Why the NFL’s first $10 billion franchise isn’t really that far away

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The value of an NFL franchise has doubled in five years. The Denver Broncos are about to be sold for an estimated $4.5 billion, twice the number David Tepper paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018.

Think of it this way: Denver’s price will be about 30 times what Jerry Jones paid for the Dallas Cowboys 33 years ago. In 1989, Jones paid $150 million for the Cowboys and for Texas Stadium, the team was losing $1 million per month, and cornerstone owner Lamar Hunt of Kansas City called it “the greatest risk I’ve ever seen an owner take.”

What a difference a generation makes. So, I asked the 79-year-old Jones on Friday: How surprised are you that a team not in New York or LA or not the Dallas Cowboys will sell for 30 times what you risked everything to buy 33 years ago?

“Every day, every week, it never ceases to amaze me how the NFL continues to evolve and continues to grow and continues to dominate the [sports] landscape,” Jones said. “Every time I think I totally understand it, it still blows me away.”

A couple of weeks ago, I saw reports that the Broncos could sell for at least $4 billion, with four prospective owners understanding the pricetag and yet staying in contention to buy the team. On Friday, I was told it will be closer to $4.5 billion, with a fifth owner candidate in the picture. And I looked up the recent history of team sales. Six teams have changed hands this century: Miami ($1.1 billion, 2008), the Rams ($750 million, 2010), Jacksonville ($770 million, 2012), Cleveland ($1 billion, 2012), Buffalo ($1.4 billion, 2014), Carolina ($2.275 billion, 2018).

Amazing, especially considering that when Forbes did its annual valuation of franchises this year, the Broncos were 10th. So if the Broncos are 10th and worth $4.5 billion, what are the rolling-in-dough Cowboys worth? Forbes says $6.5 billion. The smartest business consultant in NFL circles, Marc Ganis, told me he thinks Jones would get $8 billion or $8.5 billion if he tried to sell. Jones, when I asked him, said:

“Ten up.”

Asked to clarify, he said, “more than $10 billion.”

“But let me make this very clear,” Jones said. “I’ll say it definitively. I will never do it. I will never sell the Cowboys. Ever.”


I see three seminal events at the core of the astronomical rise in franchise values.

One: The NFL has made consecutive 10- and 11-year labor deals with its players union. The relationship between players and owners may not seem harmonious at times, but when there’s been 35 consecutive years of labor peace and nine more years on the current labor deal, there’s a certainty of play that other sports can’t match.

Two: The NFL owns the sports calendar, and the media is only too happy to cover the league with an unending year-round fervor. There are now five tentpole events in the league’s offseason (combine, free agency, draft, schedule release, camp opening) that didn’t exist in mega-coverage 25 years ago.

Three: The NFL just made media-rights deals for a decade totaling $113 billion. Within 10 years, the media money each team will get annually, guaranteed, will rise from $250 million to $380 million.

“The NFL has become the emperor of content, in season and out,” said Ganis, the president of Chicago-based SportsCorp, a sports business consulting firm. Ganis does business with about three-quarters of the NFL teams. “Technology is changing, and people’s habits are changing, and the NFL is at the forefront of those things. They’re at the forefront of streaming and gambling. If fans didn’t want more content, more events, they wouldn’t support what the NFL is doing. But they do. The NFL had a strategy of creating more events and they’ve all worked.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones...
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, December 2021. (Getty Images)

For Jones, the Cowboys have come a long way from the days the franchise was leaking money. “Back then,” Jones said, “Donald Trump said he felt sorry for the guy who bought the Dallas Cowboys. He called it ‘reckless crazy.’ And we really were America’s Team, because the FDIC owned 5 percent of the franchise. Every day, my motivation was simply to survive. I danced with the devil, and it created an edge with me. I didn’t want Jimmy Johnson to f— with me because I just lost my tolerance after what I went through in my early days.

“So how does it feel to see some of these values now, and see the value of the Dallas Cowboys now? Just go back to the early days, and you can see how the game has improved and become such a part of American life. Did you know that 7 percent of fans have ever gone to an NFL stadium? The rest fell in love with it through the viewing of the games. The pageantry, the aura, the interest of a fan base, the fact that an Al Michaels can relay the excitement of the game to a fan base. You put that up beside anything in society today, and you’ll increase the value. That’s where these values are being appreciated.

“Add in the Amazon [streaming] deal, the potential with some of the new technology. The NFL, in my mind, the visibility, the volume, the overall passion, you frankly can’t get it anywhere else. That’s why all these people want a piece of it.”

Jones thinks there’s another part of the story that’s harder to quantify. He just knows it exists. That’s the fact that people want to have a favorite team, and they want to follow the roller coaster of that team, and they want to get to know the players and know their strength and weaknesses and triumphs and foibles.

