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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Ultimate Power Rankings: Bring on the hate mail

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For those of you who pick me apart each week for my CBSSports.com Power Rankings, I give you the chance for your biggest rip moments ever:

The Ultimate Power Rankings.

What, you say? Here's the deal. We've decided to rank the NFL's teams 1-32 based on how they stack up as a franchise -- both now and in history.

The franchise once guided by Vince Lombardi is again on top of the NFL -- Super Bowl champions. (Getty Images)  
The franchise once guided by Vince Lombardi is again on top of the NFL -- Super Bowl champions. (Getty Images)  
There are several factors that I used. Among them are winning over the years -- especially in the Super Bowl era -- ownership, fan base, tradition and overall leadership of the franchise in its current state.

This is not a scientific study, but one based on some of those criteria and my opinion.

Putting together such a list is a tough task. Fans will feel their teams are slighted and many will say certain franchises are too high or too low. It's hard to gauge the Cleveland Browns because the new Browns haven't done anything, but the old Browns won a ton of titles. The problem is that team moved to Baltimore, but the records stayed in Cleveland. That makes it tough.

Few of you, if any, will say I got any of this right.

But that's OK. I'm used to the vile, nasty comments you send every week during the regular Power Rankings.

So when my bosses suggested this idea, I told them this: "It's just another chance for those crazies to kill me."

Their reply: You can handle it.

And I can.

So enjoy the list and don't get too emotional and angry. Just remember, it's an opinion based on some facts. Have at it.

1. Green Bay Packers: The Lombardi Trophy is back in TitleTown, USA. The Packers won their fourth Super Bowl Sunday night. They also have a storied history, lunatic fans, a rebuilt shrine to football and a leadership in Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy that is far from finished winning titles. Oh, and they have the next great passer in Aaron Rodgers. Do the Packers ever run short in that category?

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: They've won six Super Bowls since the game began and their fans make them America's Team (sorry, Cowboys). They just do all the right things to stay prominent for long periods of time. Heinz Field is state of the art and the Rooneys run their team the right way. What's not to like?

3. Dallas Cowboys: They haven't won a title in 15 years, but that doesn't mean they don't belong here. The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls. They also have an owner (Jerry Jones) who knows how to make money and market his team. They've also had great teams over the past 50 years and many great players. Best stadium in football, too. I will say this: It's time they made the big game again.

4. New York Giants: They've won three Super Bowls. They have a diehard fan base and good ownership. It's hard to argue with this team being in the top five, right? The new stadium helps in terms of revenues. Some might wonder why they're above the Jets here after last season. These are all-time rankings, not based on the past two seasons.

Ultimate NFL rankings
All-time NFL championships
TeamTitlesW-L-TWin %
Packers13664-524-36.559
Bears9704-512-42.579
Giants7636-524-33.548
Steelers6541-499-20.520
Cowboys5440-324-6.576
49ers5509-420-15.548
Redskins5547-516-27.515
Browns4485-398-13.549
Colts4451-396-7.532
Lions4496-593-32.456
Raiders3418-343-11.549
Patriots3401-362-9.526
Rams3511-492-20.509
Eagles3509-541-26.485
Dolphins2394-290-4.576
Broncos2398-364-10.522
Cardinals2488-691-39.414
Ravens1128-111-1.535
Chiefs1395-365-12.520
Jets1351-413-8.460
Saints1286-383-5.428
Buccaneers1218-329-1.399

5. Chicago Bears: Loads of history. Great players. Great coaches. Fantastic fans. But they have no Super Bowl victories since 1985. That hurts. Even so, this is a storied franchise that will always seem to be near the top of these rankings. Their pre-Super history is loaded with successes.

6. New England Patriots: Three titles in the early 2000s elevates this franchise to this level. They also have a good owner and a nice stadium with crazy fans who have come to love me over the years (just kidding). They also have the best coach in the game and arguably this generation's best quarterback.

