The National Football League is the king of the sports universe. 30 of the world's 50 most valuable sports franchises come from the NFL. The majority of NFL teams are billion-dollar franchises.
Get ready to spend and spend big if you want to watch pro football live at stadiums.
The team atop this list is one of the most successful NFL franchises of the past 15 years. What may surprise some is that success rates do not always factor into ticket prices.
This piece begins with what was the worst team in the league last season.
These are the 10 teams with the most expensive average ticket prices in the NFL for 2014.
Values courtesy of Team Marketing
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10 Houston Texans -- Average Ticket Price: $88.98
Home Texans games are quite the bargain when compared with the other teams on this list. The average ticket price for local fans to watch Houston in person is about $10 cheaper than the average ticket price belonging to the team that comes in at No. 9. One other thing separates the Texans from most of the other franchises featured in this piece.
They don't have a proven starting quarterback.
J.J. Watt and rookie Jadeveon Clowney should make for one of the more intimidating pass rushes in the NFL. The Texans must now find a quarterback. Houston recently traded for New England Patriots backup QB Ryan Mallett.
Mallett worked with Houston head coach Bill O'Brien when O'Brien was a quarterback coach with the Patriots.
9 Philadelphia Eagles -- Average Ticket Price: $98.69
One thing you can say about the Eagles under head coach Chip Kelly: They should be fun to watch.
Quarterback Nick Foles had a breakout year in 2013 while playing in Kelly's high-powered offense. There was a stretch of time last fall when Foles – not Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady nor Drew Brees – was the hottest QB in the league. With Michael Vick out of town and Mark Sanchez reportedly being shopped to other teams, the offense of the Eagles is in Foles' hands.
Philadelphia could be in for a season to remember. The rest of the NFC East is lackluster, at best, and a plethora of analysts are predicting that the Eagles will cruise to a division title.
8 Baltimore Ravens -- Average Ticket Price: $100.19
Baltimore fans have little to complain about regarding ticket prices. Since moving from Cleveland following the 1995 NFL regular season, the team is averaging one Super Bowl victory per decade.
Meanwhile, the Browns have yet to even make it to a Super Bowl game.
Joe Flacco may never enter the top-tier of NFL quarterbacks. After going for 22 touchdowns and ten interceptions in 2012, Flacco tossed 19 TDs and 22 picks last season. That said, Flacco has performed his best under the lights of NFL postseason play.
Flacco once outplayed Tom Brady in an AFC Championship Game, and he also possesses a Super Bowl ring and a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award.
7 Washington Redskins -- Average Ticket Price: $102
The Redskins have a major decision ahead of them. Robert Griffin III is a former Heisman Trophy winner, and he was the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year. RG3 is the star of local and national advertising campaigns.
He may not, however, be the future franchise quarterback of the Redskins.
Griffin hasn't played in a full 16-game season in his two years in the league. He struggled in July practices and August preseason games and was lackluster during the Redskins season opener. Backup Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, performed as would a veteran starter during last month's exhibition contests.
Both Cousins and Griffin could be out of contract following the 2015 season.
6 New York Jets -- Average Ticket Price: $105.66
New York City prices. A team that plays in New Jersey. A franchise known for making the back pages of newspapers for all the wrong reasons.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Jets.
Head coach Rex Ryan, his staff and the front office of the Jets ruined former starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. The team brought the Tim Tebow circus to town for reasons that boggle the mind (other than to make money off of jersey sales). Ryan then allowed Sanchez to be hung out to dry in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the New York Giants in August 2012.
Second-year pro Geno Smith started for the Jets in Week 1. Hoping this season will be his final chance to lead an NFL offense is backup quarterback Michael Vick.
How short will the leash on Smith be?
5 Chicago Bears -- Average Ticket Price: $108.44
The time for the Bears to make a move for a NFC North title is now.
Jay Cutler was signed last January to an extension that should keep him in Chicago until he calls time on his playing days. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are as good a wide receiving duo as you will find in the NFL. Jeffery had 89 catches, 1,421 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last year.
The 24-year-old isn't yet in his physical prime.
But wait. There's more. Running back Matt Forte is in the heart of his prime. The 28-year-old finished second in the league in rushing yards (1,339) last year. Forte could go on to finish atop that list in 2014.
4 Dallas Cowboys -- Average Ticket Price: $110.20
America's Team. Jerry's World. A team in peril.
Choose your description for the 2014 Cowboys.
The current Dallas defense is, on paper, the worst in the NFC East. Signing Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in NFL history, to the team's practice squad made headlines, but nobody should forget that the St. Louis Rams and 30 other teams did not have a spot for Sam on their rosters.
The rookie is a work in progress, and he isn't saving the defense of the Cowboys anytime soon.
On the other side of the ball is superstar wide receiver Dez Bryant. Bryant is in a contract year, and he has the athleticism and the hunger to put up MVP numbers in 2014.
Throwing Bryant the ball is Tony Romo. Romo, 34 years old, had back surgery this past offseason. Owner Jerry Jones has time and time again publicly stated that he wished he had drafted Texas A&M phenom quarterback Johnny Manziel last May.
That yearning may only grow if Romo disappoints or gets injured this fall.
3 New York Giants -- Average Ticket Price: $111.69
The G-Men are technically a New York franchise. They, along with the Jets, call MetLife Stadium, a venue still in its infancy, home. Both the Giants and Jets could experience coaching changes next winter.
Unlike the Jets, who have one championship to date in the team's history, the Giants have won the Super Bowl on four occasions. Big Blue has been to a Super Bowl at least once every decade since January 1987. Quarterback Eli Manning may have had his worst ever pro season in 2013, but a two-time Super Bowl MVP can get away with such a poor season.
Both Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin could, however, part ways with the team if the Giants fail to make the playoffs in 2014.
2 San Francisco 49ers -- Average Ticket Price: $117
San Francisco fans won't be paying high prices only to see their beloved 49ers. They are paying to watch football in a brand new stadium.
Levi's Stadium opened its doors to the public this past July when a Major League Soccer match featuring the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders took place. Time recently called Levi's Stadium “the most high-tech stadium anywhere in the world.” Fans can download a Levi's Stadium smartphone/tablet app that will give them access to stadium Wi-Fi and to video replays.
Those in attendance are also able to order concessions via the app.
It doesn't hurt that the Niners have been a great football team over the past several years. The 49ers have been NFC Championship Game mainstays since the 2011 season.
1 New England Patriots -- Average Ticket Price: $122
No fan base in the NFL pays for past team successes as do those who follow the Patriots. New England last won the Super Bowl in February 2005. They have since twice lost to the New York Giants on football's biggest stage.
Those facts aside, New England routinely gives fans their money's worth.
The Patriots have made it to the AFC Championship Game in each of the past two seasons. Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he plays at Gillette Stadium at least eight times per season. The last time New England failed to make the playoffs was 2008;
the team went 11-5 that year.
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