Successful NFL franchises depend on strong organizational structure from top to bottom. The general manager, head coach, trainers, and players are all crucial, but the owner is often an underrated aspect of NFL operations. Strong ownership is typically a precursor to on-field success in professional sports, and this article will take a closer look at the best and worst franchise owners in the NFL.
#32: Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns
Net Worth: $4.7 billion
Now that Dan Snyder is out as the owner of the Washington Commanders, Jimmy Haslam has the unfortunate distinction of being the worst owner in the NFL. Haslam’s Browns have a terrible record of 52-103-1 since he bought the team seven games into the 2012 season. Now, he’s irreversibly linked to Deshaun Watson after Cleveland made an aggressive all-in trade for him last offseason, and his future is murky at best.
#31: Dean Spanos, Los Angeles Chargers
Net Worth: $1.5 billion
The Dean Spanos situation is finally reaching a boiling point as the owner has been sued by his sister, Dea, for claims of repeated breaches of fiduciary duty and misogynistic behavior. Spanos has a reputation for being petty and squabbling with franchise stars like LaDanian Tomlinson and Joey Bosa. Chargers fans are especially unhappy with current ownership after being left San Diego fans in the dark with the team’s move to Los Angeles.
#30: Janice McNair, Houston Texans
Net Worth: $4.2 billion
In 2018, Janice McNair inherited her late husband Bob McNair’s 80% stake in the Texans. Janice was the co-founder of the Texans with her husband in 1999, and she is the wealthiest female sports owner in the United States. Unfortunately, her time as owner has been marred by poor on-field results and the repercussions of the Deshaun Watson scandal. The McNair family will be hoping new head coach DeMeco Ryans and general manager Nick Caseiro can lead the franchise towards brighter days.
#29: Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Net Worth: $925 million
Son of Bengals co-founder Paul Brown, Mike has drawn his fair share of criticism since assuming ownership after his father’s death in 1991. Brown has consistently refused to shell out excessive money in free agency and has refused to hire a full-time general manager or large scouting and personnel staff. In 2008, the team set the record for most games needed under one specific owner to attain 100 wins (288).
#28: Michael Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals
Net Worth: $1.4 billion
Michael Bidwill is just the sixth principal owner in franchise history after he inherited the team from his father, Bill Bidwill, in October 2019. Bidwill finally fired Steve Keim this offseason and the hope will be that Monti Ossenfort can bring stability to a franchise in rough shape. However, ugly accusations are piling up for Bidwill and sanctions could be on the way.
#27: Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins
Net Worth: $11.6 billion
Last year, Brian Flores sued Stephen Ross, claiming that he was offered $100,000 for every game he lost for the Dolphins in 2019 in an effort to tank the season. The NFL has publicly denied all allegations, but this situation remains unresolved. Ross has infamously flirted with Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady over the past couple of years, and his lack of savvy and mismanagement have hurt the franchise.
#26: Woody and Christopher Johnson, New York Jets
Net Worth: $6.3 billion
The Jets are staring down a 12-year playoff drought as they have a 70-124 record since making the AFC Championship following the 2010 season. The team has cycled through four head coaches over that span as the franchise has obsessed over week-to-week results rather than building a sustainable model. Woody’s return as the team’s chairman after serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom will hopefully help bring back some direction to the organization.
#25: Mark Davis, Las Vegas Raiders
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Mark Davis became the principal owner of the Raiders in 2011 after his father, Al Davis, passed away, and the team has spiraled since then with just a 79-115 record. To Davis’s credit, he helped orchestrate the franchise’s move to Las Vegas, which should be massive for their financial success and should help resolve rumors of cash-flow issues. Still, the on-field product has suffered, and the ignominious departure of Jon Gruden two years ago just four years into a ridiculous 10-year, $100 million contract left the team in bad shape.
#24: Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts
Net Worth: $3.9 billion
Jim Irsay became the youngest team owner in the NFL at 37 years old when his father passed away in 1997. Irsay’s Colts won the Super Bowl following the 2006 season with Peyton Manning at the helm, but it has been far from the best-run organization when the team hasn’t had a franchise quarterback in Manning or Andrew Luck. The bizarre situation with interim head coach Jeff Saturday last season left a bad taste in fans’ mouths.
#23: David Tepper, Carolina Panthers
Net Worth: $18.5 billion
While he’s the third-wealthiest owner in the NFL, David Tepper’s team hasn’t had much success since he purchased the Panthers in 2018. Carolina has had five straight losing seasons since 2018. This offseason brought significant change with a new head coach in Frank Reich and a new franchise quarterback in #1 overall pick Bryce Young. A new stadium could be on the horizon, as well, and things are looking up for the Panthers.
#22: Glazer family, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Net Worth: $4.7 billion
Currently embroiled in a complicated process with the sale of Manchester United, the Glazers might be neglecting a Buccaneers team that is feeling the aftermath of an all-in Super Bowl window. Tom Brady’s departure leaves this team in a tricky position, but the Glazers’ faith in general manager Jason Licht has been rewarded, and that stability could be integral to a quick rebuild as the team embarks on a season that could prove difficult.
#21: Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars
Net Worth: $11.7 billion
Could the arrow finally be pointing up for Shahid Khan’s Jaguars? After a miserable 42-119 record in Khan’s first ten seasons as an owner, Jacksonville finished last season with a 9-8 record and won its third playoff game since 2007. The Jaguars seem to have found the right coach-quarterback combo with Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence, and Khan is beginning to work on a new stadium for his team.
#20: Gayle Benson, New Orleans Saints
Net Worth: $4.7 billion
Following the death of her husband Tom Benson in 2018, Gayle Benson became the principal owner of the Saints. One of ten female principal owners in the NFL, Benson plans to sell the franchise in the near future, but she and team president Dennis Lauscha have remained committed to keeping the team in New Orleans. Under the Bensons’ ownership, the Saints won a Super Bowl in 2009 and have had long-term sustained success as a perennial playoff contender.
#19: Virginia Halas McCaskey, Chicago Bears
Net Worth: $1.3 billion
Daughter of the legendary George Halas, Virginia Halas McCaskey has been the principal owner and secretary of the Bears since 1983, following her father’s death. She is the longest-tenured owner in the NFL and was the principal owner of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion team. Virginia turned 99 years old this year, and she is very much hands-off at this point, with her son George serving as the team’s chairman.
#18: Sheila Ford Hamp, Detroit Lions
Net Worth: $2 billion
In 2020, Sheila Ford Hamp took over the Lions as principal owner and chairwoman from her mother, Martha Parke Firestone, whose husband, William Clay Ford, was the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford. Sheila Ford Hamp made the excellent decision to fire general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia in 2020. The Lions brought in an impressive group of football minds to help hire Brad Holmes and Dan Quinn, who have the franchise in a great position moving forward.
#17: Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings
Net Worth: $1.3 billion
Born in West Germany to parents who were Holocaust survivors, Zygi Wilf has been a steadying presence for the Vikings. He was integral to the team lobbying for their new U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in July 2016 on the site of the former Metrodome. Wilf’s decision last year to replace general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell, respectively, will help dictate Wilf’s future perception as an owner.
#16: Josh Harris, Washington Commanders
Net Worth: $6.4 billion
The NFL rid itself of one of its biggest blemishes when Dan Snyder was finally forced to sell the Commanders this year, but he made out with a $6.1 billion sale price, the highest in sports history. Josh Harris, who led the purchasing group, is a seasoned owner having led groups that purchased the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and English soccer club Crystal Palace. Harris will be a breath of fresh air for a franchise that desperately needed it, and quick improvement should be expected.
