- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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ESPN The Magazine's eighth annual sports franchise rankings caught my attention on a few fronts:
Input from 1,000 sports fans helped "bang for the buck" emerge as the most important of eight categories, with "coaching" at the bottom.
Teams from the NFC West ranked ahead of all but their AFC East counterparts in coaching on average, but only the AFC West ranked lower overall.
The New Orleans Saints' success last season appeared to factor disproportionately in their rise and the overall standing of teams from the NFC South.
Ownership ranked only fifth among the eight categories even though it was probably most responsible for how teams fared in the other categories. The NFC West ranked only 21st in this category, its lowest ranking in any category. An improved ownership situation in St. Louis would certainly help the division in this category.
I averaged results from each category by division for the chart below. I'll be back with a closer look at how NFC West teams fared individually. The Cardinals ranked among the NFL's top eight in six of the eight overall categories, with a No. 3 ranking in bang for the buck.
Ultimate Standings by Division