Following an offseason of player movement, many NFL teams will take the field this September with rosters that look vastly different than last season. With training camps officially underway, we evaluated every team’s players to showcase the top athlete-driven teams on social in the National Football League.

Cleveland Browns players lead the league in fan engagement by a wide margin, with the majority of actions happening on Instagram. Much of that performance can be credited to offseason acquisition Odell Beckham Jr., who leads all NFL athletes in both followers and total engagements.

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The second-most engaging roster belongs to the New England Patriots, who also claim the highest player engagement rate at 6.8 percent. Pats players dominate with video content, generating more than 160 million combined views in the past year. 

Of all teams, no roster has been more active on social than the Detroit Lions. But despite posting nearly 16 thousand times, Lions players rank just 25th in total engagements.

Even with the lowest engagement rate among players, Lions players still manage to engage their followers 2.4-times more effectively than the most engaging NFL team accounts and 6.5-times better than the Lions’ owned accounts.

The Raiders’ acquisition of wide receiver Antonio Brown is another move that made waves in social standings. But even with Brown swapping the black and gold for black and silver this season, the Steelers still top the Raiders for the third spot in our social engagement ranking.

Pittsburgh also owns the most impressive growth from the last year, with the team’s roster adding a total of 3.6 million new followers and growing at a rate of 34.5 percent. Social star JuJu Smith-Schuster plays a major role in the Steelers’ social success, but many of the team’s young stars also made an impact by consistently sharing content on social this offseason.

The NFL’s top athlete-driven teams

Below is our analysis of the top athlete-driven NFL teams, based on their athletes’ collective performance on social. The report includes data from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all active NFL players from June 14, 2018, to June 14, 2019.

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Athlete audience by team
  • Cleveland Browns  — 27.7 million followers
  • New England Patriots  — 25.8 million followers
  • New Orleans Saints  — 21.8 million followers
  • Oakland Raiders — 19.2 million followers
  • Dallas Cowboys — 19.0 million followers
Athlete activity by team
  • Detroit Lions  — 15.9 thousand posts
  • New Orleans Saints  — 13.4 thousand posts
  • Pittsburgh Steelers  — 12.4 thousand posts
  • Washington Redskins  — 11.4 thousand posts
  • Kansas City Chiefs — 11.1 thousand posts
Athlete engagements by team
  • Cleveland Browns  — 184.9 million engagements
  • New England Patriots  — 134.0 million engagements
  • Pittsburgh Steelers  — 91.0 million engagements
  • Oakland Raiders  — 85.8 million engagements
  • Philadelphia Eagles  —  56.7 million engagements
Athlete engagement rate by team
  • New England Patriots  — 6.8%
  • Minnesota Vikings  —  5.8%
  • Los Angeles Rams  — 5.7%
  • Jacksonville Jaguars — 5.4%
  • Pittsburgh Steelers  — 4.7%
Athlete growth rate by team
  • Pittsburgh Steelers  — 34.5%
  • Kansas City Chiefs  — 34.0%
  • Chicago Bears  — 32.7%
  • Los Angeles Rams  — 29.2%
  • Cleveland Browns  — 28.4%