Fans Pick Rams to Win Super Bowl XXXIV

by Mark Gillespie

Seven out of ten fans unable to name a single Rams or Titans player

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Cinderella didn't have a twin sister. That's the only thing that separates Sunday's Super Bowl in Atlanta from the fairy tale. However, only in a fairy-tale world would you expect this matchup: the St. Louis Rams -- picked by the oddsmakers in the preseason as 150-1 shots to win this year's Super Bowl, and the Tennessee Titans -- finally out of the homeless ranks after bouncing around Tennessee for two years following their exodus from Houston. A new Gallup poll conducted January 25 and 26 finds that only 60% of Americans can name at least one team appearing in this year's Super Bowl. Two years ago, when the Broncos and the Packers played in the Super Bowl, 66% of the public could name at least one of the teams.

When Gallup interviewers asked which team the fans would like to see win on Sunday, Americans split right down the middle: 38% picked the Rams and 36% chose the Titans. As might be expected, the Titans receive much higher support in the South (51%), while the Rams are strongest in the Midwest (47%). However, 44% of those living in the West also picked the Rams, perhaps because of their many years in Los Angeles.

However, Americans have a somewhat different view on their prediction about whowillwin the game. The Rams pick up points when the public is asked the question "regardless of whom you favor, which team do you think will win?" Forty-five percent of those polled pick the Rams, while 34% choose the Titans.

Little Change Expected in TV Viewership
The Super Bowl is traditionally one of the most-watched television programs of the year, and despite the fact that the two teams playing do not have long histories and are not located in big TV markets, TV viewership is still expected to be high. Nearly two out of three Americans -- 65% -- say that they will be watching the kickoff Sunday evening on ABC. By way of comparison, a Gallup poll before the 1992 Super Bowl between the Bills and the Redskins found 67% of Americans planned to watch the game. Perhaps not surprisingly, 75% of men say they will watch the game on Sunday, compared to 55% of women. Younger Americans are also more likely than those who are older to say they will be watching. About 49% of Americans say they plan to watch because the game will be exciting, while 14% say they will be watching even though they don't think the game will be exciting.

What else will Americans be doing this Sunday in relationship to the big game? Twenty-two percent plan to attend a Super Bowl party this year -- up from 15% in a 1994 Gallup poll taken before that year's Super Bowl. The percentage of those who will put money into an office pool has fallen slightly to 13%, down from 21% in 1994.

Who's Playing, Anyway?
For the first time in many years, there are no marquee names in the Super Bowl. No Elways, Aikmans, or Favres here. In fact, nearly three out of four Americans (73%) could not name a single Rams or Titans player when asked to name any player on either team. Even an MVP season for Rams quarterback Kurt Warner could only get him unaided name recognition from 14% of Americans, nearly twice that of Titans quarterback Steve McNair (8%). The star running backs for both teams were the only others to get more than 1% name ID from the public: Eddie George of Tennessee (7%) and Marshall Faulk of St. Louis (5%).

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,045 adults, 18 years and older, conducted January 25-26, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Can you happen to tell me the names of the two teams who will be playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday?

  Knows both Knows Titans but not Rams Knows Rams but not Titans Knows neither No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 46% 8 6 39 1
  Knows Packers and Broncos Knows Packers but not Broncos Knows Broncos but not Packers Knows neither No opinion
1998 Jan 16-18 52% 10 4 23 11

(In fact the two teams in the Super Bowl this year are the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams.) Which team would you like to see win this year's Super Bowl game -- [the Tennessee Titans (or) the Saint Louis Rams]?

  Tennessee Titans St. Louis Rams NO PREF./ DON'T FOLLOW (vol.) No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 36% 38 24 2

Regardless of whom you favor, which team do you think will win -- [the Tennessee Titans (or) the Saint Louis Rams]?

  Tennessee Titans St. Louis Rams NO PREF./ DON'T FOLLOW (vol.) No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 34% 45 14 7

Which of the following activities, if any, do you plan to do in connection with this year's Super Bowl game on Sunday, January 30th? How about … [watch the game live on TV; attend a Super Bowl party on game day; put money into an office pool on the game's outcome; bet money, other than in an office pool, on the Titans or the Rams to win]?

  Yes No
A. Watch the game live on TV
2000 Jan 25-26 65% 35
 
1992 Jan 16-19 67% 33
B. Attend a Super Bowl party on game day
2000 Jan 25-26 22% 78
 
1994 Jan 26 15% 85
1992 Jan 16-19 16% 85
C. Put money into an office pool on the game's outcome
2000 Jan 25-26 13% 87
 
1994 Jan 26 21% 78
1992 Jan 16-19 18% 82
D. Bet money, other than in an office pool, on the Titans or the Rams to win
2000 Jan 25-26 9% 91

Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of the Super Bowl -- [You plan to watch the game because it could be exciting; you don't think the game will be exciting, but you plan to watch it anyway; you don't plan to watch the game]?

  Watch, could be exciting Not exciting, watch anyway Don't plan to watch No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 49% 14 35 2
1994 Jan 26 43% 17 39 1

Can you happen to tell me the name of any of the players on the Tennessee Titans or the St. Louis Rams who will be playing in this year's Super Bowl?

Marshall Faulk 5%
Eddie George 7
Steve McNair 10
Kurt Warner 14
Other 8
 
Don't know 21
Refused 1
No/None 51
(vol.) = volunteered response
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