No. 96: Oakland Raiders

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 6:06 PM ET
By Max Klinger | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 104
Title track: 52
Ownership: 94
Coaching: 93
Players: 100
Fan relations: 112
Affordability: 66
Stadium experience: 115
Bang for the buck: 45

It was a dark year in the Black Hole. But despite the season's circumstances -- the death of iconic owner Al Davis, the breakup of the managerial apparatchik and the status of their ailing stadium -- the Raiders made modest gains across the board, most notably in affordability. The brackish O.co Coliseum is no longer last in the league in stadium experience (being third worst may be cold comfort to Oakland's hard-bitten fans), and Raiders tickets are relatively cheap: Only Jags, Browns and Bills tickets cost less. The fans seem to understand that the leadership vacuum created by Davis' death hasn't been easy for players. The Raiders may have been ranked fourth worst in the players category among NFL teams, but fans ranked them high in likability. In turn, the team sold out every home game for the first time since the franchise moved back to Oakland in 1995 and avoided the notorious TV blackout policy. Fans were rewarded with a second consecutive non-losing season, even if it was marred by the most penalties in NFL history. With the future of the franchise hitched to new GM Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen, the faithful are hoping that a full season with healthy stars will take the Raiders from the non-losing category to actually winning, baby.