#15: Denise DeBartolo York, San Francisco 49ers
Net Worth: $4 billion
Denise DeBartolo York is technically the principal owner of the 49ers, but Jed York, her son, is the team’s CEO who handles the day-to-day management. York’s dispute with Jim Harbaugh ended a highly successful era, but the team has quickly pivoted to general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, who have brought a new era of stability and success. The duo has led the team to two NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in the last three years.
#14: Jody Allen, Seattle Seahawks
Net Worth: $20.3 billion
Following her brother Paul Allen’s death in 2018, Jody Allen took over controlling the interest of the Seahawks. Paul’s trust dictates that the sports franchises be sold upon his death, and that will likely happen after May 2, 2024, when the Seahawks would no longer have to turn over 10% of the gross sale price to the state of Washington. In the meantime, Jody Allen will keep the Seahawks steady under solid management from Caroll and general manager John Schneider.
#10: John Mara and Steve Tisch, New York Giants
Net Worth: $1.7 billion (combined)
Once considered one of the preeminent franchises in the NFL, the Mara-Tisch partnership hasn’t carried the same level of cache in recent years. However, the new regime of GM Joe Schoen and HC Brian Daboll should inject new life into the franchise. Mara and Tisch have lifted two Lombardi Trophies since joining forces in 2005 and brought the Super Bowl to MetLife Stadium in 2014.
#12: Amy Adams Strunk, Tennessee Titans
Net Worth: $1.6 billion
Amy Adams Strunk is the daughter of the late founder and owner, Bud Adams, and she took over as controlling owner in 2015. Amy has brought stability and direction to the franchise as they have changed their uniforms, hosted the 2019 NFL Draft, and made the 2020 AFC Championship since she took over as controlling owner. Early indications are that her decision to replace Jon Robinson with Ran Carthon was a smart one and Mike Vrabel has become one of the best head coaches in the NFL.
#11: Terry Pegula, Buffalo Bills
Net Worth: $5.7 billion
Terry Pegula has only been the Bills’ owner since 2014. Still, he has already overseen the team’s end of its long-lasting playoff drought under the leadership of general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott. Pegula also negotiated a deal with New York State and Erie County for a $1.4 billion new stadium in Orchard Park across the street from the current stadium, which broke ground this summer. Fans will be thrilled to have the Bills in the Buffalo area for the foreseeable future.
#10: Public Shareholders, Green Bay Packers
Net Worth: N/A
The Packers are the only NFL franchise publicly owned, and despite the team playing in one of the smallest markets in the league, they have 13 championships, the most in NFL history, with nine pre-Super Bowl titles and four Super Bowl wins. The franchise is now entering a new era after Aaron Rodgers, but fans can take solace in the stability provided by president and CEO Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst, and head coach Matt LaFleur.
#9: Rob Walton, Denver Broncos
Net Worth: $59.8 billion
When Rob Walton purchased the Broncos for $4.65 billion in the 2022 offseason, he immediately became the wealthiest NFL owner by a significant margin. Per Bloomberg, Walton is the 18th-wealthiest person in the world. “New owner syndrome” hit hard with the aggressive trade for Russell Wilson, and while it didn’t pan out in the first season, it’s clear Walton is willing to spend big for a winner. He proved it again by making Sean Payton the second-highest paid head coach in professional sports.
#8: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Net Worth: $13.6 billion
The most famous owner in the NFL, Jerry Jones, has three Super Bowl championships as the team’s owner, although none since the turn of the century. Jones is also the general manager of the Cowboys, and he was named the Executive of the Year in 2014. Jones was instrumental in building one of the best NFL dynasties as the Cowboys won the Super Bowl following the 1992, 1993, and 1995 seasons. Jones has also helped boost the league’s financial success through innovative television rights structures, and he helped broker the deal that sent the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles. While Cowboys fans may be ready for the team to hire a full-time general manager, it’s impossible to discount Jones’s lasting impact on the league’s growth and success.
#7: Steve Bisciotti, Baltimore Ravens
Net Worth: $6.4 billion
Steve Bisciotti has taken more of a hands-on approach with the Ravens than some other owners, and it has gone tremendously well. Despite Brian Billick winning the Super Bowl as head coach one year after Bisciotti purchased his first minority stake, Bisciotti replaced him with John Harbaugh in 2007. Harbaugh has been an overwhelming success as head coach. The promotion of Eric DeCosta as general manager has also gone very well thus far.
#6: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons
Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Named by ESPN in 2021 as the Sports Philanthropist of the Year, Arthur Blank has worked hard to improve the city of Atlanta with his foundation for local at-risk youth and underserved communities. The Falcons made the Super Bowl in 2017, but Blank hasn’t hesitated to make significant changes to keep the team fresh and competitive. Blank hired Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith to lead the new era of Falcons football and things are looking up for this franchise on the whole.
#5: Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles
Net Worth: $4.4 billion
Since Jeffery Lurie purchased the Eagles in 1994, they have made the playoffs in over half of their seasons, won the division nine times, and appeared in the Super Bowl twice. Lurie’s Eagles won Super Bowl LII over the Patriots following the 2017 season. Hiring Howie Roseman as the team’s general manager has been a masterstroke as he has built a consistent winner and put the Eagles in an excellent position for the future. Lurie may not be the wealthiest owner in the NFL, but his ownership has seen consistent success in one of the highest-pressure markets in the country.
#4: Hunt family, Kansas City Chiefs
Net Worth: $15.3 billion
Clark Hunt became the chairman and CEO of the Chiefs in 2006 following his father’s death and Chiefs’ founder Lamar Hunt. Since the Chiefs hired Andy Reid as head coach in 2013, they have had ten straight winning seasons and have won the AFC West in seven consecutive years. The more recent hiring of Brett Veach as general manager in 2017 has proven massive for the team’s success as it has led to two Super Bowl championships and five AFC Championship appearances. With top-to-bottom organizational continuity and strong leadership from key individuals, the Chiefs are well-positioned for an extended period of success.
#3: Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles Rams
Net Worth: $12.9 billion
All he does is win. Stan Kroenke’s professional sports teams – the Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, and Los Angeles Guerillas of the Call of Duty League – have won five championships since the start of 2022. Kroenke has built his fortune in real estate and is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, who has a net worth of $9.1 billion of her own from the Walmart fortune. Kroenke also gets credit here for moving the Rams back to Los Angeles and coordinating the development of SoFi Stadium along with the Chargers.
#2: Art Rooney II, Pittsburgh Steelers
Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Like his father and grandfather before him, Art Rooney II has maintained one of the most stable, consistent franchises in professional sports. Rooney is the chair of the NFL’s Workplace Diversity Committee and has worked hard to provide opportunities for minority coaches and executives in the league. Since taking over the team in 2003, Rooney has hired general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin who have had long runs as arguably the best at their respective positions in the NFL. Colbert has since been replaced by Omar Khan, who has been an executive with the team since 2001. Regardless of personnel and other factors, the Steelers should continue to be a model franchise as long as the Rooneys are in charge.
#1: Robert Kraft, New England Patriots
Net Worth: $10.6 billion
One of the most famous owners in professional sports, Robert Kraft, has overseen a team with a 316-150 regular-season record, 33-16 playoff record, and six Super Bowls since he purchased the Patriots in 1994. Kraft is credited with hiring Bill Belichick as the team’s head coach and de facto general manager in 2000. Belichick has ushered in an era of dominance for the New England dynasty. In 2002, Kraft financed a $350 million stadium which eventually became Gillette Stadium, and built a $375 million district around the stadium known as “Patriot Place.” The Kraft Foundation has also been involved in incredible causes across education, child and women-related issues, healthcare, youth sports, and Israeli and Jewish causes.