NFL football is a matter of life and death for some fans, especially as the playoffs approach. But for Facebook, all that diehard fandom is just another massive dataset to crunch and visualize on some colorful maps. “At Facebook we have about 35 million account holders in the United States who have Liked a page for one of the 32 teams in the league, representing one of the most comprehensive samples of sports fanship ever collected,” read a Jan. 28 posting by Sean Taylor, an intern on Facebook’s Data Science team. “Put another way, more than 1 in 10 Americans have declared their support for an NFL team on Facebook.” The results of Facebook’s data-crunching are fairly unsurprising: teams that win more often tend to attract more “Likes,” and ones that make the playoffs (win or lose) see their social-networking popularity surge. When those Facebook “Likes” are correlated against geographic data, it’s immediately apparent that most teams enjoy their greatest popularity in the areas around their hometown. “Some teams, like the Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers, seem to transcend geography, with pockets of fans all over the country,” read the posting. “On the other end of the spectrum, the Jets have to share New York with the Giants and are only the most popular team for a single stronghold county in Long Island.” With the playoffs finished and the Super Bowl approaching, geography has again asserted itself: fans of the San Francisco 49ers tend to dominate the western half of the country, while Baltimore Ravens fans have a stronghold in the East.