By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Every year since 2011, Channel Media Market & Research has conducted a survey of Boston sports fans. Each year, the results provide an interesting look at current opinions about the local sports teams, as well as the local sports media. This year’s poll is no different.

Shared below are some of the more noteworthy results from the poll. But first, some background information:

Channel Media Market & Research polled more than 16,000 New England residents. Of that group, 43 percent live in Massachusetts, 26 percent live in New Hampshire, 10 percent live in Rhode Island, 9 percent live in Connecticut, 8 percent live in Maine, and 4 percent live in Vermont.

Seventy-five percent of the respondents were male, while 91 percent are between the ages of 18-54. The polling took place between Aug. 9 and Aug. 20.

Included with some of the results are some personal observations and thoughts of my own. What I found to stick out, in particular, was the lack of support Tom Brady’s personal guru, Alex Guerrero, has from fans. As you’ll see, the majority of fans endorse Bill Belichick’s decision to reduce some of Guerrero’s access with the Patriots, which is the first real statistical showing of fans’ opinion on that whole matter.

But that’s just one of the results. There are, of course, many more interesting nuggets to be found. So without further ado …

Favorite Sports Team
Patriots: 47%
Red Sox: 30%
Celtics: 14%
Bruins: 8%
Revolution: 1%

NOTES: The big change is that the Celtics leapfrogged the Bruins. It’s the first time that has happened since the polling began in 2011. The deficit was as large as 23 percent for the Bruins and 6 percent for the Celtics in 2015. The Patriots received roughly the same support they normally do, and the Red Sox jumped up 6 percent from last year.

Which Teams’ Leadership Has Done The Best Job In Most Recent Season?
Bill Belichick: 42%
Danny Ainge: 25%
Dave Dombrowski: 25%
Cam Neely: 6%
Brian Bilello: 2%

NOTES: Bill Belichick dropped significantly in this category, from 77 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018. That’s what happens, apparently, when you go from winning the Super Bowl to losing the Super Bowl while making a highly questionable personnel decision. Belichick did receive a higher vote than he did in 2013 (31%) and 2014 (36%), but he spent 2015-17 between 69 percent and 77 percent. Of note, Dave Dombrowski jumped from 5 percent in this category a year ago to 25 percent this year.

Management Performance Ratings
Belichick: 70%
Dombrowski: 66%
Ainge: 65%
Neely: 36%
Bilello: 20%

NOTES: These are more in line with approval ratings. It’s noteworthy that Belichick dropped from an incredible 92 percent last year down to 70 percent. Neely went from 15 percent a year ago to 36 percent this year, while Dombrowski nearly doubled his approval, from 38 percent to 66 percent.

Coaches Most Admired
Bill Belichick: 45%
Brad Stevens: 26%
Alex Cora: 20%
Bruce Cassidy: 4%
Brad Friedel: 1%

NOTES: Once again, Belichick dropped significantly, from 75 percent last year to 45 percent this year. He still owns a healthy lead, though Stevens jumped from 14 percent to 26 percent. Alex Cora’s 20 percent represents a huge growth from predecessor John Farrell, who garnered just 3 percent of the vote last year. And Bruce Cassidy actually dropped a percentage point, despite leading a highly successful Bruins season.

Belief That Team Is Changing For The Better
Red Sox: 75%
Celtics: 70%
Bruins: 43%
Revolution: 26%
Patriots: 19%

NOTES: Obviously, the Patriots finishing last here is the headline. Sixty percent of respondents said the Patriots “have pretty much stayed the same,” while 21 percent believe the Patriots have gotten worse. That was also the highest total in that category, with only the Revolution (12%) receiving double-digit votes.

Team Most Likely To Win A Championship The Soonest
Red Sox: 51%
Patriots: 36%
Celtics: 8%
Bruins: 4%
Revolution: 1%

NOTES: Surprise, surprise, it’s the Patriots that are the big story here. Last year, 83 percent of respondents picked the Patriots as most likely to win the soonest title. The Red Sox jumped significantly, from 10 percent last year to 51 percent this year.

Worst Things In Boston Sports In The Past Year
Losing Super Bowl: 25%
Jimmy Garoppolo trade: 16%
Malcolm Butler benching: 13%
Red Sox early playoff exit: 10%

NOTES: The rest of the top 10 list went as follows – Bruins second-round playoff exit, Gordon Hayward injury, Kyrie Irving injury, NFL anthem kneeling controversy, Julian Edelman PED suspension, Rob Gronkowski trade rumors.

