Everyone knows that football games are not won or lost on the field, but rather on Twitter, Facebook, and the comments section of YouTube. To that end, IBM is currently running a project to measure and quantify fan sentiment online heading into Sunday's Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots. While New England may be favored by the Vegas oddsmakers, Giants' quarterback Eli Manning has passed Pats' quarterback Tom Brady as a favorite among the Twitter masses. The New York Times' Fifth Down explains:
"Tom Brady was leading Eli Manning in the positive sentiment all week and then yesterday we saw this big shift," Michael Azzi of IBM communications said. "And really, what caused that was a backlash against all the publicity that Peyton Manning has been getting. People were getting tired of hearing about Peyton Manning and saying ‘Hey, this is really Eli's moment in the sun.'"
IBM's technology was originally designed to help companies better understand their customers, but as with every other business promotion this time of year, there's a football application. IBM is confident that the measurements are accurate, excluding spam by analyzing multiple terms and words posted by users.
While Brady is the number one topic of discussion this week, lesser-known wide receivers Wes Welker and Victor Cruz were the two players with the highest "positive sentiment" scores. Both Cruz and Welker are sure to have a positive on-field impact Sunday, but they've already won what really matters - the hearts and minds of the Twitterverse. With only one day left before kick-off, here's hoping they avoid a Eugene Robinson moment.