To Jones, there’s no such thing as bad coverage of the Cowboys. Bad coverage makes the Cowboys human. And he is positive his fan base loves the human.

“Let me tell you a story,” Jones said, warming to this topic. “A few years after I bought the team, I’m out in Los Angeles having lunch with David Hill and Ed Goren of FOX. At that time, there were a lot of negative headlines about the Cowboys. Michael Irvin was in the headlines. People are saying, ‘The owner’s an outlaw!’ And so that day I told them, ‘I’m tightening the lid on this franchise. We’re gonna get control of this team.’

“And David Hill jumped up. He said, “NO! Do not touch my ‘Boys! They are television gold! Don’t even think about it!’

“The foibles, the soap opera, the issues. They create interest. Add in the Senior Bowl, the combine, free agency, the draft, training camp, we always got something going. People follow us year ‘round. The owner every now and then gets in the paper. It just adds to the interest, all of it. People love that.”

The next billionaire to love it, really love it, is going to pay in the range of $4.5 billion to own one of these 32 cash cows in Denver. The NFL’s a freight train, speeding down the tracks. Ten billion for a franchise? The day will come, and sooner than you think.

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

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Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have gone head-to-head six times and each matchup has been both high-stakes and high-scoring affairs between the two legendary quarterbacks who have an even 3-3 overall record against each other. See below for a breakdown of the Brady vs. Mahomes rivalry.

Mahomes is currently in his fifth season as the Chiefs starting quarterback. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP signed a 10-year, $450 million extension in July 2020, which was the richest contract in American sports history by total value. Over the last four seasons (2018-2021), Mahomes has led the league in both passing yards (18,707) and touchdown passes (151). The 27-year-old looks to lead the Chiefs to their seventh straight AFC West Title. Kansas City is the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

At 45 years old Tom Brady, who already holds 7 Super Bowl titles–the most in NFL history, is currently playing in his 23rd NFL season–one that many thought he wouldn’t see after an unpredictable offseason filled with rumorsretirement, and unretirement. But the greatest of all time is back–this time without the comfort of his longtime trusted TE Rob Gronkowski–and is not only facing the challenge of playing with a banged-up offensive line but is also adjusting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

Every past matchup between Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes (3-3 overall record):

  1. Oct. 14, 2018 (Week 6) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Brady threw for 340 yards and 1 TD. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TD, and 2 INT.
  2. Jan. 20, 2019 (AFC Championship Game) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, in overtime. Brady threw 348 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Mahomes finished with 295 YDS, and 3 TD
  3. Dec. 8, 2019 (Week 14) – Chiefs defeated the Patriots 23-16. Mahomes totaled 283 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Brady had 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
  4. Nov. 29, 2020 (Week 12) – Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24. Mahomes threw for 462 yards with 3 TD. Brady finished with 345 yards, 3 TD, and 2 INT.
  5. Feb. 7, 2021 (Super Bowl 55) – Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium. Brady threw for 201 yards and 3 TD and was named Super Bowl MVP for a record 5th time.
  6. Oct. 2, 2022 (Week 4) – Chiefs defeated the Buccaneers 41-31 at Raymond James Stadium. Mahomes went 23-of-37 for 249 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

In an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor for Football Night in America, Mahomes discusses the trademarks of a Brady-led team.

“First off, they take advantage of mistakes,” Mahomes said. “If you make a mistake on the field, if I throw an interception or if you fumble, or if something like that happens, he’s going to make you pay and get points on the board and then he’s going to manage the game.”

Mahomes also knows that while Brady has a knack for capitalizing on mistakes, he does not often make many of his own.

“He’s going to make some plays when he needs to make plays, but at the same time he’s not going to make that big mistake. So you have to go out there and play a near perfect football game to win. Another thing, he’s never out of it and I think that’s something I try to pride myself on as well is never being out of the game. So whenever you play against a Tom Brady-led team, you make sure you keep that foot down on the pedal and try to do whatever you can to finish the game off.”

Patrick Mahomes absorbs Tom Brady’s lessons

Despite the difference in age and experience, Brady and Mahomes are alike in their impact on the game.

“You want to not like Tom but he’s just like the best guy,” Mahomes said. “So it’s hard to not like him, but to be able to play in golf tournaments, and him give me kind of advice and stuff like that. I mean, he’s the GOAT. You want to learn from the best and it’s really cool to have that relationship with him.”

Even when Brady and Mahomes have faced off in high-stakes postseason games, the advice continues. The two met in the 2019 AFC Championship game, when Brady was still playing for the New England Patriots. Both quarterbacks delivered stellar performances, but Brady managed to lead the Patriots to an overtime victory.

Following this loss, Mahomes tells Taylor that he is upset and spends a lot of time after the game sitting in the locker room. But when Mahomes finally walks out, Brady is waiting for him.

