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Cowboys, Patriots Headline Forbes' List of Most Valuable NFL Franchises

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots carries the ball after the catch as Corey White #23 of the Dallas Cowboys and Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys try to make the tackle during the NFL game at AT&T Stadium on October 11, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)
Mike Stone/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2016

The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots were revealed as the leaders in Forbes' 2016 annual ranking of NFL franchise values. 

Forbes announced the latest set of valuations Wednesday. The numbers show all 32 franchises posted an increase in value from one year ago, led by the Los Angeles Rams, which saw a 100 percent jump following their move from St. Louis. In addition, every team is now worth at least $1.5 billion.

Here's a look at the complete rankings:

Forbes' 2016 NFL Franchise Valuations
RankTeamValue
1Dallas Cowboys$4.2 B
2New England Patriots$3.4 B
3New York Giants$3.1 B
4San Francisco 49ers$3 B
5Washington Redskins$2.95 B
6Los Angeles Rams$2.9 B
7New York Jets$2.75 B
8Chicago Bears$2.7 B
9Houston Texans$2.6 B
10Philadelphia Eagles$2.5 B
11Denver Broncos$2.4 B
12Miami Dolphins$2.375 B
13Green Bay Packers$2.35 B
14Baltimore Ravens$2.3 B
15Pittsburgh Steelers$2.25 B
16Seattle Seahawks$2.225 B
17Minnesota Vikings$2.2 B
18Indianapolis Colts$2.175 B
19Atlanta Falcons$2.125 B
20Oakland Raiders$2.1 B
21San Diego Chargers$2.08 B
22Carolina Panthers$2.075 B
23Arizona Cardinals$2.025 B
24Tennessee Titans$2 B
25Jacksonville Jaguars$1.95 B
26Kansas City Chiefs$1.875 B
27Cleveland Browns$1.85 B
28Tampa Bay Buccaneers$1.8 B
29New Orleans Saints$1.75 B
30Cincinnati Bengals$1.675 B
31Detroit Lions$1.65 B
32Buffalo Bills$1.5 B
Forbes.com

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joked about the team's consistent placement atop the list when Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asked him about it back in July.

"I would say that I would trade it for some first downs," Jones said.

Cork Gaines of Business Insider noted Jones bought the franchise for $140 million in 1989. The report pointed out the value rose at a steady pace for the first couple decades before starting to skyrocket recently, going from less than $2 billion in 2011 to $4.2 billion based on the latest estimate.

Dallas' outspoken owner told Williams the decision to get involved in the NFL was never about the financial bottom line, though.

"I did not get into the NFL to make money," Jones said. "I had some money, and I spent it to get in the NFL. I spent all my money practically to get into the NFL."

The Patriots' rise toward the top has also taken time. Hayden Bird of BostInno pointed out the Pats were rated as the least-valuable franchise in the NFL in a study by James Quirk and Rodney Ford in 1991, three years before current owner Robert Kraft took control.

Kraft stated on an episode of Forbes SportsMoney on the YES Network last year that his desire to take over the franchise and turn it around dated back to his disappointment as a fan:

I used to sit in the stands in the '70s and '80s with my four sons and think how I didn't appreciate how the team was being managed or run. I used to be really down that our season used to be over Christmas cause in the 34 years before we bought the team they had one home playoff game in 1978, which they lost to Houston. I just said if I had a shot of running this thing, what would I try and do? So then I tried to figure out how I could get an edge in buying the team. There were three parts: the team, the stadium which was a different ownership and 300 acres of land around the stadium that you needed to be free on the day of events for parking.

Now they are right there with the San Antonio Spurs and St. Louis Cardinals in terms of model organizations for consistent success in sports.

Meanwhile, the Rams are the other notable story here. The franchise ranked 28th in last year's valuations with a value of $1.45 billion. Now it sits sixth overall at double that amount, which illustrates why the league wanted to return to the nation's second-biggest television market.

In the big picture, the Forbes rankings are a great sign for the health of the league. Even the Buffalo Bills, which sit at No. 32 overall, generated a 7 percent increase from 2015 and brought in $326 million in revenue during the past calendar year.

                                                

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