My take on the Eagles' No. 4 ranking

Last week, we created some buzz with an entry about the National Football Post's rankings of every NFL franchise.

We got 129 comments on the post, which had the Eagles ranked fourth, and today I talked about the piece with Angelo Cataldi and company on WIP's morning show.

I thought the segment went well, although as friend and loyal blog reader Lemur pointed out in an e-mail: "Arlen Specter is so annoying for calling in and cutting your time short."

(There was also a slightly creepy moment when Angelo said he enjoyed watching me blog, but later he explained he meant he enjoyed following our live chats during Eagles games. I think I'll close my blinds from now on anyway.)


Waht do you think of the No. 4 ranking?

Since I voiced my opinion about the rankings on the air, I thought I might as well include them here.

One of Angelo and Rhea Hughes' criticisms of the list was that the president of the National Football Post, Andrew Brandt, is also a consultant for the Eagles.

It's a fair point, and one that a reader suggested in the comments section when we made the initial post.

But I argue that the Eagles would rank up around No. 5 in most peoples' rankings.

Here's a look at the three factors NFP used in its rankings and how I think the Eagles fare in each:

Maximizing revenue (business): This is the part I think leaves the least space for debate. I'm not sure anyone would make the argument that the Eagles are not financially successful. Last September, Forbes ranked the franchsies from most valuable to least valuable. The Birds came in at No. 7, worth an estimated $1.1 billion. The teams ranked ahead of the Eagles (in order): the Cowboys, Redskins, Patriots, Giants, Jets and Texans. 

Managing the sports product (team): This is the factor that equates to winning. The Birds are still chasing that first Super Bowl, but they've won a lot of games since Jeffrey Lurie took over. It's fair to name Super Bowl-winning teams ahead of them -- the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Giants, Ravens ... and maybe even the Bucs. The Eagles have had more recent success on the field than the other teams listed ahead of them on the Forbes list (the Cowboys, Redskins, Jets and Texans). So the teams that have the Eagles beat based on the first two factors are the Patriots and Giants.

Maintaining a compact with the customers (fans): This is the one most open to debate. I would argue that despite the Phillies' success, this is still a football town. The interest in the draft last month was enormous; offseason stories about the Eagles on are immensely popular; and you can't listen to sportstalk radio for more than 15 mintues without hearing opinions on the Birds, regardless of the time of year. They are always a topic of conversation among Philly sports fans. Are there frustrations about not being able to get over the hump? Sure. And yes, there can be a disconnect between the front office and the fans. But overall, the interest in the team is undeniable.

Just to be clear, the criteria above was laid out by Robert Boland of the National Football Post, the guy who put the league-wide rankings together. They are not my own.

I've included a poll to get your opinion, but sound off in the comments area on where we agree/disagree.