tampa Bay-Green Bay," Mulvihill said. "We had an opportunity to give them a game between the undefeated Super Bowl champs and a team in the same division that seems to be in the race."

SHOW YOUR COLORS

At Excalibur Sports, a Northway Mall store that sells sports apparel and logo items, no single NFL team dominates, salesman Craig Evans said. Asked who the big sellers are, he reeled off several teams.

"Steelers, Cowboys, Bears, Packers, Raiders," he said, adding, when asked about Seattle, that the store sells a fair amount of Seahawks items too.

Is the interest in Green Bay a passing fancy? Have Alaskans jumped on the Aaron Rogers bandwagon in the wake of last season's Super Bowl championship?

"The Packers always sell pretty decent," he said. "Probably the Packers sell best -- maybe a little more because they did win last year, but they've always been big sellers."

GEOGRAPHY, SHMEOGRAPHY

"Anybody but the Seahawks" was a common theme on comments posted online and written on mail-in ballots, again reinforcing the belief that there is no real Alaska's team -- although the Seahawks are always in the discussion.

Seattle topped Daily News polls in 1984, 1986 and 2007, with the Seahawks earning 28 percent of the votes in the 2007 poll -- meaning 72 percent of voters root for somebody else.

In a 1994 Daily News poll, the Packers led an NFC Central sweep of the top three spots with 1,298 votes (Minnesota tallied 1,079 and Detroit 842, with Seattle trailing with 420). No bandwagon effect that time -- the poll was taken two seasons before Brett Favre led the Packers to the 1997 Super Bowl championship.

The diversity of NFL fans in Anchorage can be seen in bars every Sunday. The Crossroads is a Packers bar. The Sea Galley is a Vikings bar. And the Peanut Farm, with its gazillion screens, gets fans loyal to just about every team in the league, with a couple of special sections reserved for teams with especially big followings, like the Steelers.

Demographically speaking, it makes sense that no single team dominates in Anchorage.

According to the most recent American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the city's nearly 300,000 residents were born in a state other than Alaska. That survey puts the number of residents born in the West at 60,949, those born in the Midwest at 37,255 and those born in the South at 36,517.

Moyer, whose Oregon roots made her a Seahawks fan forever, is cool with the notion that her team is not everyone else's team.

"My thing is, just be faithful to your team," she said.

Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or 257-4335.

Alaska's team poll

When the Daily News asked football fans who their favorite team is, 879 of you responded - 579 by voting at adn.com and another 300 by mailing ballots. The vast majority - probably 95 percent - of the mail-in votes included one ballot per envelope.

The Green Bay Packers topped balloting by garnering 288 votes, or 32.7 percent. The Seattle Seahawks were second with 218 votes, or 24.2.

The Packers won the mail-in tally by a landslide. Of the 300 mail-in votes, 131 were for the Packers. Seattle was second with 54 and Minnesota was third with 26. In the mail-vote, there was no obvious sign of ballot-stuffing - the vast majority of mail-in votes included one ballot per envelope and very few were Xeroxed copies of the ballot we ran in print.

In online voting, the Seahawks and Packers finished in a near dead heat - Seahawks 159, Packers 157. Third place was a tight race between the 49ers (33 votes) and the Vikings (32).

We'll keep the poll on our website through the end of the season in case fans who haven't voted still want to. This means you, Carolina and Jacksonville fans - your teams are the only ones that received zero votes.

Green Bay Packers 288

Seattle Seahawks 213

Minnesota Vikings 58

San Francisco 49ers 44

Pittsburgh Steelers 29

Dallas Cowboys 28

Oakland Raiders 27

Denver Broncos 22

Chicago Bears 21

New England Patriots 20

Buffalo Bills 16

Detroit Lions 16

New York Giants 14

Washington Redskins 10

Miami Dolphins 9

San Diego Chargers 9

New Orleans Saints 8

Philadelphia Eagles 8

Kansas City Chiefs 7

St. Louis Rams 5

Indianapolis Colts 4

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4

Baltimore Ravens 3

Cleveland Browns 3

New York Jets 3

Tennesee Titans 3

Arizona Cardinals 2

Atlanta Falcons 2

Cincinnati Bengals 2

Houston Texans 1

Carolina Panthers 0

Jacksonville Jaguars 0

By BETH BRAGG

Anchorage Daily News

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