Thursday, September 8, 2011

Forbes published its annual list of the NFL's Most Valuable Teams yesterday, the day before the 2011 NFL season officially kicks off. I look forward to reading these rankings each year and even though media coverage of the spring-and-summer-long NFL lockout reminded us daily that the National Football League is essentially a cash cow, it's still great to see how the numbers break down.

Not surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team for the fifth straight year, worth $1.85 billion, according to Forbes. I was surprised, however, by where the Carolina Panthers rank: No. 15 with a value of $1 billion. In a league comprised of 32 teams, that puts the Panthers in the middle, so I'm surprised that Charlotte's team is ranked ahead of teams that have been around longer and that are in bigger cities, such as the Atlanta Falcons, ranked No. 27 with a value of $814 million.

Panthers rookie Cam Newton throws a wristband to fans after a preseason game.

Rounding out the top-five most valuable NFL teams for 2011 are the Washington Redskins (No. 2, $1.55 billion), New England Patriots (No. 3, $1.4 billion), New York Giants (No. 4, $1.3 billion), and New York Jets (No. 5, $1.22 billion). The Panthers are the last team valued at $1 billion or more--numbers 16 through 24 are valued at more than $900 million each, then the teams dip to the $800 million range, and in the caboose is the Jacksonville Jaguars, ranked No. 32 at $725 million.

If you'll recall, the Panthers and the Jaguars began playing in 1995 when the NFL expanded to what was then a total of 30 teams. The Jaguars have been the slightly more successful team on the field, winning 14 more games than the Panthers over their 16-year histories. But the Panthers are clearly more successful off the field, with a value that places them $275 million above the Jaguars.

The aforementioned paragraph is my assessment. Click here to read a full analysis of the list by Forbes editor Kurt Badenhausen. And click here for the slideshow of the most valuable teams.


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