Denver, CO. The behemoth known as the National Football League is ready to get rolling again, as every team has either reported or will report this weekend for training camp. Over the course of the last ten years or so, the NFL has become a year round sport. With the draft being moved to prime time TV, the addition of the NFL Network, and mini camps throughout the spring and summer, this league is #1 in America by far with a strong stranglehold on sports fans everywhere. But of the 32 teams, who has the best run organization from top to bottom? It’s an interesting question, and one that requires some criteria. The things that were considered include stability of ownership, stability of head coaches, fan support, franchise history and success, and overall popularity. This list should generate some strong opinions, so here we go. To continue our “Top 7″ series, from 7th to 1st, the best NFL organizations today are…..
7 – New Orleans Saints - This one was tough for me because of the turmoil that this franchise is currently going through. The bounty stuff will linger for years to come, and they are paying a stiff price for it. On the plus side of things, this team has been very relevant for several years now mainly because of Drew Brees. This guy is a class act on and off the field and is the face of this organization. This franchise finally broke through a few years after decades of disappointment with a Super Bowl victory over the Colts. Tom Benson has been their owner since 1985, and the fans have always loved their Saints even during all of their losing years. Hurricane Katrina almost wiped out the city a few years back as well as almost forcing this franchise to relocate, but the fan support was huge in keeping them in New Orleans.
6 – N.Y. Giants
- This team is in the top 7 primarily because of what they have done over the last 5 years. How many times has head coach Tom Coughlin’s job been on the line during his tenure there? Plenty. He has now won two Super Bowl titles and may be considered for the Hall of Fame one day. The Giants are New York’s team and have always been the big brother to the Jets. They have been to the Super Bowl 5 times, coming out on top in 4 of them. The franchise has been owned by the Mara family since way back in 1925. Eli Manning has quietly cemented himself as the Giants greatest QB of all time.
5 – Denver Broncos - Most Broncos fans don’t know this, but the franchise was in financial trouble in the early 80′s. The team was facing bankruptcy and there were talks that the franchise could be moved out of Denver. Edgar Kaiser sold the team to Pat Bowlen in 1984, and Bowlen has been a huge part of the overall success ever since. The Broncos have been to the Super Bowl 6 times, with back to back victories in the late 90′s. The fan base has always been one of the league’s best, as they have sold out every home game since 1970. With the signing of Peyton Manning, the future looks very bright in the Mile High City.
4 – Dallas Cowboys - Say what you will about Jerry Jones, but ever since he bought the Cowboys in the late 80′s, they have been one of the most talked about teams every year. “America’s Team” has been to the Super Bowl 8 times, with 5 of those being victories. They are probably the most polarizing team in the NFL, as most fans either love em or hate em. Dallas has the most expensive, elaborate stadium in the NFL, which is fitting for Texas’ favorite team. Although they haven’t had much playoff success recently, they are willing to spend money to keep the fan base happy.
3 – Green Bay Packers - The Packers are the only non-profit, community owned pro team in American sports today. They have a 4-1 record in the Super Bowl, and won 9 championships prior to the Super Bowl era. Lambeau Field is a historic place to see a game, and getting a ticket is easily the most difficult one to get in the entire NFL. The current waiting list for season tickets is at about 90,000. The Packers say that about 90 people each year do not renew, so at that rate you will have to wait 1,000 years to get your hands on em. After a great run with Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers now makes Green Bay a viable contender every year.
2 – New England Patriots - This is one of the gold standard franchises in the NFL today. They have plenty of haters, but you have to respect what they have done over the past decade or so. 3 Lombardi Trophies and seven trips to the Super Bowl in franchise history. Owner Robert Kraft is one of the league’s best, and runs a tight ship as discipline and consistency being what they are known for. Bill Belichick is arguably the best coach in the league, and will be in the Hall of Fame one day. The straw that has stirred the Patriots drink is obviously Tom Brady, who shows no signs of slowing down. This team is in the hunt every single year, and a trip to the Super Bowl is their standard.
1 – Pittsburgh Steelers - Numero Uno belongs to the team from the steel city. The Rooney family has owned the Steelers since 1933, with the current man in charge being Dan Rooney. Wanna know one of the most amazing facts in all of sports? Since 1969, Pittsburgh has had a total of three head coaches…Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Mike Tomlin. That right there is called head coaching stability. The Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins with 6, and are tied with most appearances at 8. In my lifetime, I don’t really ever recall them being terrible. They seemingly have always been anywhere from good to really good. The fan support is top notch, and seeing the “terrible towels” being waved around at Steelers road games is not uncommon. When everything is factored in, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best NFL franchise going today.
Denver Sports by J Simp