Strongly disagree that it matches nationwide. If you take out the success of the teams, football would be fourth. I would say for New England/Boston, it's probably:
This isn't football country. (pre-BB/Brady, at the least not pre-Parcells). Pats are there because of Brady/BB, plus strong semi-recent success coupled with losing 2 tough SB's to NY after the success, plus hope for this year (TheoShmeo's point) plus the timing of the survey.
Those of you with vivid memories of 1985-6, what say you?
Well are talking nationwide or Boston/NE? You're nt exactly clear there.
By all means you're welcome to disagree, but regardless of team success, my hierarchy is in fact accurate on a national level. You need look no further than the revenues and tv contracts of the individual sports to see that. Football is, by leaps and bounds, the most popular sport in this country. I find it difficult to find a basis to argue that point. A quick google search will tell you that the NFL clocks in around $9.5B, the MLB around $8b, the NBA around $4 and the NhL around $3.5.
As far as Boston area, no, football has never been the fever before the current run because there are no college powerhouses and the Pats sucked for so long. But right now, just like nationally, football is king.
At an absolute level of equality, I would probably say that Boston, historically, at heart is a hockey town. followed by baseball, then basketball then football, closer to your proclamations. But the key word there is historically. Things have changed and not just because of the success of the Pats or any oth team but because society and our lives have changed, as well as our teams. I may be wearing rose colored glasses but I don't ever see the Pats returning to stepchild even after BB and TB are gone. The culture has changed and the NFL has become too big a monster.
Regardless, as stated above, this thing is all about timing and whomever ordered the poll knew that and it's just anther cheap attempt to throw garbage. Of coure the sox have lost top billing.