ESPN: Bears 74th Best Franchise in Ultimate Team Rankings; 14th in NFL

Yes, I did a double take when I saw that ranking as well.

In case you missed it, or just don't pay attention to ESPN, they recently polled more than 70,000 fans as part of their rankings of all 122 of the "Big Four" (is hockey back in the Big Four yet? Or is ESPN still holding out for NASCAR and poker...) sports franchises. Aside from the stomach-turning first result (Packers #1 overall), let's go below the fold to examine these rankings a little.

According to the last link, the criteria for this ranking included...

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.

That last one should have told you where the Cubs ended up... (/masochist)

And according to ESPN the Magazine's official page on this, here's how the criteria were weighted...

 "bang for the buck" (24.3%), players (16.6%), fan relations (16.5%), affordability (14.1%), stadium experience (9.1%), ownership (9.0%), title track (6.7%), and coaching (3.9%).

Wait, only 16.6 ... +6.7 ... +3.9... carry the one, find the hypotenuse... 27.2% is the on-field product directly?

I think you know where I'm going with this... Okay, here's how the Bears stacked up in the rankings.

Bang for the Buck: 61. I don't think anyone's going to confuse the Bears for a bunch of cheapskates, especially given the last couple offseasons. Something about Julius Peppers, Brandon Manumaleuna, Chester Taylor, Jay Cutler, I forget the details.

Fan Relations: 83. Anyone feel the Bears have been anything less than considerate to their fans, players and coaches? I mean, unless you count keeping Jerry Angelo as inconsiderate to some fans...

Affordability: 108. I've only gone to one game at Soldier Field lately, and those were preseason tickets and a gift. Some of you will have to speak on this better than I can.

Ownership: 58. How does one manage to score this?  I guess when ownership is the local community it's easy to win this category. Right, Green Bay?

Stadium Experience: 93. I can't say I had a bad experience. Besides the preseason game loss.

Players: 71. Oh boy... Dat Jay Cutman bum is so pouty he draggin down da Ultimate Team Rankins! Git ridah dat bum!

Coaching: 79. All you need to know is to look two spots down to 76 at the New York Jets - Coaching, 10. Rex isn't bad, but 10 in all Big Four professional sports?

Title Track: 49. Surprised it's not a little higher, I mean, it's not like we didn't reach the NFC Championship Game last season or something.

The rest of the NFC North went Lions at 94 and the Vikings at 106. Take note Vikings, the Raiders are 104.

Out of just the NFL, the Packers went #1, the Bears were 14, the Lions at 22 and the Vikings at 29.

Here's how the other Chicago teams stacked up:

26: Chicago Bulls - 36: Chicago Blackhawks - 57: Chicago White Sox - 112: Chicago Cubs

So how bad did ESPN screw it up? Anyone else think some of the criteria was a little meaningless? Sound off!

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