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Ranking the NFL Owners, Part II

This is the continuation of a ranking of owners based on their team accomplishments on the field since they became owners. Part I, ranking the first 15 owners, ran yesterday. Part II continues today with the last 15 owners, and these rankings are based on a combination of regular season records and post season accomplishments under each owner.

16. Dean Spanos, San Diego Chargers. Spanos took over for his father and has largely presided over a solid but sometimes disappointing era. He has stuck with GM A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner after consecutive disappointing seasons when the team was viewed as a Super Bowl contender and failed to make the playoffs (18 seasons, 51.0% win percentage, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, 28% of seasons in Final Eight).

17. Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints. Tom Benson is not always viewed favorably, though after flirting with relocation, he stayed in New Orleans, and the team has had a golden era until the recent off field issues. You might be surprised to know that the Saints have a winning record under Benson’s ownership, and had never made a playoff appearance or a winning season before he bought the team. It could be worse, Saints fans. (27 seasons, 51.3% win percentage, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, 15% of seasons in Final Eight).

18. Woody Johnson, New York Jets. Woody Johnson loves to challenge the Giants in the headlines and go after big stories. The Jets are never boring, we can say that much. The win percentage and playoff results puts him squarely in the middle of the pack, though. (13 seasons, 51.4% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 31% of seasons in Final Eight).

19. Jerry Richardson, Carolina Panthers. Richardson, the original owner of the Panthers when they entered the league, is a former player, and he still has a competitive streak as evidenced by last year’s negotiations during the lockout. (17 seasons, 46.0% win percentage, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, 31% of seasons in Final Eight).

20. Malcolm Glazer and the Glazer Family, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The owners of Manchester United bought the team and hired Tony Dungy, a positive, and the Bucs enjoyed a period of success culminating in a Super Bowl. In recent years, they have spent less than most teams and been very young, and the results have shown on the field. (17 seasons, 49.6% win percentage, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, 18% of seasons in Final Eight).

21. Bob McNair, Houston Texans. Bob McNair gets a slight adjustment because of the expansion factor, and under a similar analysis based on owner record would fare better in the future. Still, the Texans took longer than all but two expansion teams since 1961 to reach the post-season, even with more slots available. Discounting the first two seasons of the expansion franchise, he falls here. (10 seasons, 40.4% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearance, 10% of seasons in Final Eight).

22. Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings. Wilf finally got what he wanted in Minnesota in a new stadium after much wrangling and posturing. On the field, the Vikings have been largely a middling franchise, save for a run to the championship game in Brett Favre’s first year. (7 seasons, 48.2% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 14% of seasons in Final Eight).

23. Stan Kroenke, St. Louis Rams. Kroenke owns not only the Rams but also several other sports franchises including the Nuggets, though he recently “re-organized” ownership to his son Josh because of a rule against owning franchises in multiple cities in other sports. His Rams had a brief period of revival and reached two Super Bowls with the Greatest Show on Turf, but the past decade has been dreadful. I’m including the period where he was a part-owner as well, though since he became the majority owner things have been worse. (17 seasons, 42.3% win percentage, 2 Super Bowl Appearances, 24% of seasons in Final Eight).

24. Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals. Bidwill’s standing has improved in recent years with the opening of the University of Phoenix Stadium and the Cardinals’ competitive stretch with Kurt Warner at quarterback. He still ranks lowest on this list among owners who have had a team reach the Super Bowl because of all the bad years before, and he’s been the one in charge for a while. (40 seasons, 41.0% win percentage, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, 13% of seasons in Final Eight).

25. Stephen Ross, Miami Dolphins. Stephen Ross has had some public relations issues, from the botched Harbaugh hiring that led to extending Sparano, only to fire his head coach a half season later. He seems willing to spend big bucks, but not necessarily sure how to spend it. In year five, he hopes the turn to Packers offshoot Joe Philbin pays dividends. (4 seasons, 48.0% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 0% of seasons in Final Eight)

26. Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins. Based on personality and popularity, Snyder would probably rank lower. He’s low enough as it is based on the team performance since he took over, which has often led to offseason titles and regular season disappointment. (13 seasons, 43.8% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 15% of seasons in Final Eight).

27. William Clay Ford, Sr., Detroit Lions. Last year was great for the Lions. The previous 49 with the senior Ford in official ownership position, not so much with very few exceptions, and it’s hard to get the taste of the Matt Millen era out. The Lions were one of the feared franchises of the Fifties and early Sixties, but it’s been a while. The good news is that the team looks up as his role diminishes with age.  (50 seasons, 42.4% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 6% of seasons in Final Eight).

28. Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs. Clark Hunt still has plenty of time to improve his standing, but the first few years of the younger Hunt’s official ownership were some tough times. He made the decision to terminate Carl Peterson at GM and went and got Scott Pilot. (6 seasons, 37.5% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 0% of seasons in Final Eight).

29. Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals. Mike Brown is getting lots of love this year for the draft, and last year for the trade. Maybe this ranking should look different in a few years. Still, it’s hard to overlook the unprecedented lack of success in Cincinnati since Brown took over for his father. Since 1991, the Bengals have gone through some horrible stretches, and have never appeared in a Divisional Round with Mike Brown as owner. (21 seasons, 37.5% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 0% of seasons in Final Eight).

32. Randy Lerner, Cleveland Browns. Lerner, who took over the new Browns after his father’s death in 2002, hasn’t exactly been a success in the NFL to date. At least he also owns Aston Villa in the English Premier League as well. Cleveland’s only playoff appearance was in that first season. Lerner’s franchise has the lowest winning percentage of any active owner, excluding the two that just moved into the position. (10 seasons, 35.0% win percentage, 0 Super Bowl Appearances, 0% of seasons in Final Eight).

[photos via US Presswire and Getty]

 

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