By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on August 15, 2014
With the 2014 NFL season less than three weeks away (yeah, I’m stoked too), there is plenty to read regarding football news. Typically, that means checking up on the status of the team and players. However, it’s also fun to look at other aspects, including power rankings for players, teams and owners. Here’s a look at the 15 most likeable NFL owners in 2014.
Jed York took over for the 49ers in 2008. One of the main reasons why York is so likeable is because of his confidence. He believes San Francisco always has a chance to pull out a win even when the odds are stacked against them. In 2010, the 49ers were off to a 0-5 start with no light in sight. York publicly claimed they would make the playoffs. Despite all of the heat he took for the prediction, the 49ers came within one game of the playoffs.
Bud Adams was a legend in football circles. He played a key role in establishing the AFL, which later became a part of the NFL in the 1960s. Following Adams’ death, the Titans are now owned by Kenneth Adams IV, Amy Hunt and Tommy and Susie Smith. Liking the Titans ownership is more or less agreeing with what Bud stood for. There really wasn’t anything not to like about the man.
Clark Hunt is the young, successful owner of the Chiefs who inherited the team after his father passed away. At just 49-years-old, Hunt’s age is one of the big reasons to like him. He’s not afraid to make bold moves that should solidify the success of the Chiefs going forward. More importantly, he wants to deliver the loyal Kansas City fans a championship in the worst way.
What makes the Glazer family so likeable, especially amongst fans in Tampa Bay, is the fact that the team was a joke prior to Malcolm Glazer purchasing it in 1995. Since then, the Buccaneers have won 131 regular season games and was victorious in Super Bowl XXXVII. Even more impressive is that seven of Tampa Bay’s 10 postseason appearances have come under the guidance of the Glazer family.
Jerry Jones is one of those owners where people either like him or hate him, there’s no middle ground. As much as people hate him as the general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, he’s actually respected as an owner. Jones outdoes all other NFL owners with his creative stadium, determination to make the best of every situation and his overall coolness.
Woody Johnson, who is the chairman of Johnson & Johnson, allows a certain freedom among the Jets players that isn’t seen much around the NFL. More specifically, he consistently backs head coach Rex Ryan’s brashness and shows confidence in his team even when they fall short of their goals.
John Mara’s famous last name may sound similar as his grandfather founded the giants 90 years ago. Steve Tisch, on the other hand, is a film producer with his most noted productions being Forrest Gump and Risky Business. What’s not to like with one owner sporting a legendary last name and the other responsible for one of the greatest films of all time.
Arthur Blank cares so much about the Falcons, but unfortunately, he has never had the privilege of winning a Super Bowl. Blank purchased the team in 2002, and he has shown serious interest in investing money in multiple sports franchises in Atlanta. He also invests a lot of time and money in his charity, The Arthur Blank Foundation. Even more impressive, he has committed to give away half of his wealth to charity via The Giving Pledge.
Paul Allen, who is the co-founder of Microsoft, bought the Seahawks in 1997 so that he could keep the team in Seattle, instead of former owner Ken Behring moving the team to Southern California. Allen has done so much for the city, which includes investing money into three professional sports teams. He’s likeable, knows a lot about technology and he has no problem spending his hard-earned money.
Steve Bisciotti is from Maryland, grew up in a working-class family and he created his company from the ground up with his cousin. What’s even cooler is that the aerospace and technology company he created, Aerotek, was started in a basement office. Being one of the youngest owners in the NFL and recently winning a Super Bowl makes him that much more likeable.
Art Rooney was one of the greatest team owners the NFL had ever seen. He was the pioneer for establishing the rule that NFL teams that are hiring a head coach or general manager must interview at least one minority candidate at the bare minimum. Even more impressive is the loyalty the Rooney family has shown the city of Pittsburgh over the years. The fans have embraced the ownership like they embrace the blue-collar lifestyle.
Yes, I’m aware Pat Bowlen was forced to step down as owner of the Broncos due to his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. However, I didn’t think that was reason enough to exclude him from this list. The reality is Bowlen has done so much for the Denver community that it would be a shame to not recognize him on a list that highlights the most likeable NFL owners.
No other team in professional sports has the relationship the Packers have with its fan base. That’s because the fans are the owners of the team. For that reason, the Packers can never be moved from Green Bay. Despite attending an annual stockholder’s meeting, the fans have no voting rights. The ownership is in name only, but that’s just fine with them because the Packers wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the loyalty of the fans.
It might be peculiar to see the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked so high on this list, especially since there’s so much wrong with the organization and connection to the fan base. With that said, Shad Khan has turned the team around drastically. Instead of the embarrassing Jaguars of years past, the team is becoming relevant again. More importantly, Khan is dedicated to turning the Jaguars into something the people of Jacksonville can be proud of.
Despite the fact that Robert Kraft is the owner of the hated Patriots, there’s no denying that he’s the most likeable owner in the NFL. Throw out Spy Gate because that has no business here. Kraft is a genuine man who played an incredibly important role in the ending of the NFL lockout a few years ago. He’s also responsible for three Super Bowl titles in four years.
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