A new Forbes report indicates just how profitable the NFL has become. According to the study the average NFL team is worth $1.17 billion, and the most valuable team, the Dallas Cowboys, are worth an astounding $2.3 billion.

In that respect, it may be surprising to hear that not every NFL franchise operated at a surplus in 2012. In fact one team lost money.

Forbes reported that the Detroit Lions, who were valued at $900 million and took in $248 million in revenue last year, posted a loss of $3.5 million last year.

This isn't the first time the Lions have lost money, or happened to be the only NFL franchise to do so. Under Forbes' formula, the Lions have lost money each of the last four seasons.

The Lions don't release financial information, so it's impossible to know exactly why the team has operated at a loss, but as Kevin Seifert of ESPN points out there are several possible explanations. For one, the team is still burdened by its share of the construction cost of Ford Field (upwards of $350 million).

The Lions, who have big-name players like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, also had the highest player payroll in the NFL last year ($118 million).

It's interesting to note that even though the Lions lost $3.5 million, they were still better off than the NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks, one of the NHL's Original Six teams and its wire-to-wire best squad in the 2013 season, were an estimated $10 million to $20 million in the red last year.

Below is the complete list of NFL franchise values and, in parenthesis, each team's operating income from 2012:

1. Dallas Cowboys: $2.3 billion ($250.7 million)
2. New England Patriots: $1.8 billion ($139.2 million)
3. Washington Redskins: $1.7 billion ($104.3 million)
4. New York Giants: $1.55 billion ($64.4 million)
5. Houston Texans: $1.45 billion ($81.5 million)
6. New York Jets: $1.38 billion ($52.8 million)
7. Philadelphia Eagles: $1.314 billion ($47.8 million)
8. Chicago Bears: $1.252 billion ($63.2 million)
9. Baltimore Ravens: $1.227 billion ($48.3 million)
10. San Francisco 49ers: $1.224 billion ($10.2 million)
11. Indianapolis Colts: $1.2 billion ($65 million)
12. Green Bay Packers: $1.183 billion ($54.3 million)
13. Denver Broncos: $1.161 billion ($31.7 million)
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: $1.118 billion ($28.3 million)
15. Seattle Seahawks: $1.081 billion ($28.2 million)
16. Miami Dolphins: $1.074 billion ($24.8 million)
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $1.067 billion ($2.2 million)
18. Carolina Panthers: $1.057 billion ($28.9 million)
19. Tennessee Titans: $1.055 billion ($40 million)
20. Kansas City Chiefs: $1.009 billion ($15 million)
21. Minnesota Vikings: $1.007 billion ($28 million)
22. Cleveland Browns: $1.005 billion ($17.1 million)
23. New Orleans Saints: $1.004 billion ($22.2 million)
24. Arizona Cardinals: $961 million ($9.7 million)
25. San Diego Chargers: $949 million ($30.4 million)
26. Atlanta Falcons: $933 million ($18.5 million)
27. Cincinnati Bengals: $924 million ($37.3 million)
28. Detroit Lions: $900 million (-$3.5 million)
29. St. Louis Rams: $875 million ($21.1 million)
30. Buffalo Bills: $870 million ($12.6 million)
31. Jacksonville Jaguars: $840 million ($15.5 million)
32. Oakland Raiders: $825 million ($19.1 million)

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