In any successful NFL franchise, there are a handful of key actors who contribute in various ways. The head coach organizes the players, the quarterback leads the team on the field, the training staff makes sure the players stay healthy and in shape, and a wide range of business professionals handle the financial aspects of the team. The owner is in charge of overseeing all of that, and the quality of ownership often reflects the team’s ability to succeed on the field. This article highlights the best and worst owners across the NFL as we enter the 2022 season.
#32: Dan Snyder, Washington Commanders
Net Worth: $2.6 billion
Man, where do we start with Dan Snyder? On the football side, his impatience has led to repeated ill-advised offseason moves, such as the aggressive trade for the right to draft Robert Griffin III that hamstrung the franchise for years. Snyder has also cycled through an absurd ten head coaches since taking over the team in 1999, with only six playoff appearances in that span. Snyder has been miserable for the Washington organization outside of the on-field product. The seemingly never-ending accusations of sexual assault, misconduct, and a toxic workplace have resulted in legal interest from high-level entities. It only seems like a matter of time before Snyder is forced to sell the team.
#31: Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns
Net Worth: $3.8 billion
After approving the Browns’ aggressive trade for Deshaun Watson amidst his several sexual assault civil cases, Jimmy Haslam’s legacy is irreversibly linked to the future of a quarterback who’s playing status remains very much in flux. The Browns traded multiple first-round picks and offered Watson $230+ million in fully guaranteed money. Haslam’s Browns have a terrible record of 52-103-1 since he bought the team seven games into the 2012 season, and that won’t improve if Watson can’t play this season. Haslam has also successfully alienated Baker Mayfield, the team’s only quarterback to win a playoff game since 1994, as he said he wants an “adult” at the quarterback position. Haslam may have put this team in an unrecoverable position moving forward.
#30: Dean Spanos, Los Angeles Chargers
Net Worth: $2.4 billion
The Dean Spanos situation is finally reaching a boiling point as the owner has been sued by his sister for claims of repeated breaches of fiduciary duty and misogynistic behavior. Of course, Spanos rebutted those “false charges,” but it wouldn’t be shocking given the owner’s reputation for being petty and past squabbles with star players LaDanian Tomlinson and Joey Bosa. Famously, Eli Manning refused to go to the Chargers in the draft in 2004 due to ownership concerns. SoFi Stadium is arguably the best live football experience in the NFL, and the Chargers are poised for continued success with Justin Herbert and a roster loaded on both sides of the ball. However, Chargers fans would likely not mind Spanos being replaced, especially after he left San Diego fans in the dark with their move to Los Angeles.
#29: 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. Janice’s son Cal McNair is the current chairman and CEO and handles the day-to-day. Sadly, the team has been one of the worst in the league recently, and the Deshaun Watson situation has provided a dark cloud over the franchise. The pending lawsuits against the Texans over their involvement in covering up Watson’s behavior are likely to also derail the coming years. The firing of Bill O’Brien and the hiring of the team’s new staff was a step in the right direction, but the McNair family must take some blame for the atrocious state of this franchise at the moment.
#28: Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Net Worth: $925 million
Son of Bengals co-founder Paul Brown, Mike Brown has drawn his fair share of criticism since assuming ownership after his father’s death in 1991. As one of the least wealthy owners in the league, Brown has consistently refused to shell out excessive money in free agency, which has led to the team’s struggles over the years – in 2008, the team set the record for most games needed under one specific owner to attain 100 wins (288). Brown has also repeatedly been overly tolerant of negative off-field conduct and overly loyal to struggling executives and personnel. Brown’s refusal to hire a full-time general manager or a large scouting and personnel staff. The team’s small scouting staff wasn’t overly detrimental to their ability to land Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, who led the team to the Super Bowl last year, but Brown could hamper the future of this current core as a terrible owner.
#27: Woody and Christopher Johnson, New York Jets
Net Worth: $6.3 billion
The Jets are staring down an 11-year playoff drought as they have a 63-114 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. The Adam Gase era was short-lived and disastrous, but the hope is that Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas can finally bring that stability to the franchise they have lacked for so long. Woody’s return as the team’s chairman after serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom under former president Donald Trump will hopefully help bring back some direction to the organization.
#26: Mark Davis, Las Vegas Raiders
Net Worth: $500 million
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 73-104 record and two playoff appearances, both of which were Wild Card losses. To Davis’s credit, he helped orchestrate the franchise’s move to Las Vegas, which should be massive for their financial success. However, the on-field product has suffered, and the ignominious departure of Jon Gruden last year just four years into a ridiculous 10-year, $100 million contract left the team in bad shape. Rumors of cash-flow issues will hopefully be resolved by the team moving to Las Vegas, and the addition of Josh McDaniels as head coach should help. Still, the Raiders find themselves in one of the toughest divisions in modern history with a roster featuring massive holes left behind by the previous regime.
