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ESPN The Magazine's 2011 Ultimate Team Rankings - Where Do The Houston Teams Fall?

It's the lull that is the summer period where only Major League Baseball reigns supreme so it must be time for ESPN The Magazine to release their ninth annual "Ultimate Team Rankings," and they have done so!

In these feckless rankings, ESPN attempts to rank all professional franchises (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) based on the same criteria. Let’s throw in a jump to see how they judge franchises and where all Houston teams rank. If you prefer, you can view the entire list by clicking here.

Bang For The Buck (BNG): Wins during the past three years (regular season plus postseason) per revenues directly from fans, adjusted for league schedules.

Fan Relations (FRL): Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management.

Ownership (OWN): Honesty and loyalty to core players and local community.

Affordability (AFF): Price of tickets, parking and concessions.

Stadium Experience (STX): Quality of arena and game-day promotions as well as friendliness of environment.

Players (PLA): Effort on the field and likability off it.

Coaching (CCH): Strength of on-field leadership.

Title Track (TTR): Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.

Yep, we’re quantifying effort and expected championships within the next 50-70 years apparently by players yet to be born. How can this be anything but feckless, dear SBNH readers?

Let’s see where the battlefightin’ Houston teams rank out of 122 teams:

#37 – Houston Rockets, whose highest ranking came in the Players category.
#77 – Houston Texans, who ranked their best in the Stadium Experience category and are near last in Coaching. Gary Kubiak’s at least better than Cincinnati counterpart Marvin Lewis, so there’s that I suppose.
#87 – Houston Astros, who also had their best ranking in the Stadium Experience category and were near the bottom in "Bang for the Buck," players, and coaching.
Excluded – Houston Dynamo, who will console themselves by shining up their two MLS Cups, the city’s most recent professional championships (2006 and 2007).

What do we take away from this? Houston has great stadiums. That’s not surprising since Toyota Center, Reliant Stadium, and Minute Maid Park are all relatively new venues. Overall, the Houston teams haven’t won enough recently to earn higher marks in most of the categories, but they still beat some marquee franchises.

Houstonians should take solace as the Rockets were ranked higher than the New England Patriots, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, the Texans sit on top of the Boston Red Sox and 16 other NFL franchises (including Dallas and Tennessee), and the Astros aren’t at the bottom of the list and are at ahead of the New York Mets!

What that last paragraph proves? A Houston fan can find moral victories no matter what and those are, for the most part, the only victories we can find lately.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.