The Worst Owner if the NFL, no secret here. Al Davis
Think hard: Since the Raiders were blown out in Super Bowl XXXVII by the Bucs (and then-coach Jon Gruden, whom Davis dealt to Tampa Bay after failing to offer him a market-value contract extension), has he or Matt Millen been worse at running a team? Itâ€™s a tough call, and thatâ€™s scary. Now, sources say, Davis once again has cash-flow issues. In a July interview with team play-by-play announcer Greg Papa of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Davis said he was scaling back on grandiose birthday-party plans because he didnâ€™t want to flaunt his good fortune in a bad economy. â€œWhat a joke that was,â€ says another owner. â€œHe has no money â€“ heâ€™s trying to sell another 10 percent of his team to raise working capital. Thatâ€™s what that was about.â€
If I was Michael Silver, I would just retired #32 for Al Davis. After he gives up ownership of the Raiders, you donâ€™t become the worst owner in the league, you are just labeled Al Davis. As a Denver Broncos fan, I hope he keeps control of this team until heâ€™s 140 and then pulls a Walt Disney and leaves instruction on who to draft from the grave.
This one hurts if you are Cincinnati Bengals fan where Mike Brown is rated the second worst owner in the game.
Itâ€™s hard to put Brownâ€™s philosophy in its proper context, but hereâ€™s a loaded attempt: Heâ€™s the 21st centuryâ€™s answer to a Communist Party bigwig in the Soviet Unionâ€™s heyday â€“ gaming a system steeped in shared revenues for his own benefit while setting new standards among his peers for brazen laziness. Says one owner: â€œAnything thatâ€™s going to force him to do any extra work, he speaks out against it.â€ In recent months, Brown voiced opposition to the leagueâ€™s moves to allow teams to cut sponsorship deals with state lotteries and hard-liquor providers and to sell advertising decals on practice jerseys. When Saints owner Tom Benson asked for a waiver on club-seat revenues to help fund improvements at the Superdome â€“ part of an admirable transformation that has pushed him away from his usual spot at or near the bottom of these rankings â€“ Brown was the lone Grinch in the meeting room. â€œItâ€™s a great American story, Tom Benson defying the skeptics and keeping the Saints in New Orleans, and [expletive] Mike Brown speaks out against it,â€ the same owner says. â€œMeanwhile, the guy has the best stadium deal ever. It was completely built for him and he has no operating expenses. He probably makes more money than any of us.â€ Nonetheless, Brown repeatedly advocates for additional handouts from his larger-market peers via revenue-sharing and spends as little of it as he can get away with on employees.
He does get some credit for not changing the Bengals helmets. I still think they are one of the greatest in pro sports. Other than that, Iâ€™m not so sure. The stories of the Brown familyâ€™s thriftiness is legendary (like being the only team in the league that doesnâ€™t serve breakfast for players).
There is some good news. Tom Benson has risen up a couple of spots to No. 22 for his efforts to keep the Saintâ€™s in New Orleans.
Benson, who clearly had a wandering eye even before Hurricane Katrina hit, responded to the disaster by recasting his legacy. â€œItâ€™s hard for me to say this, because Iâ€™ve seen him say and do so many stupid things, but Tom Benson has been terrific,â€ says one longtime critic among his peers. â€œWhen everyone assumed heâ€™d use Katrina as an excuse to line his pockets, maybe he viewed it as an opportunity to prove people wrong.â€ Last week Louisiana lawmakers approved a deal with Benson that will keep the team in New Orleans through at least 2025 and initiate improvements to the Superdome which, blessedly, should put New Orleans back in the Super Bowl rotation.
Okay, Bensonâ€™s ranking is the only one I canâ€™t agree with. He is doing what the Bush administration could not do and this is make a tangible effort at rebuilding New Orleans.
This one hurts Denver Broncos fans everywhere. Pat Bowlen has a really bad off-season and slips to #17.
After years of relative stability and smart, league-friendly stewardship, Bowlen had what seemed to be the ownerâ€™s equivalent of a midlife crisis this past winter after the Broncos blew a playoff berth with a late-season collapse. First Bowlen fired longtime coach Mike Shanahan and replaced him with then-32-year-old Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Bowlen then allowed McDaniels to hire another neophyte, Brian Xanders, as his handpicked general manager. To say the newbies had a rough start was an understatement. In April McDaniels tried to trade 26-year-old franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, lost the playerâ€™s trust and acted as though damage control was beneath him, creating an untenable situation that finally prompted Bowlen to deal Cutler to the Bears. After Cutler successfully pushed his way out of town by alienating the owner, star wideout Brandon Marshall attempted to do the same and was miffed when the strategy didnâ€™t work. Heâ€™s currently under suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Talk about a Rocky Mountain Low. Through it all Bowlen has been wishy-washy and weak, admitting during the Cutler saga that heâ€™s been having short-term memory lapses. (That might also explain why Marshallâ€™s agent, in June, said Bowlen had told the receiver in a one-on-one meeting heâ€™d deal him while McDaniels insisted the Broncos had no such plans.) Bottom line: Iâ€™m worried about Bowlen. Heâ€™s only 65, but he appears awfully confused about the direction of his team. Oh, and hereâ€™s the capper to a horrid offseason: When Bowlen fired Shanahan, his coach and de facto GM, he wasnâ€™t aware that a league rule required him to post a deposit for the balance of the outgoing employeeâ€™s contract. â€œSo he had to give the league $21 million in cash,â€ one owner says. â€œSurprise.â€ Ouch, babe.
And here is a season where Bowlen is reportedly taking a more hands on approach with his team. Personally I think he fired Shanahan because he just couldnâ€™t fix the defense and there were a lot of questionable coaching calls made over the last couple of years that cost not only games but playoff berths. The other thing is that Shanahan spent Bowlenâ€™s money like it was going out of style. Itâ€™s fine if you are Jerry Jones and it is your own money but when it is the bossâ€™s money, they tend to get a little tense and uptight at you blowing their millions on players who donâ€™t work out year after year after year.
We all know the Kraft family is going to be number 1 but number 2 is Jerry Jones
But if I were a Cowboys fan, Iâ€™d get down on my knees and thank the football gods for sending Jerry and his family to North Texas, and none of you will ever convince me otherwise. Among his many recent accomplishments: Jones, as chairman of the NFL Network, joined forces with Goodell to settle a long-running dispute with Comcast after successfully demonstrating that customers would cancel their cable service if denied access to the channel. Said one rival owner: â€œYouâ€™ve got to give it up for Jerry. The stadiumâ€™s spectacular. Four words: Big vision, big testicles.â€
Canâ€™t wait until next year and if Silver is correct, Bowlen wonâ€™t remember that this list was even published in a week and Mike Brown may be too lazy to read it.
Comments? Anything he missed?