#25: Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars
Net Worth: $8.5 billion
Shahid Khan is one of three NFL owners born outside of the United States of America. He was featured on the front cover of Forbes magazine in 2012, associating him as the face of the American Dream. However, Khan’s Jaguars have struggled since he took over as owner in 2012. The Jaguars have just one winning season since then and have a 42-119 record overall. Khan has given far too long of a leash to failed coaches and executives such as Gus Bradley, Doug Marrone, Tom Coughlin, and David Caldwell, and the Urban Meyer experiment last year was an utter failure. Khan needs to do a better job surrounding Trevor Lawrence with the people who will help him succeed, and hiring Doug Pederson looks like a strong start.
#24: Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts
Net Worth: $3 billion
Jim Irsay was just twelve years old when his father, Robert Irsay, purchased the Baltimore Colts in 1972, and he has been a part of the Colts’ staff since 1982. He assumed day-to-day management of the franchise in 1995 after his father suffered a stroke, and he later 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. Irsay’s questionable decisions in his personal life have landed him in the headlines more than once, as well.
#23: 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. In July 2018, Bidwill drew ire from fans on social media as he announced support for his longtime friend and former Georgetown Prep classmate Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice nominee despite explicitly instructing his players not to speak publicly about political issues. Bidwill can also be criticized for his lasting loyalty to general manager Steve Keim. He has struggled to build a strong roster despite having Kyler Murray, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, on a rookie contract. The Cardinals will have to pay Murray a massive extension soon, and it’s tough to have confidence in their roster-building once that contract is on the books.
#22: Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins
Net Worth: $8.2 billion
A few months ago, Stephen Ross might have ranked higher here. Still, the investigation regarding the mishandling of the Brian Flores situation has drawn some unwanted negative attention to the franchise. According to the class-action lawsuit, Ross offered Flores a $100,000 bonus for every game he lost in the Dolphins’ 2019 season and set up Flores to meet with a “prominent quarterback,” likely Deshaun Watson. The NFL has publicly denied all allegations. Outside of this current situation, Dolphins fans should be thrilled with Flores’s commitment to keeping the team in the area with their renovated Hard Rock Stadium. Chris Grier has also helped transform the Miami roster from one of the worst in the league since becoming the general manager in 2016.
#21: David Tepper, Carolina Panthers
Net Worth: $15.8 billion
While he’s the second-wealthiest owner in the NFL, David Tepper’s team hasn’t had much success since he purchased the Panthers in 2018. Carolina has had four straight losing seasons since 2018, including three consecutive five-win seasons in the last three years. The Panthers’ lease at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte expired after the 2018 season, but Tepper has yet to make any significant announcement about the team’s plans. Tepper has remained committed to keeping the team in the Carolinas, and his approval would certainly decrease among fans if he moves the team. Tepper’s hires of GM Scott Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule are firmly on the hot seat entering this season, and he may have a big decision to make on that front.
#20: Gayle Benson, New Orleans Saints
Net Worth: $3.8 billion
Following the death of her husband Tom Benson in 2018, Gayle Benson became the principal owner of the Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. Benson is the first woman to be the majority shareholder of the voting stock in both an NFL and NBA franchise and is one of ten female NFL principal owners. 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. The Halas McCaskey family decided to fire Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy this offseason, with Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus replacing them as general manager and head coach, respectively.
#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, and they would have likely lasted much longer under Ford Hamp’s parents. In turn, the Lions brought in an impressive group of football minds to help hire Brad Holmes and Dan Quinn, who have the franchise in a much better position than it was just a couple of years ago. Ford Hamp’s involvement on and off the field has been a significant change of pace for the franchise, and the energy around this team is palpable.
#17: Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings
Net Worth: $1.3 billion
Born in West Germany, Zygi Wilf’s parents are Polish Jews and Holocaust survivors from Nazi-occupied Poland. Wilf has made his fortune in real estate and has been a steady NFL owner. Wilf was integral to the Vikings lobbying for their new U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in July 2016 on the site of the former Metrodome. Wilf made his first significant staffing decision this offseason when he fired general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer who had been there since before he purchased the team. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell were pegged as the organization’s future, and they will help dictate Wilf’s future perception as an owner.
#16: Glazer family, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Net Worth: $4.7 billion
While the Buccaneers can certainly thank Tom Brady for choosing to sign with them before winning the team a Super Bowl, the ownership of the Glazers helped make that possible. Bryan, Edward, and Joel helped lay the foundation as co-chairmen, and their continued faith in general manager Jason Licht paid off as he was able to build one of the strongest rosters in the NFL. The team’s playoff drought from 2007 to 2020, Brady’s first season with the team, featured six different head coaches and three general managers. It will be fascinating to see if the team can maintain its current stability even after Brady retires, likely following this season. In the meantime, the Glazers can continue to enjoy their Super Bowl competitive team.