PATRIOTS

Patriots Overall Grade
Between A- and A+: 64%
Between B- and B+: 27%

NOTES: Last year, 93 percent of respondents gave the Patriots a grade between an A- and A+. In fact, 68 percent of respondents gave the team an A+ last year.

 

Which Of The Following Were Excellent Decisions Made By The Patriots?
Banning Alex Guerrero from sidelines: 64%
Preventing Guerrero from treating players at Gillette: 46%
Julian Edelman accepting suspension: 45%
Benching Butler in the Super Bowl: 14%
Trading Garoppolo: 12%

Conversely, Which Of The Following Were Extremely Poor Decisions Made By The Patriots?
Benching Butler: 49%
Trading Garoppolo: 45%

NOTES: The results on Guerrero are interesting, as they seem to indicate that fans are not fully on board with Tom Brady’s personal guru. And clearly, the Butler benching and Garoppolo trade still rank highly among things that bother Patriots fans.

Do You…

Believe There Is Tension In Patriots Organization: 72%
Believe Everyone Involved Will Pull Together For Winning Season: 71%
Believe Brady, Belichick, Kraft Can Work Out Issues: 63%

NOTES: Clearly, fans have come around on the “tension” first reported on by Seth Wickersham back in January. But most fans don’t believe the issues are bad enough to doom the team. It’s a fairly reasonable perspective.

Tom Brady Is Less Focused On Football Than He Has Been In The Past
Strongly Agree: 16%
Strongly Disagree: 51%
In The Middle: 33%

NOTES: Brady still has the majority (barely) fully believing that he’s 100 percent committed to football, while that wavering group in the middle clearly will need to be convinced over the coming months.

How Many More Years Will Tom Brady Play, Including The 2018 Season?
1: 13%
2: 44%
3: 33%
4: 6%
5: 4%

Most Admired Patriot Player
Tom Brady: 44%
Rob Gronkowski: 14%
Danny Amendola: 11%
Devin McCourty: 6%
James White: 3%

NOTES: It’s probably worth noting that Danny Amendola is no longer on the team.

Patriot Player Who Did Not Meet Expectations
Malcolm Butler: 22%
Martellus Bennett: 17%
Brandin Cooks: 11%
Mike Gillislee: 7%
Stephon Gilmore: 6%

NOTES: Really a wild smorgasbord here. Butler had a decent year but wasn’t really given a chance to meet expectations in the biggest moment of the year. Bennett played all of 24 snaps last season. And Gilmore put together a fine season after a very rocky start, breaking up a pass to seal the AFC title game.

Which Player Do You Most Desire The Patriots To Acquire? (Write-In Responses)
Jadeveon Clowney: 22%
Larry Fitzgerald: 17%
Julio Jones: 15%
Dez Bryant: 11%
Von Miller: 9%

NOTES: Credit is due to Patriots fans for having Larry Fitzgerald as the No. 2 most desired addition. That’s been the case for seemingly 10 years, and it will apparently continue for another decade or so.

Other Patriots Notes
On the return for Garoppolo, 73 percent of fans said it was not enough, while 65 percent of fans believe the Patriots should have kept him. Eighty-five percent of fans still have “complete faith” in Robert and Jonathan Kraft, while 82 percent have complete faith in Belichick. Brady only has 75 percent of fans who have full faith in him.

RED SOX

Red Sox Overall Grade:
Between A- and A+: 81%
Between B- and B+: 17%

NOTES: The Red Sox went from getting an A+ grade from just 2 percent of respondents last year to 34 percent this year.

Most Admired Red Sox Player
Mookie Betts: 36%
J.D. Martinez: 22%
Chris Sale: 12%
Jackie Bradley Jr.: 6%
Mitch Moreland: 3%

NOTES: People might find the fourth and fifth names on the list somewhat surprising, given their general low profiles. But Moreland was an All-Star this year, and Bradley continues to make highlight-reel catches on a regular basis.

Red Sox Player Who Did Not Meet Expectations
Joe Kelly: 26%
Hanley Ramirez: 23%
Drew Pomeranz: 16%
Dustin Pedroia: 10%
David Price: 5%

CELTICS

Boston Celtics Overall Grade:
Between an A- and A+: 71%
Between a B- and B+: 24%

NOTES: No surprise, but getting to Game 7 of the conference finals boosted the Celtics from the previous year, when they received an A vote from 63 percent of respondents. Back in 2013-14, the Celtics received an A grade from just 2 percent of respondents. They’ve come a long way in a short time.