7. San Francisco 49ers: They've won five titles in the Super Bowl era and they have a passionate fan base. Recent years have been lean, which hurts their chances of being higher. They could use an upgrade from their current stadium situation. Ownership also gets criticized a lot. The current owners aren't like Eddie DeBartolo Jr., that's for sure.

8. Washington Redskins: They have a diehard fan base and three Super Bowl titles. Some will say owner Dan Snyder drops this team down the list, but while he makes bad football decisions he knows how to make money off his team. That means something. Heck, there's still a waiting list for tickets and he makes big bucks off parking. Now if he can only do a better job spending his football money.

9. Denver Broncos: Passion, passion and more passion. Denver lives for the Broncos. And they've won two titles in the past 20 years. They do have to pick it up if they want to stay here the next time we do these. Is Tim Tebow the savior for the franchise? Or is bringing back hero John Elway what will get the glory days back?

10. Miami Dolphins: They haven't won a title since the early 1970s and they've been searching for a QB to replace Dan Marino for more than a decade. But the Don Shula years help their plight. New owner Stephen Ross botched the Jim Harbaugh pursuit, and seems to like glitz over substance. He's learning on the job, though. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since after the 2000 season.

11. Philadelphia Eagles: They haven't won a championship since 1960, but they've had success under Andy Reid in the past 10 years. They also have a loyal and sometimes vile (I love you guys) fan base. Owner Jeff Lurie is very good and the front office, led by Joe Banner, gets it.

12. Indianapolis Colts: They have one Super Bowl victory in Indianapolis, but this is a franchise that had success as the Baltimore Colts. It also has a sparkling new stadium and a general manager in Bill Polian, who is second to none. And they have the face of the NFL playing quarterback in Peyton Manning.

13. Baltimore Ravens: They have one Super Bowl victory in Baltimore, but they had great success in Cleveland before moving. GM Ozzie Newsome is one of the game's best minds, and they have an owner in Steve Bisciotti who gets the current game. They also have loyal fans and a top-tier stadium. They get extra points because the stadium is close to Vaccaro's Bakery, the only place I've ever had cannoli dip.

14. New York Jets: Their only Super Bowl appearance was in 1969. Think about that. More than 40 years ago. They are relevant again and sharing a wonderful new stadium with the Giants helps them in revenue. Rex Ryan has brought a refreshing attitude to a team that needed it. Owner Woody Johnson stays involved. GM Mike Tannenbaum has done a really nice job, proving doubters -- including me -- wrong.

15. Oakland Raiders: They've had great success in their history and they have a tradition and a huge following. But their stadium is awful and Al Davis hasn't done a very good job the past decade or so. Just win, baby? Yeah, right. They haven't won it all in 27 seasons.

16. Kansas City Chiefs: They haven't won a Super Bowl since 1970. Wow. They have a great fan base and the ownership is solid. The new Arrowhead is beautiful. There is a lot of history, but most of it is from the AFL. That holds them back here in these rankings.

17. San Diego Chargers: For a team that hasn't won a Super Bowl, they sure get a lot of hype. This is a franchise that always seems close, but can't win it. The stadium situation is bad, which is why some think this is the team headed to L.A. The fan base is solid, even with some recent blackouts, but there have been questions about the ownership group. They last won a title in 1963 in the old AFL. Ouch.

18. New Orleans Saints: The recent years don't wipe out the tough times this franchise had for most of its existence. Winning the Super Bowl last year helps. The fan base has been strong and loud for a long time. The stadium is OK and the ownership is the same. Let's give big props to coach Sean Payton, who is top-notch. General manager Mickey Loomis has done a nice job.

Fan Poll

What is the best NFL franchise?

Packers
27%
Steelers
32%
Cowboys
10%
Giants
5%
Bears
6%
Patriots
19%

Total Votes: 72,614

19. St. Louis Rams: Since relocating, they have one Super Bowl victory and played in another. The Greatest Show on Turf era energized the city. In recent years, things haven't been good, but Sam Bradford should help turn things around. Nice stadium, if not stale at times. The new ownership is a step up. This is a franchise with success at previous stops in other cities, and that has to mean something.

