ESPN The Magazine recently released their seventh annual Ultimate Standings for 2009 and New Orleans Saints The Franchise came in at No. 52, just a slight drop from their No. 53 spot last year, and fourteenth among all NFL franchises.
For those readers who have never heard of these standings, as I hadn't, every year the ESPN team ranks all professional sports franchises across the four major leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. These rankings are not based so much by teams' on-field performance (otherwise No. 52 would just be ridiculous), though some of that is taken into consideration, but more on each organizations relationship with their fans. It's fairly unusual to see each franchise from all of the major sports being compared to each other so these standings are pretty fun examine.
The eight major categories that make up the Ultimate Standings were created based on feedback from fans about what they want most from their favorite teams (click here for a more detailed account of the method to our madness.) The categories:
Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.
Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.
Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.
Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions.
Stadium Experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment.
Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it.
Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.
Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.
So how did the Saints score in each of these categories? You didn't think I'd leave you hangin', did you?
Last Year's Rank: 53
Title Track: 74
Fan Relations: 53
Stadium Experience: 80
Bang for the Buck: 50
The fellas at ESPN The Mag also provide their reasoning for the Saints' inability to move up (or down) the charts between this year and last. Basically, though the team improved significantly in five categories, the rise in ticket prices last year kept them stagnant. As you can see, the Saints' strongest category was in Stadium Experience, in which they scored an 80, and were weakest in the Coaching category with a paltry 39 [Edit 07/06/09 6:06 PM CDT Reverse that. The Saints weakest category is Stadium Experience and their strongest is Coaching]. You remember Gary Gibbs, don't you?
All in all, I'm not surprised by the mediocre ranking for our mediocre team. But what about you? Any surprises?