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Monday July 23 2018
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Most Valuable Franchise

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The NFL lockout is over. To some, the agreement could not have come soon enough. To others, the saga was boring, particularly with the inevitability of an agreement and the REAL economy presenting a few more everyday challenges to most of us.

Tracking the blow-by-blow over the recent months between court challenges, negotiations, leaks and allegations proved to be much less interesting to Joe Lunch than whether the Pirates were for real.

Bet you didn’t see that coming when the lockout began, huh?

Here’s one thing you probably did see coming, however, even if most of us weren’t keeping a running scoreboard: the NFL is really, really rich. Just ask Forbes magazine.

The Forbes list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises says the NFL dominates like no other league.

OK…but the Browns beating the Steelers?

When a list like this is published, everyone looks up their favorite team to see where it stands. The ultimate ranking, of course, occurs after the season’s final game. I mean, rarely will you hear anyone in an NFL stadium screaming “We’re more valuable than you guys!” - unless you’re in the owner’s box.

You may be surprised to learn an NFL team is not #1 – that would be soccer’s Manchester United. That’s just worldwide, pal. It may make you feel better the Dallas Cowboys are #2 – or not. And if that makes you upset, consider the Redskins – really? – are fourth overall and considered the most profitable NFL team.

Then, and this is a guess, you’ll see the Browns 18th and the Steelers 21st and you’ll either be intrigued to dig deeper or burn this newspaper with a copy of Forbes.

Only fans of the NFL in a broader sense will feel better because league teams make up six of the top 10. And every team in the league – all 32 – is on the list.

That’s 32 NFL teams out of the top 50 franchises, which likely does little for your understanding of how people so wealthy could find a workable labor agreement so difficult to achieve. Of course, the flip of that may be true – that much wealth makes reaching a deal more difficult. Either way, most fans weren’t, and aren’t, too sympathetic, particularly with Forbes pointing out teams worth $70 million in the mid-80’s are now worth, on average, $1 billion.

In fact, Forbes values the home team at just slightly more than that figure.

There is some good news for Steelers’ fans, however. Sure, Cleveland wins this round and the Eagles are ten slots higher than Pittsburgh. But the Steelers are ranked one spot higher than Green Bay and, well, you know.

So, everybody on three…”Our team lost the Super Bowl, but we’re more valuable than you!”

I bet that makes the lockout, Super Bowl loss and being ranked outside the Top 20 on the Forbes list so much more bearable.

Or maybe not.

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