Do You Want The Celtics To Re-Sign Kyrie Irving Before His Contract Expires?
Yes: 76%
No: 19%
Don’t know/not sure: 5%

NOTE: What are the “don’t know/not sure” people even doing? Take a stand, people. Believe in something.

Most Admired Celtics Player
Jayson Tatum: 26%
Kyrie Irving: 19%
Al Horford: 14%
Marcus Smart: 10%
Jaylen Brown: 6%

Celtics Player Who Did Not Meet Expectations
Greg Monroe: 23%
Gordon Hayward: 16%
Kadeem Allen: 10%
Jabari Bird: 8%
Xavier Silas: 5%

NOTE: It’s going to take us a while to track down exactly what the expectations were for Greg Monroe, Kadeem Allen and Jabari Bird. It will likewise take us some time to discover who Xavier Silas is.

Which NBA Player Do You Most Desire Celtics To Acquire?
Anthony Davis: 23%
Karl-Anthony Towns: 21%
Kevin Durant: 15%
DeMarcus Cousins: 11%
LeBron James: 7%

NOTE: This should guarantee at least 16 more months of people in Boston spending time trying to concoct Anthony Davis trade proposals, as well as the subsequent debate about whether the Celtics should follow through with the theoretical trade.

BRUINS

Boston Bruins Overall Grade
Between an A- and A+: 30%
Between a B- and B+: 47%

NOTES: It’s no surprise, but this represents a huge improvement. A year prior, just 6 percent of respondents gave an A grade.

Most Admired Bruins Player
Patrice Bergeron: 27%
David Pastrnak: 20%
Tuukka Rask: 13%
Zdeno Chara: 7%
Brad Marchand: 5%

NOTES: Absolutely no surprise at the top, but the bottom of this list is an absolute stunner. Brad Marchand did cost himself five games with yet another unnecessary suspension, which likely dinged some of his fan appeal, but he also performed at a near-Hart Trophy level, with 85 points in 68 games. Only receiving 5 percent of this vote is a bit shocking for someone with Marchand’s world-class skill.

Bruins Player Who Did Not Meet Expectations
David Krejci: 19%
Rick Nash: 15%
Brandon Carlo: 10%
Matt Beleskey: 8%
David Backes: 5%

NOTES: Pretty fair result overall here. It’s worth noting that the poll misspelled Beleskey, which helps put in perspective why he’s on this list.

MEDIA

Favorite TV Play-By-Play Announcer Or Color Analyst (Write-in)
Dennis Eckersley: 25%
Dave O’Brien: 22%
Mike Gorman: 13%
Tommy Heinsohn: 10%
Jerry Remy: 7%
Jack Edwards: 7%

Favorite Radio Announcer Or Analyst (Write-in)
Scott Zolak: 23%
Cedrix Maxwell: 18%
Sean Grande: 13%
Tim Neverett: 9%
Bob Socci: 8%
Bob Beers: 8%

Favorite Local TV Sports Personality (Write-in)
Tom Caron: 22%
Michael Felger: 20%
Tom E. Curran: 15%
Lou Merloni: 11%
Phil Perry: 4%
Trenni Kusnierek: 4%

Favorite Local TV Sports Reporter (Write-in)
Dan Roche: 18%
Steve Burton: 16%
Joe Amorosino: 13%
Levan Reid: 10%
Brian Scalabrine: 3%
Kacie McDonnell: 3%

Favorite Local TV Pre/Post Sports Show (Write-in)
Patriots 5th Quarter: 22%
Red Sox Extra Innings Live: 22%
Patriots All Access: 17%
Red Sox GameDay: 12%
Bruins Overtime Live: 7%

Favorite Local Sports Radio Personality (Write-in)
Michael Felger: 20%
Marc Bertrand: 15%
Scott Zolak: 15%
Tony Massarotti: 11%
Lou Merloni: 10%
Glen Ordway: 7%
Kirk Minihane: 7%

Favorite Local Sports Radio Show (Write-in)
Felger & Mazz: 24%
Zolak & Bertrand: 22%
Ordway, Merloni & Fauria: 17%
Toucher & Rich: 12%
Kirk & Callahan: 12%
The Adam Jones Show: 6%
Dale & Keefe: 6%

Favorite Local Sports Writer (Write-in)
Chris Gasper: 19%
Dan Shaughnessy: 16%
Chad Finn: 16%
Mike Reiss: 10%
Ben Volin: 8%
Karen Guregian: 6%
Greg Bedard: 4%

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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