ESPN has ranked the Packers No. 13 in their 2009 “Ultimate Standings,” which combines multiple facets of the organization to figure out which organization is the “best” through their criteria. This year, the best was the Los Angeles Angels.
The Packers No. 13 ranking was a drop from 2008’s No. 4 rankings. Of course, last year’s ranking came on the heels of a 13-3 season and an NFC Championship Game appearance. A 6-10 season will do that to you:
Lambeau is a juggernaut. The Pack’s home has been the top NFL venue each year of the Standings, and this year it landed in the top overall spot for the fourth time. Attribute that to the G-Force campaign, a team-sponsored directive launched in 2007 to rally fans. At kickoff, Lambeau’s TundraVision salutes the 79,928 G-Forcers on-screen while giveaway towels are waved from the stands and a Packers anthem (“G-Force Roar”) blares over the speakers. Not all the fun is reserved for game time, though. The Tundra Tailgate Zone, a climate-controlled area in the parking lot, opens four hours before game time, and fans can mingle with former Pack players (“Dude, is that Elijah Pitts?”), catch the action on the plasma-screen TVs and consume vast quantities of vitamin B (burgers, brats, beer). “Nothing is quite like being inside Lambeau,” a team rep says of the TTZ, “but it’s almost as good.” Not so good, though? Ownership and Coaching ranks dropped 27 and 37 places, respectively. That’s what 6 W’s and a 1–5 finish will get you. “If you’re okay following up an NFC title game appearance with a losing season,” one Packers faithful chided on packerchatters.com, “be a Bears fan.” G, that’s harsh.
Lambeau Field is nearly impossible to match as an NFL venue, so it makes sense that it was been the top NFL venue in the standings. Even outside of the NFL, it’s hard to find something that can compare to Lambeau. Without Lambeau, the Packers would probably be lower on these standings as well. If the Packers rebound in 2009, they could definitely rise into the top 10 of these standings.
Despite the drop, the Packers are only the second ranked NFL team, trailing the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were basically give for the top NFL team after their performance in 2008. The Packers also narrowly edge out the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, Nos. 14 and 15 respectively.
No other NFC North comes close to touching the Packers. The Chicago Bears are ranked No. 69 overall and No. 18 for NFL teams, while the Minnesota Vikings are No. 23 for the NFL and No. 89 overall. Everyone’s favorite losers, the Detroit Lions, bottom out the NFL teams, finishing 119 out of 122 overall teams. Of course, most of these teams can rise, as they all have young hot shot quarterbacks (or in Minny’s case, an old hotshot) waiting to take the reigns.