A football fantasy: Ranking the NFL with economics

Nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois #95 and tackle Anthony Davis #76 of the San Francisco 49ers lead their team on the field for introductions prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif.

The NFL season has begun -- and hope abounds for every team and every city. The Denver Broncos defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the first game of the season, which was something of a surprise to NFL fans. But for the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Desk, it was exactly in line with our own power rankings.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated and the sports media guys have crunched their stats, turning raw data into story lines that will follow the teams through the season. But at the Marketplace Wealth & Poverty Team (ahem, Desk) we think we've found a data set of other numbers:

From our perspective, the team with the highest 'power ranking' is the San Francisco 49ers.

No, Jim Harbaugh's team hasn't locked down a spot in the Super Bowl (yet). But the city does have the highest median income of any NFL city ($69,894). By that measure, Denver tops Baltimore -- just like the Broncos did on the field.

In second and third place, the Washington Redskins ($63,124) and the Seattle Seahawks ($61,037).

And like any other game, for every winner there's a loser.

At the bottom of our W&P power rankings is the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson play their ball in a city with a median income well under half that of the 49ers home city (Detroit's median income is $25,193). The Cleveland Browns just narrowly avoided the cellar (median income $25,371) and the Miami Dolphins round out the bottom three, with a median income of $28,536.

We've got the full rankings - and how they compare to ESPN's actual power rankings - below.

NFL rankings, W&P style

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City W&P rankings Median Income ESPN rankings
San Francisco 1 $69,894 3
Washington 2 $63,124 10
Seattle 3 $61,037 1
San Diego 4 $60,797 24
Oakland 5 $50,500 31
Charlotte (Carolina) 6 $50,177 23
New York Giants 7 $49,461 12
New York Jets 7 $49,461 32
Boston (New England) 8 $49,081 6
Denver 9 $47,371 4
Minneapolis (Minnesota) 10 $46,682 17
Jacksonville 11 $44,802 29
Phoenix (Arizona) 12 $43,960 26
Atlanta 13 $43,903 2
Kansas City 14 $43,810 19
Chicago 15 $43,628 14
Houston 16 $42,877 7
Nashville (Tennessee) 17 $42,639 27
Green Bay 18 $41,784 5
Dallas 19 $40,585 18
Tampa Bay 20 $40,073 22
Indianapolis 21 $39,015 11
Baltimore 22 $38,721 8
Pittsburgh 23 $35,947 16
New Orleans 24 $35,041 13
Philadelphia 25 $34,207 25
St. Louis 26 $32,570 15
Cincinnati 27 $31,301 9
Buffalo 28 $29,158 30
Miami 29 $28,536 20
Cleveland 30 $25,371 28
Detroit 31 $25,193 21

About the author

Jolie Myers is a former associate producer for Marketplace's Wealth & Poverty Desk.

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