Carolina wins NFC South -- again

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Just came across a very interesting study in which Bizjournals ranked all 122 franchises in the four major sports -- NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

A complicated formula was used. But the nutshell is teams essentially were ranked in two categories -- winning and making money -- and the NFC South fared pretty well.

The Carolina Panthers were the class of the division in this survey. The organization ranked 25th among all pro sports teams (only two spots behind the New York Yankees) and seventh among NFL teams. Carolina's 12-4 record last season speaks for itself, but Bizjournals also cites that Bank of America Stadium was filled to 99.2 percent of its capacity and a 9 percent increase in franchise value as reasons for the ranking.

Somewhat surprisingly, the New Orleans Saints finished 38th overall and ninth among NFL teams, despite an 8-8 record. But the Superdome was filled to capacity (71,735) for every home game and the franchise value increased by 10 percent.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished just above the middle of the pack. They went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. But they ranked 54th overall and 15th among NFL teams. A 98.3 capacity rate and a 9 percent gain in franchise value pulled this ranking up.

Despite a surprising playoff run, the Atlanta Falcons fell into the bottom half of the survey. They finished No. 67 overall and were ranked 22nd among NFL franchises. The 11-5 record was nice, but the ranking was pulled down by an 89.9 percent capacity rating at the Georgia Dome. I've got a feeling that number will be much closer to 100 percent going forward if Matt Ryan continues to show he's the real deal. The franchise value did increase by 10 percent.