#15: 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 also previously owned the Portland Trail Blazers, and Jody now owns them as well. Paul’s trust dictates that the sports franchises be sold upon his death. Still, Pete Carroll confirmed publicly that he has received no indication from Jody that she is entertaining a sale in the immediate future. May 2, 2024, is the date to watch here as the Seahawks would no longer have to turn over 10% of the gross sale price to the state of Washington after that date, per the Public Stadium Authority. In the meantime, Jody Allen will keep the Seahawks steady under solid management from Caroll and general manager John Schneider.
#14: 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 tenure has had its fair share of ups and downs as his dispute with Jim Harbaugh tarnished his image as Harbaugh had led the team to a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl berth through four seasons. Replacing Harbaugh with Jim Tomsula, who had a 5-11 record in his year as head coach, further hurt his perception. However, the hirings of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have helped the team move into a new era with two NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance in the last three years. York has done a better job in recent years of taking a hands-off role and has paid dividends.
#13: Amy Adams Strunk, Tennessee Titans
Net Worth: $1.3 billion
Amy Adams Strunk is the daughter of the late founder and owner, Bud Adams, and she took over as controlling owner in 2015. Before that shift in leadership, the Titans had been controlled by Susie Adams Smith and her husband Tommy Smith, who was the team president and CEO. 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. The hire of Jon Robinson as general manager, one of her first moves, has proven to be a great decision, and Mike Vrabel has become one of the best head coaches in the NFL.
#12: 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. Hiring Beane and McDermott with their pre-existing friendship and experience proved to be a brilliant choice. 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 fans were thrilled about. Pegula’s ability to negotiate a 30-year iron-clad lease and the financial commitment of the State were awe-inspiring.
#11: 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. Green Bay’s president and CEO, Mark Murphy, who was voted in by the board of directors, has done a great job of keeping this team competitive year in and year out. Murphy has overseen two of their four Super Bowl championships. The recent hirings of general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have been very successful as the Packers have made the playoffs with three-straight 13-win seasons since LaFleur was hired in 2019.
#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. The Giants have fired four coaches and two general managers in the past seven years, and the ownership remained overly committed to Dave Gettleman despite repeatedly displaying questionable decision-making and poor roster construction. 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. While the team hasn’t been as successful in recent years, fans should have hope with the new regime and the ability of Mara and Tisch to oversee top-level competitors.
#9: Rob Walton, Denver Broncos
Net Worth: $57.3 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. The heir of the Walmart fortune, Rob Walton has a car collection valued at more than $300 million and now adds one of the most prominent sports franchises in the country to his collection. With new quarterback Russell Wilson, head coach Nathaniel Hackett, and general manager George Paton, the Broncos have experienced a seismic shift in their leadership over the past two years, and the future of this storied franchise looks very bright with Walton at the top.
#8: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Net Worth: $9.1 billion
Perhaps 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: $5.7 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 had a limited track record with just one year as a defensive backs coach and several as a special teams coach, but Harbaugh has been an overwhelming success as head coach. Bisciotti was fortunate enough to purchase a team with Ozzie Newsome as its general manager, but the promotion of Eric DeCosta to replace him has gone very well.
#6: Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons
Net Worth: $7.2 billion
Named by ESPN in 2021 as the Sports Philanthropist of the Year, Arthur Blank has worked hard to improve the city of Atlanta through his ownership of the Falcons and Atlanta United of Major League Soccer. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has done great work with at-risk youth and underserved communities in the area. 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, the first black general manager in team history, in 2021. Fontenot hired head coach Arthur Smith to help lead the new era of Falcons football. Atlanta’s rebuild will likely take multiple years, but that won’t keep Blank from being one of the best owners in the sport.
#5: Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles
Net Worth: $3.5 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. Andy Reid had a long run of success in Philadelphia as the head coach and de facto general manager. The quick pivot to Howie Roseman as general manager has paid dividends. He has built a consistently winning team 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 nine straight winning seasons, with eight of those resulting in a playoff appearance, and they have won the AFC West for six consecutive years. The more recent hiring of Brett Veach as general manager in 2017 has proven massive for the team’s success as they have made the AFC Championship four straight years and the Super Bowl in two of those years. 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: $10.7 billion
Stan Kroenke is on top of the world right now with three championships over the last four and a half months between the Rams, Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, and Colorado Avalanche of the NHL. 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. The Rams have become the ire of the NFL for their ability to hand out backloaded contracts to superstar players and build up the top-end talent on their roster – Kroenke’s willingness to spend has enabled their roster construction. 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: $500 million to $1 billion (conflicting reports)
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 position in the NFL. This offseason, Colbert was replaced by Omar Khan, exec 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: $8.3 billion
One of the most famous owners in professional sports, Robert Kraft, has overseen a team with a 308-141 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. It would be shortsighted to not at least mention Kraft’s previous indiscretions here, but I’m still hard-pressed to pick anyone else as the best owner in the NFL.