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Normally you’d consider a near 80% confidence level to be pretty high. Especially for a team that finished last season 4-12 with fan confidence at the end of the season below 50%. But this is fans we’re talking about here. And the offseason is eternal hope time.
When you have as many holes to fill as the Raiders did coming into this offseason, and when you go about filling them, fans get more and more excited. And let’s be honest, the fans were given some reason to be optimistic. Antonio Brown is a big part of that.
As of the end of last season, 45% of Raiders fans were confident in the direction of the team via our FanPulse survey. Following free agency with the trade for Antonio Brown, addition of Trent Brown, Tyrell Williams, and Lamarcus Joyner, the confidence level made its largest leap to 77%. Then it dipped back down again for reasons hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it was not signing any pass rushers; the team’s most glaring need.
Following the draft, it jumped back up again to 79%. The draft is the cure-all. Every pick is looked at as the answer to the questions, the high picks are instant starters and the low picks are steals.
But as much of a jump as 34% is in a few months time for a team that hasn’t played a game, the resulting 79% confidence rate is still middle-of-the-road in the NFL and the lowest in the AFC West.
You want to see utterly unrealistic fan support, check out the Broncos fans, whose confidence level at the end of last season was at 28% and is now at 84%; exactly TRIPLE what it was! No team over 75% had a bigger leap.
You can see where the biggest jump occurred. It was free agency, when it jumped up to 69%. And what happened in free agency? Joe Flacco happened. That’s all it takes for Broncos fans to lose their minds. Joe. Flacco.
Pre-draft, those Broncos fans had a higher confidence level (75%) than Chargers fans (71%). Did I mention the Chargers made the playoffs with twice as many wins as the Broncos (6-10) who are still without a decent starting QB?
Both the Chiefs and Chargers finished 12-4 and were playoff teams last season, so their confidence was high and stayed high throughout the offseason. Chargers fans currently have the division’s highest confidence at 88%, up from 76% at the end of last season.
Chiefs fans’ confidence actually waned from 94% to 85%. Imagine that. Chiefs fans with their young MVP QB have just a 1% higher confidence level than Broncos fans with.... Joe... Flacco.
Ah, the level of bliss that must accompany that much ignorance.