The New England Patriots are once again ranked one of the world's most valuable sporting franchises.
Forbes released its list of 50 most valuable sports teams of 2013 on Monday, and the Patriots made the cut, and in fact occupy a very high position. The 3-time Super Bowl champions clock in at No. 6 on this year's countdown, valued at a whopping $1.635 billion.
That puts the Pats second among all NFL teams in terms of financial value, with the Dallas Cowboys ($2.1 billion) the only team worth more.
The other four teams ahead of the Pats are the New York Yankees ($2.3 billion), Barcelona ($2.6 billion), Manchester United ($3.165 billion), Real Madrid ($3.3 billion).
This, of course, has not been the best month for the New England Patriots, with the Aaron Hernandez murder charge and the Alfonzo Dennard suspicion of DUI arrest, but the franchise's value appears unchanged (at least so far) by these recent developments.
The 2012 version of the Forbes rankings also listed the Pats as the 6th-most valuable sporting franchise, at a value of $1.4 billion at that point, and as long Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are in New England, the team will remain a highly-viewed commodity.
Maybe the Pats have no chance of ever catching the Cowboys in this department, but for an organization that experienced so much futility for much of its first three decades of existence, being a mainstay among the top 10 valued sporting franchises has to be a pretty good feeling.