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ESPN releases “Ultimate Team Rankings” – Packers rank first, Bengals dead last

ESPN just released their “Ultimate Team Rankings,” where they rank the 122 professional sports franchises using eight categories: Bang For The Buck, Fan Relations, Ownership, Affordability, Stadium Experience, Players, Coaching and Title Track. (Click on the link above for more details on what these categories mean.)

The Top 10:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. San Antonio Spurs
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
8. Colorado Rockies
9. Memphis Grizzlies
10. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Bottom Five:

118. Minnesota Timberwolves
119. Sacramento Kings
120. Toronto Maple Leafs
121. Washington Redskins
122. Cincinnati Bengals

Check out the full rankings.

I’m not going to dive too deep into these rankings because I think they’re kind of silly. Are they fun to look at? Yeah, but so are pinwheels and I don’t want to break them down either. If you spend enough time, you can find a gripe about any team outside of the Packers. (It’s kind of hard to argue that they’re not the best franchise in sports right now across those eight categories, although somebody probably will – if they haven’t already, that is.)

Take the Bengals for example. You look at the Bengals and there’s a reason why they’re ranked so low. Their ownership sucks, they haven’t won a playoff game in two decades and their quarterback just quit on them. But in the “Affordability” category, they dropped from 80th last year to 114th this year, yet their ticket prices didn’t change. Their coaches dropped from 60th to 114th, which seems excessive even given Brad Bratkowski’s failures as offensive coordinator last year. And their players (which is a category based on effort on the field and liability off it) are 122 out of 122? Once again I’m splitting hairs because they’re ranked No. 121, but how are the Pistons not 122 after they quit on their head coach last year?

You get my point. These rankings are fun and they’re meant to be argued and debated, but I wouldn’t get too invested into the final numbers. I know there’s a lot of number-crunching that goes into some of the categories, but on a whole there’s a lot to be left up to interpretation.

That said, I’ll bite: What teams do you think should be ranked higher or lower? No surprise, I think my SF Giants deserve to be higher. No. 32 seems a tad low for a World Series champion with a beautiful stadium and players that are extremely well liked by fans. San Francisco is an expensive city so the Giants lose a little ground in “Bang For The Buck” and “Affordability,” but I was surprised to see them ranked in the 30s. (Especially considering the Rockies are ranked eighth – eighth!)

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Saturday Morning Headlines: LeBron, Tiger & a lot of penalty minutes

- Tiger Woods battled some rough conditions to shoot an even-par 72 in Dubai. (Golf.com)

- The labor agreement delay may cancel any free agency movement in the NFL and force free agents to stay with their current teams. (SI.com)

- Packers give general manager Ted Thompson a well-deserved contract extension. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

- Is Matt Holliday willing to take a paycut to help the Cardinals re-sign Albert Pujols? (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

- LeBron James gets into it with a fan after said fan mentioned LeBron’s momma. (ESPN)

- Hey, the Cavs finally won a game! (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

- The Penguins and Islanders racked up 351 penalty minutes in one game last night. Yikes. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Think Will Happen

What do we think will happen in 2011? Ha! We’re glad you asked. As part of our 2010 Year End Sports Review, we see good things ahead for Duke, the Celtics and the Saints. We see cursed days ahead for the Phillies and Giants, and one Florida Gator-sized reunion in Denver. We also like Carmelo to play for the…hey, why are we telling you all this? Read for yourself below, lazy. (And have an open mind – we had some fun with this section.)

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

You think he’s gone? He’s not gone. He’s never gone!

Brett Favre has duped us before with his retirement talk, so why should we buy what he’s selling now? Lord Favre says 2010 will be his final season, but after spending a couple of months on his ranch next summer, he’ll get the itch to return. And some team will welcome him back. And the media will torture us with their 24-hour Favre watch. And the dreaded cycle of death will continue. So which lucky team will have No. 4 in uniform next season? While we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Favre returning to the Vikings for one more year now that Brad Childress is gone, that’s not a very fun projection. Thus, what about Da Raaaaaaaiders? Huh? Can you see it now? Lord Favre and Al Davis at the podium holding up their pointer fingers and saying, “Just win baby.” No? Ah, you’re no fun.

Carmelo will be a Knickerbocker next year.

Book ‘em, Danno. The writing is on the wall. He hasn’t signed the three-year extension that the Nuggets offered last summer and has reportedly decided that the only team he’ll agree to be traded to is the New York Knicks. This means that if the Nuggets are hoping to get something substantial for him, they’ll have to move him before the February trade deadline. Since there appears to be only one team in the running, the deal isn’t going to be very good. We wouldn’t want to be Nugget fans right now — the rebuilding process is about to begin.
Read the rest of this entry »

Former NHL enforcer Bob Probert passes away

Former Redwing and Blackhawk enforcer Bob Probert passed away on Monday from an apparent heart attack while boating on Lake St. Clair.

The Detroit Free Press shares the details.

Probert’s father-in-law, Dan Parkinson, and a family friend, Rich Rogow, held a brief news conference at Windsor Regional Hospital.

They said Probert, who turned 45 last month, suffered severe chest pains about 2 p.m. while boating with his wife, children and in-laws. Parkinson, a police officer, performed CPR on Probert. Emergency medical workers reached the scene and transported Probert to the hospital, where he could not be revived.

“Bob lost the fight of his life this afternoon,” Parkinson said. “This is a tragedy for the family. We ask that you respect their privacy at this time.”

Probert finished his career with 163 goals and 384 points but what he’ll most be remembered for is his 3,300 penalty minutes in 935 career games. He and his former “Bruise Brother” teammate Joe “Joey” Kocur often entertained fans with their style play, as well as their penchant for throwing blows on the ice.

My condolences go out to Probert’s family and friends.

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