According to a survey by Bizjournals.com and portfolio.com, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2009 season as the 18th most successful franchise in the NFL.
Steeler Nation, which includes jersey, hat and merchandise wearing and displaying people seemingly the world over, might disagree.
The survey sought to rank the 32 NFL franchises in terms of their twin goals of winning games and making money.
Rankings were based on percentage points assigned to such items as win-loss percentage, qualifying for the playoffs, total franchise value, average home attendance, percent of stadium seats occupied for home games and average margin of victory.
Don't let the No. 18 ranking fool you. The Steelers, according to the survey database, At $1.02 billion total franchise value, are worth more than the San Diego Chargers (who finished No. 10), the New Orleans Saints (who won the Super Bowl and finished second in the rankings), the Minnesota Vikings (No. 8, despite making it to the conference championship game), the Arizona Cardinals (No. 14) and the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 17 in the ranking).
Despite their 9-7 record, the Steelers had a greater margin of victory (points per game) than five teams ahead in the rankings.
The rankings placed 40 percent of the total rating on winning percentage and average margin of victory, as well as 10 percent on a sliding scale for playoff performance or not making the playoffs.
In other words, with average home attendance still at 97.7 percent capacity, despite a dismal (by Steelers standards) season, a couple bounces of the football might have vaulted the Steelers a lot higher in the business/on-field performance ratings.