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Just appreciate, baby!

By Spencer Campbell - Aug 20, 2014 - 1:30:00 pm

Complain all you want about its concussions, its tin-eared commissioner and its players who carry more guns than common sense — the NFL is doing just fine, thank you very much. Forbes released its annual ranking of most-valuable NFL franchises today, and 25 of the league’s 32 teams are worth more than a billion dollars. North Carolina has 36 public companies worth that much.

Last year’s Carolina Panthers, which posted a 12-4 record and won the NFC South, secured the franchise’s first playoff spot since 2008. That earned Carolina an 18% increase in value, from $1.05 billion to $1.25 billion. It improved one spot on the list, climbing to 17th. Also important to the pocketbook of Jerry Richardson — whose ownership group paid just $200 million for the expansion team in 1993 — is that though annual revenue grew only 4.4% to $283 million, operating income nearly doubled to $56 million.

But the Forbes list proves the business of the NFL is about more than winning, with all apologizes to late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. The Dallas Cowboys, which haven't been relevant since Troy Aikman was under center and were a middling 8-8 for the third-straight year in 2013, are evidently still America’s favorite team, worth a staggering $3.2 billion, 39% more than last year. Its operating income is only about $40 million less than the Panthers’ revenue.

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