The National Football League bans players, coaches and other team personnel from using social media during a several hour window around every game, but that doesn’t protect the players from themselves the rest of the time. There have been some doozies, too. Two that come to mind are Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) sharing, um, his unique perspective on Osama bin Laden, and Larry Johnson (ex-Kansas City Chiefs) insulting the coach, gay people and a fan.

But instead of trying to stop something that was both inevitable and that would work to its advantage, the NFL partnered with Buddy Media to create strategies and training programs for everyone involved with all 32 teams.

Some are using these platforms more successfully than others. The Dallas Cowboys have more Facebook fans (3.6 million) than any other team, with the Atlanta Falcons at the other extreme. The New York Jets rule Twitter, even though they don’t even rank in the Top 1000 of Twitter accounts, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the bottom of that league. In a world where a cat (@sockington) has 1.4 million followers, NFL teams could do better.

Mindflash took a look at the NFL’s use of social media, and turned what it learned into an infographic that the company kindly shared with Digital Media Wire.

Photo by Tom Newby Photography, used under Creative Commons license

Click here for larger version of infographic.