20. Tennessee Titans: This Oilers-Titans franchise has been known for coming close. They've teased a lot. They've had some good teams, but haven't won an NFL title. The stadium in Nashville is a good one, and the fans solid. They do lose some stability with Jeff Fisher leaving as coach after 17 seasons. Would be higher if they had defeated the Rams in the Super Bowl after the 1999 season.

21. Minnesota Vikings: Their next Super Bowl victory will be their first. They haven't been there since the 1970s and have never won a title in their 50 seasons. They also play in a bad stadium that has to be replaced. The fan base is strong. Owner Zygi Wilf seems to care, but he's made some strange decisions (see babying Brett Favre).

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One title since entering the league in 1976 doesn't wipe away all the bad years. I like the direction of the new regime under Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris, but where did the fans go? The stadium is a nice one, so that's not an excuse. They have ticket issues.

23. Buffalo Bills: They went to four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s, but there hasn't been much since. The once sellout-crazy fan base isn't what it once was. They have been searching for a quarterback to replace Jim Kelly for a long time. They did have some success in the AFL, but that was a long time ago. They are always mentioned as a candidate to move, which doesn't help.

24. Seattle Seahawks: I love the fan base. And the stadium is top notch. But they've been around for more than 30 years. Isn't it time they won a title? Paul Allen is one of the league's deep-pocket owners, so that's not a problem. And the stadium sells out. It's time he got some bang for his buck.

25. Atlanta Falcons: They didn't have consecutive winning seasons until the 2008-09 seasons. Now they've had three straight. This is a franchise that might want to look forward and not back. The current front office with Thomas Dimitroff as general manager and Mike Smith as coach is top notch. Owner Arthur Blank is one of the league's best, but the stadium and the fan base are just OK.

26. Arizona Cardinals: This is a franchise that has moved from a couple of places. It has had success at some stops and the current Cardinals were in the Super Bowl two years ago. The new stadium has helped improve the fan support, but it's far from some of the other fan bases in the NFL. The last time this franchise won a championship was in 1947.

27. Carolina Panthers: Since coming into the league in 1995, they've been to one Super Bowl and two championship games. They've had some tough years recently, and they're picking first in the draft for a reason in April. Owner Jerry Richardson is considered one of the league's stronger owners. The stadium remains a draw, but fans have begun to stay away, which has to be a concern.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: What have they won since joining the league? Nothing. They've been to two Super Bowls, but that's it. The front office is lean, which is a problem. Owner Mike Brown makes the football decisions, which is a problem. They are considered thrifty, and that's being kind. They do have a great stadium, but they're known as the Bungles for a reason. Their last playoff win was in 1990.

29. Houston Texans: Owner Bob McNair runs a first-class operation and seems to be committed to winning. The stadium is also state of the art. But where are the playoff appearances? It's time. If they don't get one in the next couple of years, they could be down lower on this list.

30. Cleveland Browns: This is the new Browns because we know the old Browns, the team that moved to Baltimore, won titles. They did keep that history, but even doing so they haven't won a title since 1964. The new Browns haven't done much since coming back. The fan base is still strong, though. Ownership has made some strange moves, which brings it into question.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars: They've been to two title games in their 16 seasons, but they've had a tough time selling tickets recently, although they did not have a game blacked out last season. They certainly don't have much tradition and history. They are one of only four teams never to appear in a Super Bowl. Owner Wayne Weaver is a better owner than some in the national media think.

32. Detroit Lions: The Lions haven't been to the playoffs since 1999, haven't won a playoff games since 1991 and haven't won a championship since 1957. That's big-time droughts for all three. They do have a nice, new stadium and an ownership that seems to care. They also have tradition on their side and a solid, long-suffering, fan base.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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