Butch Dill/Associated Press

The first official football game was played in New Jersey in 1869, a collegiate matchup between Princeton and Rutgers. But for years, football has been viewed as a sport of the South.

From the passionate high school football scene in Alabama to the fervently supported SEC conference at the college level, fans just seem to care a little more about their favorite teams around the Bible Belt. But do Southern cities actually produce more NFL players than others around the U.S.?

PointAfter combed its NFL Players database, which dates back to the dawn of the NFL, to identify the cities that have produced the most professional footballers in league history.

The results showed there are 27 cities where at least 100 NFL players have been born. Spoiler alert: five of them are Southern municipalities (more if you consider Texas and Florida part of the South, a blasphemous stance that we don’t share).

Note: The NFL Players database was built from data obtained from Sportradar. Of the 25,556 player listings in the database, 24,442 have birth city affiliations that we used for this article.

#27. Minneapolis, MN


Number of NFL players: 100

Famous retired natives: Dominique Byrd, Mike Arthur

Notable active players: Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Suggs, James Laurinaitis

#26. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, Maryland. Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 108

Famous retired natives: Calvin Hill, Antonio Freeman

Notable active players: Tavon Austin, Kyle Fuller

#25. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, Florida. Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 112

Famous retired natives: Laveranues Coles, Harold Carmichael

Notable active players: Rashean Mathis, Josh McCown, Cliff Avril

#24. Brooklyn, NY


Number of NFL players: 113

Famous retired natives: Randy Cross, Lyle Alzado

Notable active players: Dunta Robinson, Andrew Quarless

#23. Omaha, NE

Eric Francis/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 118

Famous retired natives: Ahman Green, David Vobora

Notable active players: Dan Carpenter, Niles Paul

#22. Columbus, OH

Columbus, Ohio. Larry Knupp/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 122

Famous retired natives: Brady Quinn, Terry Glenn, Gregory Bell

Notable active players: Lance Moore, Isaiah Pead, Jeff Cumberland

#21. San Francisco, CA


Number of NFL players: 125

Famous retired natives: Tedy Bruschi, Dan Fouts, Jordan Gross

Notable active players: Desmond Bishop, Lamarr Houston, Shayne Skov

#20. Birmingham, AL

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 135

Famous retired natives: Cornelius Bennett, Andre Tippett

Notable active players: Evan Mathis, Marcell Dareus, Karlos Dansby

#19. Memphis, TN

Memphis, Tennessee. Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 136

Famous retired natives: Claude Humphrey, John Bramlett

Notable active players: Michael Oher, Barrett Jones, Morgan Burnett, Dontari Poe

#18. San Diego, CA

San Diego, California. Dale Frost/Flickr

Number of NFL players: 146

Famous retired natives: Marcus Allen, Junior Seau, Terrell Davis

Notable active players: Tony Romo, Nick Novak, Ryan Lindley, Jairus Byrd

#17. Atlanta, GA


Number of NFL players: 150

Famous retired natives: Ken Whisenhunt, Jamal Lewis, Jon Stinchcomb

Notable active players: Cam Newton, Robert Mathis, Bruce Irvin

#16. Milwaukee, WI

Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 152

Famous retired natives: LaDainian Tomlinson, Richard Seymour, Bart Scott, Derrick Mason

Notable active players: Colin Kaepernick, DeAndre Levy, Lance Kendricks

#15. Baton Rouge, LA

Jorg Hackemann/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 160

Famous retired natives: Vince Young, David Carr, Brian Dawkins, Warrick Dunn, Keith Brooking

Notable active players: Stephen Gostkowski, Jeremy Hill, Eric Reid, Phil Dawson

#14. New York, NY


Number of NFL players: 165

Famous retired natives: Vinny Testaverde, Doug Marrone

Notable active players: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Tarell Brown, Mike DeVito

#13. Washington, DC


Number of NFL players: 172

Famous retired natives: Shawne Merriman, Brian Westbrook, Byron Leftwich

Notable active players: Andrew Luck, Vernon Davis, Vontae Davis

#12. St. Louis, MO


Number of NFL players: 176

Famous retired natives: Lawyer Milloy, Dan Connolly, Bryan Cox

Notable active players: Sheldon Richardson, Adrian Clayborn

#11. Cincinnati, OH

Doug Lemke/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 176

Famous retired natives: Don Hasselbeck, Rocky Boiman

Notable active players: Luke Keuchly, Carlos Hyde, Brent Celek

#10. Philadelphia, PA


Number of NFL players: 186

Famous retired natives: Marvin Harrison, Eddie George, Rich Gannon, Mike Mayock

Notable active players: Brent Grimes, Chris Culliver, Jahri Evans

#9. Pittsburgh, PA

Jon Bilous/Associated Press

Number of NFL players: 201

Famous retired natives: Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Johnny Unitas

Notable active players: Sean Lee, Aaron Donald, Matt Schaub

#8. Cleveland, OH


Number of NFL players: 204

Famous retired natives: Archie Manning, Desmond Howard

Notable active players: Travis Kelce, Aqib Talib, Jason Kelce

#7. New Orleans, LA

Colin D. Young/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 216

Famous retired natives: Reggie Wayne, Marshall Faulk, Kordell Stewart

Notable active players: Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Mike Wallace, Odell Beckham Jr.

#6. Dallas, TX

Dallas, Texas. f11photo/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 251

Famous retired natives: Jimmy Johnson, Tim Brown, Willis McGahee

Notable active players: Jared Allen, Von Miller, Terrance Williams

#5. Detroit, MI


Number of NFL players: 257

Famous retired natives: Jerome Bettis, Larry Foote

Notable active players: Antonio Gates, Allen Robinson, Calvin Pace

#4. Miami, FL

Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 275

Famous retired natives: Santana Moss, Brian Griese, Sean Taylor

Notable active players: Teddy Bridgewater, Frank Gore, Amari Cooper, Elvis Dumervil

#3. Houston, TX

Silvio Ligutti/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 304

Famous retired natives: Randy Moss, Michael Strahan, Mike Singletary

Notable active players: Martellus Bennett, Josh Gordon, Brian Orakpo

#2. Chicago, IL


Number of NFL players: 465

Famous retired natives: Dick Butkus, Shannon Sharpe, Simeon Rice

Notable active players: Charles Tillman, Jason Avant

#1. Los Angeles, CA

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Number of NFL players: 471

Famous retired natives: Warren Moon, Keyshawn Johnson, Lance Briggs, Mark Brunell

Notable active players: DeSean Jackson, Jordan Cameron, Vontaze Burfict, Tyron Smith

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