America has an obsession with the National Football League, and it’s starting to grow outside of the United States, too, as more games are hosted in the UK, Mexico and Canada. However, there’s nowhere as invested in the NFL as California, which along with Florida, is tied for the most franchises in the sport with three.
Until the Oakland Raiders became the Las Vegas Raiders, the Golden State was the home of American football. It’s not surprising, then, that the state’s teams are among the most decorated in the world and account for the most popular American Football best & latest odds markets. But, which one is the biggest?
Oldest Franchises in California
Several of the oldest franchises in the NFL are based on the east coast. The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers were two of the first three teams to play one of the major sports professionally, along with the then-Los Angeles Dons. The Rams and 49ers have existed ever since, and have played continuously in the NFL since they entered the league.
But the Rams is the franchise that has been around the longest out of the California sides. They were created in 1936 and joined the NFL a year later in 1937. San Francisco only became a part of the organisation in 1950, while the Chargers were established much later (1959). However, the Chargers and 49ers have always represented Cali in some form. The Rams have moved from LA to Cleveland and St Louis in previous guises.
The Most Successful
When you’re judging the size of a sports team, it’s vital to include the number of championships in your calculations. A franchise can have everything, from a passionate fanbase to a state-of-the-art stadium, yet if they don’t have Super Bowl rings, they won’t make the cut.
As far as California is concerned, there’s one franchise that stands out from the crowd - the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have five Super Bowl championships, all after the NFL merger in 1970, between the early 80s and mid-90s. There are seven NFC Conference titles to throw into the mix, as well as 20 divisional crowns. Post-merger, the Rams and Chargers don’t compare. For example, they have a single Super Bowl between them when the Rams won XXXIV as the St Louis Rams.
The list of most valuable teams in the NFL can change like the weather. While the Dallas Cowboys will always be at the top, the rest of the field has quite a lot of room to manoeuvre. The LA Rams are the perfect example of this, because the franchise has increased its value by 20% from 2020 to 2021. They are worth an estimated $4.8 billion.
The San Francisco 49ers are two positions below in sixth place. With a $4.17 billion valuation, they aren’t far behind their state rivals. One aspect worth noting is that the 49ers have a bigger operating income - $45.4 million versus $37.2 million. The Chargers are way down the list at number 23.
You’d assume San Francisco’s fan base would be significantly smaller due to its location. In the north, it’s harder to engage the Central and South American supporters unlike in SoCal. Despite this, the recorded Facebook fans for September 2021 show that the 49ers have 3.81 million. The Chargers have 1.48 million and the Rams fewer than one million.
Overall, the San Francisco 49ers score highly in every category, while the team also deserves credit for remaining in California throughout its history.