Raiders Score No. 116 in ESPN Ultimate Standings... Ugh

Paula LehmanCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01: (L-R) The ESPN pregame show with host Mike Tirico and analysts Trent Dilfer, Steve Young and Ron Jaworski before Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


ESPN released their Ultimate Standings this week, evaluating all 122 pro teams in then nation. The Bay Area sucked it up. Giants 84, 49ers 87, A's 101, Warriors 109, Raiders 116.

ESPN Magazine points to the fact that 2008 was the worst in the Raiders' 44-year history after having a poor offensive run.

The rankings also refer to the "futility" of Al Davis' head coaching choices, having traded out four coaches in the past decade. These decisions put the Raiders at No. 114 in ownership.

The lowest mark was the player ranking where the Raiders scored a dismal 111. Fans and ESPN attribute this to a suffering offense that made just 27 TDs last year.

The magazine's methodology occurred in five steps (you can skip to the bottom of this article if you feel like getting this information directly from the website). First consulting firm Markitecture took a poll of 1,000 fans across North America to determine how much they felt their team gave back in return for the devotion of its following. The Markitecture asked laid out 21 questions referring to coaching staff and opportunities for fan feedback.

Next, ESPN.com garnered the 50,000 responses they received and had fans rate their clubs based on their assessment from the survey. The network grouped these into seven categories.

ESPN then evaluated dollars spent to on-field wins to determine fans' "bang for their buck."

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The eight catagories were prioritized as followed:

Players: 16.3 percent

Fan relations: 21.1 percent

Affordability: 12.3 percent

Stadium Experience: 9.6 percent

Bang for your buck: 21.2 percent

Title track: 5.3 percent

Ownership: 10.6 percent

Coaching: 4.6 percent

Finally, the scores were tallied and the rankings set. And boom... Raiders end up at the bottom of the list.

From the responses I've gotten to my articles, this ranking seems to be very curious. The Raider Nation is comprised of some of the most devoted fans in the country. Even in a losing season, true fans stand behind their team, vowing that every season is THEIR season of victory.

ESPN was not specific about where these surveys went exactly, whether they only assessed fans from the Bay Area or whether they tested fans in general who may or may not have voted for their own team.

Additionally, the survey, as far as I know, did not ask fans about the potential of their team in the future. It seems, despite the injuries of Heyward-Bey and Russell, that Al Davis made some of the smartest decisions as he's ever made in the past five years.

With the speed of Heyward-Bay (assuming he recovers), the progress in accuracy of Russell, and the addition of Tom Cable, the Raiders have a good chance of, at the very least, improving their record in 2009.

So weigh in, Raider Nation. Where would you put the Raiders in the scheme of pro sports? I have a good guess at what you will say...

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