On Sundays (and now Mondays and Thursdays), these are the professional football players who make their living amazing us with superhuman feats. They compete for glory on the turf, and they compete for attention across Instagram. Since they only play 60 minutes a week, there’s plenty of time – in between training, practice, and sleep – for these players to vie for our likes.
But how does it break down? Do fans give our likes to more offensive or defensive players? Do quarterbacks not only run the offense but command all of our Instagram attention? We reviewed the data to determine the top NFL athletes on Instagram.
There are a few players who lead the league when it comes to their Instagram activity. They share more than their peers, inviting fans to take a much better look at the real life of an NFL player once they remove their helmets and cleats. HBO’s “Ballers” it’s not; this is the real deal. Florida native and Tennessee Titans’ running back Dexter McCluster (@dextermccluster) posts more than any other NFL player. The proud papa shares many videos and pictures of his daughter, in addition to uploading his Snapchat posts to share with a wider audience.
Flipping to the other side of the ball, Seattle Seahawks’ strong safety and card-carrying member of the “Legion of Boom” Kam Chancellor (@bambamkam) finds himself in second place. Chancellor posts photos of his sponsored events, workouts, and motivational quotes.
Baltimore Ravens’ running back Terrance West (@terrancewestbwi), Washington Redskins’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson (@OneOfone), and Oakland Raiders’ defensive tackle Leon Orr (@kinglafiel) round out the top five. Who knows how much they each bench press? We just know they’re heavy posters. Their thumbs must be enormous!
Rushing for the Most Likes
If you’re looking for the player who’s driving the most engagement, you’ll see a different set of names. While the old adage is “defense wins championships,” no defensive player finds themselves in the top five list of the players with most likes per post. Offensive players want the rock, and they get it. Offensive players want your likes, and they get those too.
Living on a planet all by himself, Carolina Panthers quarterback and the NFL’s 2015 MVP Cam Newton (@cameron1newton) transcends his peers’ Instagram engagement. On average, he earns 11,000 more likes a post than the No. 2 player. With professional photos chronicling his journey, Newton invites fans to see him working hard to deliver great results on the field and playing hard during his time off the field.
Next closest, is the living party starter, New England Patriots’ tight end and Madden 17 cover athlete, Rob Gronkowski (@gronk). The position-redefining player, known as “Gronk,” averages more than 77,000 likes per post on Instagram. Videos of his hijinks, photos of his family, and reposts of his professional appearances engage his fans. San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick (@kaepernick7), New York Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (@iam_objxiii), and former Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch (@beastmode) make up the list of NFL all-stars earning the most likes per post.
There’s certainly plenty of current and former NFL greats who use Instagram, but we’ve found that those running in touchdowns, throwing passes, or catching that crucial first down are more likely to be generating likes. And playing on the defensive line doesn’t draw the same level of social engagement.
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