Cincinnati Bengals Named Worst Franchise in Professional Sports for 2011

Matt GrayContributor IJune 15, 2011

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21:  Chad Ochocinco #85 and Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals watch from the sideline during the final minutes of the Bengals 49-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Every year, ESPN the Magazine scribes an annual 'Best Franchises in Sports' list, ranking all teams in North America's 'Big Four' sports comprising the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, and this year the Cincinnati Bengals have been named the worst of the worst.

Here's ESPN's breakdown of how the list is compiled;

The “Best Franchises In Sports” feature is part of ESPN The Magazine’s Ultimate Standings methodology study, which determines an overall ranking for pro sports franchises according to how much they give back to fans for the time, money and emotion they invest in them.

The rankings are determined by a multi-tiered analysis that examines a team’s efficiency in spending fan money as compared to its on-field performance. It also factors in feedback in 21 categories from more than 70,000 fans nationwide, both online at and in polling conducted by both independent third parties.

It comes as yet another kick in the groin to Bengaldom, in a year where there have been very many. The long-beleagured franchise has set countless records for futility, and continued that line of history this past season on their way to a 4-12 record.

Owner Mike Brown has long been perceived as the catalyst for the Bengals' failures by the fans, and that doesn't look to change anytime soon. With many offseason questions to answer, like the status of Carson Palmer, who seems to be making a sequel to Favre-Watch, the Bengals might struggle to climb this list in the near future.

Only time will tell if the Cardiac Cats can earn those stripes that adorn their helmets each Sunday. With a host of new young talent, including A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, Rey Maualuga and Andy Dalton, among others, and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to orchestrate the post-Palmer era on offense, things could be looking up for the Queen City.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Redskins managed to narrowly sidestep the lowest spot on the list, claiming numbers #120 and #121 respectively, with the Green Bay Packers unsurprisingly nabbing the top spot at #1 overall.