Move over, Dallas Cowboys. America has a new team

For the first time in six years, the NFL has a new “it” team

Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos against the New York Jets on October 12, 2014.
Jim McIsaac | Getty Images
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos against the New York Jets on October 12, 2014.

The Denver Broncos may have fallen (way) short against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII this past February, but they can now claim a new title: America's favorite football team.

Denver replaced the Dallas Cowboys at No. 1, according to results from The Harris Poll in a survey of 2,543 adults (1,275 of whom follow pro football) taken Sept.10-17. The Cowboys, who had held the top spot since 2007, fell to No. 4 on the annual list of popular teams, behind the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers.

The Broncos, led by 13-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning, have sold out every home game since the 1970 season. It's the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind only the Washington Redskins.

America's favorite football teams in 2014

Rank
Team
Chg
Last playoff season
Last Super Bowl win
1 Denver Broncos +2 2013 1998
2 New York Giants +2 2011 2011
3 Green Bay Packers -1 2013 2010
4 Dallas Cowboys -3 2009 1995
5 Pittsburgh Steelers +2 2011 2008
6 Seattle Seahawks +6 2013 2013
7 San Francisco 49ers +1 2013 1994
8 New England Patriots -3 2013 2004
9 Chicago Bears -3 2010 1985
10 New Orleans Saints +1 2013 2009
11 New York Jets +4 2010 1968
12 Minnesota Vikings +1 2012 ----
13 Detroit Lions +9 2011 ----
14 Washington Redskins 0 2012 1991
15(t) Philadelphia Eagles -6 2013 ----
15(t) Miami Dolphins -5 2008 1973
17 Cincinnati Bengals +7 2013 ----
18 Oakland Raiders -2 2002 1983*
19 Arizona Cardinals -3 2009 ----
20(t) Cleveland Browns +5 2002 ----
20(t) Buffalo Bills +8 1999 ----
22 Atlanta Falcons -2 2012 ----
23(t) Baltimore Ravens -7 2012 2012
23(t) San Diego Chargers 0 2013 ----
23(t) Kansas City Chiefs +6 2013 1969
26 Indianapolis Colts -7 2013 2006
27 Houston Texans -6 2012 ----
28 Carolina Panthers -1 2013 ----
29 St. Louis Rams +1 2004 1999
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4 2007 2002
31(t) Tennessee Titans 0 2008 ----
31(t) Jacksonville Jaguars +1 2007 ----
Source: Harris Poll, Pro-Football-Reference (* the Raiders played in Los Angeles during the 1983 season, Note: "(t)" indicates a tie in team ranking)

Some of the biggest upward movers on the list were the Detroit Lions, who climbed up nine spots to No. 13, and the Buffalo Bills, who moved up eight spots to No. 20.

Not surprisingly, the Cleveland Browns also climbed five spots in this year's ranking. This past spring, the team drafted former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has been credited with a surge in season ticket sales.

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Two teams surrounded by high-profile problems off the field, the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts, both saw the biggest downward moves in popularity.

The Ravens, embroiled in the Ray Rice domestic violence controversy for much of the year, fell seven spots to No. 23. The Colts (who peaked at No. 2 back in the 2010 list) have proved unable to maintain the same level of widespread popularity they enjoyed during their Peyton Manning era (1998-2011).

Falling seven spots to No. 26, the Colts have been forced to deal with the public relations aftermath created by owner Jim Irsay, who pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence and received a six-game suspension by the league.

The Cowboys have had to deal with their own off-the-field, legal distractions. This week, a Dallas judge dismissed a sexual assault lawsuit that had been filed against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.