NFL Political Donations Show the League Leans Right

Politics and football aren't always a good mix, as the people at ESPN found out this week in the wake of Hank Williams Jr.'s on-air rant about Barack Obama. (The sports network canned the crooner's familiar "Are you ready for some football" Monday Night Football opening song in response to the negative publicity over his comments.)


But NFL owners and players generally are not shy about expressing their political views—through campaign cash to candidates.

A new study out today from the Center for Responsive Politics ranked the teams by the volume of campaign money given by players, owners, executives and their spouses.

And what they found was that the NFL skews very, very red.

Of the top five most generous NFL franchises, four tilted heavily toward the GOP. The most politically active team in the league, the Houston Texans, was responsible for a total of $293,100 since January of 2009. Of that, $287,300, or 98 percent, went to Republicans. That's because of one man—team owner and energy executive Robert McNair. McNair has given $215,200 of his estimated $1.4 billion net worth to political causes since January 2009, almost entirely to Republicans.

The second highest donating team was the San Diego Chargers, where people affiliated with the teams forked over $171,523, with 79 percent of that going to Republicans.

Of the top five teams, only one, fifth-place Miami Dolphins, gave more to Democrats than Republicans. And there it was close: People affiliated with the Dolphins contributed $100,350, and 52 percent of that went to Democrats.

Overall, people affiliated with NFL teams gave 67 percent of their money to Republicans and just 29 percent to Democrats in the years that President Obama has been in office. All together, they have given more than $1.4 million to political candidates in that time.

Just in time for this weekend's games, here are the top five Republican-leaning teams in the NFL, according to the Center for Responsive Politics:

And here are the top five Democratic leaning teams: