Over the last few years, Complex Sports has made a tradition of ranking all the NBA teams’ Twitter accounts (here’s our list for 2018). We scrub the squads’ official feeds and—through a rigorous, incredibly subjective process—determine which teams deserve praise for their social media efforts and which teams have accounts that are blasé.
No one would argue that the NFL is as Twitter-savvy as the NBA; the NFL is forever playing catch-up to the more progressive league. But the NFL has increased its efforts on social media several years ago and most teams now employ at least five social media managers. It takes a village to go hard in the tweets. So this year, we’re expanding our rankings to audit the NFL’s 32 teams.
We’ve evaluated these accounts based on entertainment value, above all, while also factoring in creativity and humor. Some teams (the Bears, Chargers, and Saints, for example) excel in these areas. Others—not so much. So one day after we stirred things up with a fresh look at the whole Tom Brady vs. Michael Jordan GOAT debate, see where your favorite team sits by checking out our rankings. If you have beef, be sure to let us know on —where else?—on Twitter.
Followers: 2.06 million
People expected the 49ers to be a breakout team in 2018 behind GM John Lynch and second-year coach Kyle Shanahan. San Francisco was entering its first full season with Jimmy Guapo as its No. 1 QB and hopes were high that this franchise could return to its days of competing with the best in the league. But after Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3, the 49ers’ season was doomed. There wasn’t much to celebrate (beyond George Kittle’s surprising performance) during the Niners’ 4-12 campaign, and the team’s lackluster Twitter did little to alleviate fans’ vexation. This account offers little beyond news updates. Not that there’s anything wrong with keeping fans up to date—it just isn’t an entertaining approach.
Followers: 2.64 million
Another team that had a forgettable 2018 season and has an equally unremarkable Twitter presence. There’s little juice on this feed, perhaps a result of John Elway’s intense approach to leadership—they don’t mess around at Mile High Stadium. Granted, all of the Broncos’ content (which has mainly focused on Phillip Lindsay of late) is solid—they just don’t make things very fun for its followers. Lightheartedness is clearly not a priority, though Denver has an incredibly lighthearted star (Von Miller) as the face of the franchise. We wish the Broncos would hand Von the keys.
Followers: 2.21 million
Like the teams above, the Packers don’t care to infuse their news with personality. When it comes to Twitter, the Packers are just ’bout that action, boss. But being ’bout that action can get old, especially when fans are watching yet another road loss and suffering through an uninspiring 6-9-1 season. The Cheeseheads looked to spice things up on the field by firing Mike McCarthy and bringing aboard the young, offensive-minded Matt LaFleur—maybe this change at head coach will usher in a new era of spicy tweets. Probably not.
Followers: 1.59 million
In Year 1 of Jon Gruden’s return, the Raiders shipped off arguably their two best young players (Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper) and finished 4-12. Further, their fans had to deal with dissent between their team and the city of Oakland. It was a brutal year for the Black Hole faithful. Not too long ago, the Raiders were one of the most fun teams in the league—now, they’re milquetoast. Their feed offers little more than a vehicle for PR and putting a positive spin on the gloomy times. Sometimes they’ll integrate historic content or some on-field reactions from players, but considering this team had Marshawn Lynch and Gruden, we’d hope for something more engaging.
Followers: 1.81 million
Gettleman: We didn’t sign Odell to trade him.
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 2, 2019
It’s all been downhill for the Giants since their wide receivers took that infamous Miami boat trip in January 2017, and fans are fed up with the franchise. The future looks bright, though. Saquon Barkley is well on his way to becoming the most dominant player in the league (yeah, we said it), and the Giants have the sixth pick in the draft, allowing them to potentially select Eli Manning’s replacement (Dwayne Haskins?). Even if the Giants become a force again, though, don’t expect to see anything crazy from their social squad on Twitter. The Giants, like the Raiders, make use of old-school content on occasion, and they relay quotes from players, coaches, and executives like a wire service—but they don’t do anything edgy. We ding the Giants because they have Odell Beckham Jr.—one of the most fascinating athletes in all of sports—and they should be building their brand around him. We’d hope to see more dancing, more Drake references, and more life in general on this feed.
Followers: 1.25 million
The Redskins started their 2018 season 5-2, but finished 7-9, taking a nosedive after quarterback Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg in Week 11. Somehow, 33-year-old Adrian Peterson was Washington’s biggest star, so the Redskins tailored much of their Twitter delivery around him. This account occasionally will offer a moderate push of the envelope—for example, venturing into “drip” terminology, or creating a Scarn Dance montage in reference to The Office. But their most popular posts come via retweets of their players, and you won’t find much reason for fodder on this feed. There should be a weekly “what Josh Norman thinks of the wide receiver he’ll cover this week” thread—we’d be waiting with popcorn in hand for that.
3️⃣ facts about @Lastname_Baker's performance during his rookie season
- The only NFL rookie linebacker with a pick-six.
- 7th among NFL rookie linebackers in tackles.
- Tied for 8th among NFL rookie linebackers with 3 sacks. pic.twitter.com/Z9CoMUvqNz
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) January 9, 2019
The Dolphins are reportedly hiring Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores to replace the recently fired Adam Gase. The 2018 season was a rough one for Dolphins fans—Miami jumped out to a 3-0 start, but finished 7-9, similar to the situation in Washington. The highlight of the year for the Dolphins was the “Miami Miracle,” the team’s last-second win over New England, and you can trust that Miami’s social media team has gotten plenty of content out of that. They’ve also focused largely on their excellent young defensive backfield of Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins provide quality on-field mic’d up material, but this account mainly sticks to matter-of-fact news reporting.
The Bucs, like many teams on this list, have a new head coach: Bruce Arians. They also hired former Jets coach Todd Bowles as their new defensive coordinator. The Bucs are selling their fans hard on Arians, whom their GM says is the “coolest damn coach in the NFL.” Tampa is positioning Arians as the savior and mayor of Tampa Bay; he does seem to have the respect of his players. Arians has long been close with Jameis Winston, and the new coach says the Bucs can win a title with Winston as their QB. This feed is filled with optimistic vibes, and it includes high-level documentary content and sharp-looking Photoshops. The Bucs are a level above the teams below them on this list.
Followers: 2.35 million
The Seahawks’ Twitter squad has recently aimed to rally the “12th Man”. Having lost a tough game to the Cowboys in the wild card round of the playoffs, they’ve tried sell Seattle’s loyal fans on the idea that better days—behind the charismatic Pete Carroll and electrifying Russell Wilson—are coming. And, to be honest, they probably are; this is a great franchise that plays in a great city, and they have plenty of talent on the roster. The Seahawks occasionally share fun content like this video about touchdown celebrations or artsy photos like this shot celebrating Doug Baldwin’s #ToeDragSwag. And they get pretty excitable during games and dole out lots of emojis—we’re always onboard with heavy emoji usage and real-time reactions during games. One suggestion: How about allowing Ciara to briefly take over the account?
Followers: 1.21 million
The Jets fired Todd Bowles after four seasons, and their social media team has started documenting the Adam Gase Era. Though Gase didn’t have that much success with the Dolphins—perhaps due to his loyalty to Ryan Tannehill—the Jets are touting this new era as “a new beginning.” They’re building around rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and young safety Jamal Adams, whom the team voted MVP. Much of this feed is dedicated to Adams, his swag, and the idea that the Jets are on the upswing. There’s good photography and behind-the-scenes content on the Jets’ feed, too, like this shot of paparazzo Josh McCown. We granted bonus points to any team that gave us a behind-the-scenes peek at the players’ personalities.
Followers: 1.45 million
This team centers much of its Twitter material around channeling the predictable “underdog” narrative. The Ravens still use lots of material from the stars of yesterday‚—like Ray Lewis, who will never stop being entertaining—which is awesome. They also intermittently mix in reaction GIFs during game action. Check out this feed and you’ll notice plenty of posts are designed to gas up Lamar Jackson—which makes sense, given that the team’s future rides on his shoulders and he had a decently impressive rookie season. We’re always in favor of teams integrating celebrity fans, too, and the Ravens do so with folks like Michael Phelps.
Cincy has finally moved on from Marvin Lewis. The Bengals get creative with their news—for example, now that they’re looking for their next head coach, instead of just saying, “We’re interviewing for a new coach,” their social media team did a flashback to January 2003, the last time they were searching for a new leader. The Bengals had little to celebrate this season beyond Joe Mixon’s breakout campaign, and the emojis on their Twitter feed were reflective of the disappointing campaign. The Bengals try hard to come up with outside-the-box content, like sharing the players’ votes on which teammate would be “most likely to cry while watching The Notebook” or weaving in references to Elf. We get the sense that the Bengals would crack the top 15 if they had some more intriguing personnel on their roster.
Rallying fans around Remember the Titans is always a good idea. This year, the Titans got fans to start a “Titan Walk” as they entered games—pretty cool, though we have no idea why it took so long for this to become a thing. Consistent with the same theme, the Titans recently compared Blaine Gabbert to “Sunshine.” (Yeah, they’re really doubling down on this movie lately.) That might be because the product on the field left much to be desired. Nonetheless, the team’s Twitter feed was pretty solid. They leveraged celebrity fans like Keith Urban; and they shared energetic captions on highlight videos throughout games.
Followers: 1.85 million
To recap the Texans’ season: they started 0-3, they won nine straight, finished 11-5, and lost in the wild card round to AFC South rival Indianapolis. Should fans believe in Bill O’Brien? We have no idea. But the Texans’ Twitter feed is all about optimism and looking ahead at a bright future. If you scroll through this feed, you’ll start to believe Houston is headed for the Super Bowl. The Texans also may have had the best schedule release of all time, channeling Backyard Football.
Followers: 3.77 million
Oddly enough, in the early years of their Twitter account, the Cowboys were beefing with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. They’ve come a come a long way since then, learning that it’s important to be on the same page as the other pro franchises in Dallas. Though they were still salty about Dez Bryant’s controversial no-catch as of February, the Cowboys had a resurgence this season behind Ezekiel Elliott and their vaunted defense, and their social media team aptly captured the exciting season. If you’re coming here, you’re going to see plenty of Zeke-eating-soup action. You’ll also find the occasional timely Post Malone reference (see above), as well as captivating mini documentaries.
Followers: 1.15 million
Many of these teams are selling their fans on hope, but it is a definitely a new day in Cleveland, as the Browns—just one year removed from a “perfect” 0-16 season—finished 7-8-1. They have young stars in Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb, as well as a promising new coach in Freddie Kitchens. Kitchens is a funny guy, and he’s guaranteed to deliver plenty of valuable material. This Twitter is a good one; they make creative content like this Wolf of Wall Street video, share goofy footage like this clip of David Njoku doing his best Adele impersonation, and implement classics like throwbacks to Kitchens’ time as Alabama’s starting quarterback. There’s no doubt that around here, the tide is turning. What a time to be a Browns fan.
Followers: 1.02 million
The Colts started season 1-5, but rallied to make the divisional round of the playoffs behind Jacked Andrew Luck and new coach Frank Reich. They also have a solid Twitter feed. The Colts created riveting hype videos, gave fans real-time on-field footage, and offered a glimpse into the players’ (sometimes unusual) behaviors. Their video-editing game was on point, too. Everything on the Colts’ feed revolves around sticking it to the haters, but don’t count us in that camp.
Followers: 2.33 million
Atlanta fell well short of expectations in 2018; after narrowly losing to the Patriots in the 2016 Super Bowl and Eagles in 2017 divisional round, they finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. But their Twitter usage was solid. The Falcons pump out good content, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. They use player photos/GIFs well, and this account is equitable; the Falcons give equal air time to their stars (like, of course, Julio Jones) and their lesser-known standouts (like Damontae Kazee, Calvin Ridley, and Matt Bryant).
Followers: 1.27 million
The Vikings sat home this postseason, so they’ve been thinking back to Stefon Diggs’ crazy, last-second catch in last year’s divisional round. Props to the Vikings, though, for owning that the 2018 season was rough; many teams wouldn’t do that. The Vikings will even post negative quotes from their coach when things aren’t going well. Fans want to know what coaches/players really think, so we’re all for transparency, and this feed is transparent. The Vikings also commissioned a series of silly claymation cartoon skits, dubbed #VikingQuest, which they released throughout the season. This came on the heels of them using an animated Lego series last season. Whether you like the skits or not, this team puts real effort into its Twitter. Kirk Cousins is a good follow, too.
Followers: 1.34 million
The Lions are somewhat sassy on Twitter (example: how they chirped the Packers), and we’re here for it. There’s an edge to this account, which is refreshing given how many teams are afraid to offend. The Lions are willing to push boundaries, as evidenced by their encouragement of players’ social-justice advocacy. Think about that: How many NFL teams are posting about social justice on Twitter? Shout out to the Lions. Oh, and they use Michael Scott GIFs—always a good thing.
Followers: 4.35 million
The Super Bowl champs get it done time and time again on the field. As for the timeline? One wouldn’t expect the Patriots to have a super interesting online presence given Bill Belichick’s no-nonsense approach. But would the Pats’ even know or care about any salacious content considering he would never be caught on “SnapFace.” For the most part, New England’s Twitter account keeps things buttoned up—but on occasion, they’ll make subtle rap references or join in on viral trends. They also recently posted a video directly calling out pundits for doubting them. This account has some fun while staying true to the “do your job” ethos.
The Rams had a breakout 2018 campaign and an equally strong Twitter game. The Rams shared emotional content that connected their fans to their players; they blatantly trolled Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys after their playoff win; and they made excellent use of GIFs to get their fan base fired up. They took you inside the locker room during celebrations, too. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes content on this feed that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. And L.A. gets bonus points for thinking of its Latino fans and integrating some multicultural flavor.
Followers: 3.41 million
| ANTONIO |
| BROWN |
| IS THE |
| BEST |
| WR |
| IN THE |
| NFL |
Don’t @ us.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 23, 2018
What a season for the Steelers. At one point, they looked like a Super Bowl contender, and yet they missed the playoffs. Off-the-field drama abounded, and it doesn’t figure to slow down this off-season (Antonio Brown recently unfollowed the team, and who knows what will happen with Le’Veon Bell?). Amid the chaos, this Twitter account shined. They provided funny commentary during games. They used GIFs often and well. They poked fun at Big Ben for being slow. They even shared some dope cartoon art. This team is shockingly a mess, but Twitter should be the least of its worries.
The Jaguars have the least-followed account of any NFL team, but theirs is one of the best. (In case you’re wondering why their Twitter name is #DUUUVAL—Jacksonville plays in Duval County.) The Jags showcase the incredible personality of Ramsey; they make shrewd use of video games like Madden; and they get fired up on the TL during games (more teams should get fired up on the TL during games!). Further, they make frequent rap references (like to NWA and Three 6 Mafia). This is another team that embraces transparency; they acknowledge that they need a QB and that their culture was trash this season. The Jags’ efforts on Twitter are made all the more impressive when you consider that their coach, Doug Marrone, might be the most uptight guy in the NFL.
There wasn’t much reason for celebration in Buffalo this season—the team slid back after finally making the playoffs in 2017—but the Bills’ Twitter squad made the best of a bad situation. For example, they took a huge L for not knowing where Minnesota is—putting the Vikings in Wisconsin—but the Bills got the last laugh after clobbering the Vikings. They also got the last laugh after Josh Allen led Buffalo to victory over trash-talking Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars. This account is seriously petty. They also dig up gems like this old-school clip of a heated swim race between Marshawn Lynch and Kyle Williams.
Followers: 1.22 million
The Chiefs had a lot to celebrate this season, so you had to know their social media game would be either amazing or terrible. It is the former. They celebrated victories with Super Smash Bros. GIFs. They shared beautiful video content like this time-lapse video of snow coming down and being cleared before the divisional game against Indy. They quoted Drake and put their biggest celebrity fans on display. They called out their opponents’ ineptitude. They put Colin Cowherd on blast for doubting their home crowd. Even their mini player-celebration packages were lit. Tough ending, but great season—both on the field and on Twitter.
Followers: 1.36 million
Aided by the fact that Drew Brees is low-key the sauciest player in the league, the Saints were strong on the social network this season. They teased Brees for his age, calling him the “40-year-old quarterback.” They captured footage of fans in their element. They showed respect to Michael Thomas’ shoe game. And they had a clearly defined palate when it came to emojis, rarely venturing outside of the lock, flexing biceps, fire, or Saints logo—why mess with success? There’s a smooth, encouraging spirit to this feed, perhaps because their prolific run this season looked a lot like their Super Bowl climb in 2007.
The Cardinals were criticized when they recently brought aboard former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. This team is dubbing him the ‘King,’ though, and, naturally, they’re giving fans an all-access look at his transition. The Cards’ sense of humor sets this account apart. They sent off an all-time tweet recently when they tried to jinx their opponents by Photshopping Drake into their gear. They got in on viral trends like the ‘how hard did aging hit you’ challenge, and they’re happy to troll opponents (like the Bucs, when they hired former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians). They even discuss their coach’s handsomeness and compare him to Ryan Gosling.
Followers: 3.01 million
Recently, a young Saints fan asked Cam Newton to sign his dustpan, and Cam threw the pan in the trash. Instead of issuing an apology, the Panthers’ social media team had the perfect response to the situation. The Panthers love to play up Charlotte on their feed, and who could blame them? That’s a great city. They also love to hype up Julius Peppers—who deserves it, considering he’s still getting sacks at age 39—and fantasy football maestro Christian McCaffrey. On this feed, you’ll catch the occasional Napoleon Dynamite or Ron Swanson GIF, as well as some well-timed sass and sauce. Further, the Panthers have set the standard for NFL social media Photoshopping in recent years with heat like this. This team doesn’t have 3.01 million followers because they have a massive fan base. #KeepPounding
Followers: 3.4 million
The Eagles’ aura is consistent with the whole “Philadelphia against the world” mentality. The Eagles’ social media managers send off constant #FlyEaglesFly tweets and successfully cultivate the community’s underdog spirit and collectivism with reminders that “we all we got.” They also rally those who bleed green with hype videos like this one, released ahead of their tough divisional loss to New Orleans. But it’s not all serious all the time on this feed. For example, the Eagles are down the with the ski-mask culture, so their fans are, too. We have no idea what the Eagles should do at QB, but we do know their social media efforts—focused on nurturing a loyal group identity, having fun in the process—are admirable.
Followers: 1.73 million
The Bears are back. Behind new head coach Matt Nagy and the most electric defense in the league (led by Khalil Mack), Chicago was a force to be reckoned with this season—and Bears fans were also privy to one of the best Twitter accounts in the NFL. There was a clear theme to this feed: the Bears implemented creative comic book imagery with weekly storytelling throughout the season as well as superhero visages of individual players. There isn’t much humor on this account, but it’s not needed—the Bears’ Twitter has a striking, carefully curated aesthetic. We imagine players would want to play for a team with a Twitter like this.
L.A. claims the throne in our first-ever NFL Twitter rankings. This team has the obligatory well-made “get fired up!” video content, but L.A. also uses plenty of humor. Consider, for instance, how they trolled the Ravens with Crying Jordan memes (see above); or how they called out Kodak Black after defeating Baltimore; or how they placed Chariots of Fire music behind a slow-motion clip of Philip Rivers scrambling. They offer direct-from-the-players content, too, giving the athletes a voice on the account. Recently, they were given an opportunity to respond to a trending topic ahead of their matchup with the Chiefs, and the Chargers did not disappoint, owning the opportunity to generate some buzz and get a rise out of the Twitter crowd. The life of a social media manager is tough, and it’s even harder to stand out from the pack. Give those folks in the city of stars a raise.