The newest issue of ESPN The Magazine hits the newsstands on Friday and it is the ninth annual “Best Franchises In Sports” rankings issue as part of their Ultimate Standings. In the issue both the Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins finish in the top 10 with the Steelers finishing 7th overall and the Penguins 10th. The Green Bay Packers take home the number one spot this year.
The Ultimate Standings methodology that the magazine claims to use in determining the overall ranking for pro sports franchises is based on a study of how much the franchise gives back to fans for the time, money and emotion they invest in them. Supposedly the multi-tiered analysis is done on each team and looks at the efficiency of the spending of fan money as compared to its on-field performance and also reportedly factors in feedback from more than 70,000 fans nationwide in 21 categories using various polling methods.
The Steelers 7th place finish made them the 3rd best NFL franchise as the New Orleans Saints came in 3rd place overall this year. The Penguins were the 2nd best NHL franchise behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, who surprisingly finished 2nd overall in the rankings. Last year the Saints finished 1st in the rankings and the Steelers came in 28th overall. The Penguins were ranked 5th overall last year in addition.
The highest the Steelers have every ranked in the 9 year history of the rankings is 3rd place and that came in 2006 and 2009. In both of those years they were the highest ranked NFL franchise.