Study: Saints, Falcons spend wisely

The professional sports team that uses its money most wisely is located in NFC South territory. But it’s not any of the four NFC South teams.

Bloomberg Businessweek has its second annual ranking of the smartest spenders in sports, and baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays came in at No. 1. The rankings also include NFL, NHL and NBA teams, and are based on how much teams spent per win over the past five seasons. Every team then was compared to the league average to produce an efficiency index.

When it comes to the four NFC South teams, the New Orleans Saints had the best ranking. They’re No. 5 among NFL teams and No. 23 in the four major sports. The Atlanta Falcons also cracked the top 10 for NFL teams. They’re No. 9 in the NFL and No. 40 overall.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are right in the middle of the pack. They’re No. 15 in the NFL and No. 59 overall. The Carolina Panthers finished last among NFC South teams. They’re No. 24 in the NFL and No. 84 overall.

For context, the New England Patriots were No. 1 among NFL teams and the St. Louis Rams were No. 32.