Everton can boast a player with millions more followers than the NFL’s greatest

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It says a lot about American exceptionalism that an American team who beat an American team in the final of a tournament contested entirely in America can be considered ‘World Champions’.

That’s the status that was conferred on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady, widely regarded as the greatest NFL player of all time, was the game’s MVP.

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Brady, who has now accumulated seven Super Bowl rings in his glittering career, was the subject of a controversial list from 2018 that has gone viral again in the wake of his latest triumph.

Fox Sports show The Herd with Colin Cowherd declared Brady the most famous athlete in the world, followed by three more Americans.

In a tweet claiming to list the “Top 10 most famous athletes in the world”, basketball stars Lebron James and Steph Curry were in second and fourth place respectively, with golfing legend Tiger Woods in third.

Football had to wait for the fifth and sixth spots for representation, in the form of Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

It’s a bizarre take that can only come from American broadcasters with little interest in the wider world of sport.

Regardless of their comparative ability, a quick look at the figures will comprehensively demolish any suggestion that Brady is somehow more famous.

While the 43-year-old can boast 9.2 million Instagram followers, those numbers are comprehensively dwarfed by Ronaldo’s 261 million and Messi’s 183 million.

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Brady’s following looks even more humble when compared to some stars of the Premier League who wouldn’t even be considered among the world’s top 50 players.

Everton’s James Rodriguez, who has made 15 appearances for the side sitting seventh in the Premier League, is followed by 46.5 million. That’s more than five times the number following the greatest player in American football history.

Gareth Bale, whose most recent goal for Tottenham came against Wycombe Wanderers, commands a following of 43.6 million.

These figures make a mockery of the idea that Brady is somehow the world’s most famous athlete.

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It’s emblematic of the misconception held by many Americans that the NFL is a bigger deal around the world than football.

In an appearance on legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Daily Show host Trevor Noah clearly outlined football’s superiority.

After Seinfeld referred to the football we’re all familiar with as “your football”, Noah replied: “The Super Bowl, the final, the biggest sporting event of football, had 100 million viewers watching.

“A random match during the season – not post-season, not any final, no cup, nothing – a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid had 400 million viewers.

“Clearly that is the football.

“By the rules of democracy, and just numbers alone, that is the football.”

Congratulations to Tom Brady on being the most popular athlete in the second most popular football.

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