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 @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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