“He could be celebrating” Mahomes said. “He’s going to the Super Bowl and everything like that, and all he said to me, ‘Hey, just keep doing it how you’re doing it. You’re doing it the right way.’ And as a young quarterback, you just go out there and play and try to have fun and do whatever you can to put your team in the best position to win.

But when the GOAT’s saying that, he’s saying you’re doing it the right way, it shows you that you are doing it the right way. And so that was big for me”

While Brady has not revealed all his football wisdom to Mahomes, the Chiefs’ signal-caller looks forward to learning more.

“He won’t give me all the secrets yet,” Mahomes said. “But hopefully one day I’ll get the secrets and can put those into my game.”

Patrick Mahomes embraces the Tom Brady mindset

While Brady and Mahomes are competitors, their respect from one another extends beyond the football field into their personal lives. Mahomes and his wife Brittany, have a young girl, Sterling, and are expecting a baby boy.

“You want to be able to be a family man and be with your family and you want to be able to do these different things, where you’re going into businesses and then helping out and shooting commercials and, at the same time, keeping football first.”

One of the biggest lessons Mahomes has taken from Brady is the importance of prioritizing football in addition to consistently improving at the game.

“That’s the greatness in Tom Brady is no matter how much off the field stuff he does, football is always the main priority and he makes sure to keep it that way,” Mahomes said. “And so you watch that and then at the same time you go back to him on the field and he’s always getting better. I feel like every single year he finds something he can get better at. And that’s what I want to do, is I want to keep getting better as my career goes on so that I can play hopefully, maybe not as long as him, but pretty long as well.”

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


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What are the longest field goals in NFL history and when were they kicked?

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The 2022 NFL season is upon us, and at a time when every point matters, field goals take on an added significance. Last season, Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker converted the longest field goal in NFL history at 66 yards. Trailing 17-16 to the Detroit Lions in Week 3, Tucker successfully kicked a field goal that bounced off the cross bar and through the uprights to give the Ravens the victory as time expired.

Tucker’s kick broke the previous record that was set back in 2013. Cardinals kicker Matt Prater was the previous record holder with a kick of 64 yards against the Tennessee Titans. Prater, who played for the Denver Broncos at the time, converted the kick at the end of the first half to pull the Broncos within one point heading into the locker room.

RELATED: How to watch Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

The next field goal record is 63 yards and it has been achieved six different times in NFL history, most recently by Brett Maher in 2019 when the Cowboys were hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. In his three NFL seasons, Maher has kicked one 63-yard field goal and two 62-yarders. The first kick in NFL history of 63 yards happened in 1970 when Tom Dempsey of New Orleans sent a 63-yard kick through the uprights.

There are another five kickers throughout NFL history who have converted a kick of 62 yards. Earlier this season, Prater kicked a 62-yard kick against the Minnesota Vikings that had room to spare. The field goal was kicked from the center of the Cardinals’ mid-field logo and put Arizona up, 24-23, at halftime. With two of the kicking records in NFL history, Prater has established himself as a kicking legend in the NFL.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

What are the longest field goals in regular season history?

66 yards – Justin Tucker, Detroit vs. Baltimore, Sept. 26, 2021

64 yards – Matt Prater, Denver vs. Tennessee, Dec. 8, 2013

63 yards – Tom Dempsey, New Orleans vs. Detroit, Nov. 8, 1970

Jason Elam, Denver vs. Jacksonville, Oct. 25, 1998
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland vs. Denver, Sept. 12, 2011
David Akers, San Francisco vs. Green Bay, Sept. 9, 2012
Graham Gano, Carolina vs. N.Y. Giants, Oct. 7, 2018
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. Philadelphia, Oct. 20, 2019

62 yards – Matt Prater, Arizona vs. Minnesota, Sept. 19, 2021

Matt Bryant, Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia, Oct. 22, 2006
Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. Oakland, Nov. 19, 2017
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. Philadelphia, Dec. 9, 2018 (OT)
Brett Maher, Dallas vs. N.Y. Jets, Oct. 13, 2019

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

The longest field goals in playoff history do not quite match those of the regular season, but they are not far off. The longest kick in the postseason is 58 yards and two kickers have achieved the feat: Pete Stoyanovich of the Chiefs in the team’s 1990 Wild Card game against the Dolphins and Graham Gano of the Panthers before halftime of the team’s Wild Card game vs. the Saints.

What are the longest field goals in playoff history?

58 yardsPete Stoyanovich, AFC-FR: Miami vs. Kansas City, 1990
Graham Gano, NFC-FR: Carolina vs. New Orleans, 2017

57 yards –  Mike Nugent, AFC-FR: Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis, 2014
Wil Lutz, NFC-FR: New Orleans vs. Carolina, 2017
Greg Zuerlein, NFC: L.A. Rams vs. New Orleans, 2018

56 yards – Mason Crosby, NFC-D: Green Bay vs. Dallas, 2016


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube