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As the National Football League (NFL) season kicks off tonight, America's favorite sport will once again dominate TV coverage until the Super Bowl in February. In 2022, the NFL's revenue was nearly $12 billion, and it's only set to increase this season.
Here at Town & Country, we were curious about the exclusive group of very, very wealthy people who get to call themselves NFL team owners."There are very few sort of sure things and golden tickets in American capitalism," Mark Leibovich, author of Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times, told the Washington Post. But an NFL team is as close to a sure thing as you can get: it means "you're printing money."
Without further ado, a guide to the principal owners of the 32 NFL teams, in alphabetical order by team name:
Arizona Cardinals: Michael Bidwill
Ownership history: His grandfather, Charles Bidwell, bought the Cardinals in 1933. His father became sole owner in 1971, and he inherited the team from his father in 2019.
Other career highlights: He practiced law as a federal prosecutor for six years in Phoenix, Arizona.
Fun fact: He was a ball boy for the team when he was young.
Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Blank
Ownership history: He purchased the Falcons in 2002 for $545 million.
Other career highlights: He co-founded Home Depot!
Fun fact: He owns another Atlanta team, the Atlanta United, a men's soccer team in the MLS.
Baltimore Ravens: Steve Bisciotti
Ownership history: He purchased 49% of the Ravens in 2000 for $300 million, and then the remaining 51% in 2004 for $600 million.
Other career highlights: He founded Aerotek, an aerospace and technology staffing company, and co-founded the Allegis Group, a talent management firm.
Fun fact: He graduated from Salisbury State University with a liberal arts degree.
Buffalo Bills: Terry and Kim Pegula
Age: 72 (Terry) and 54 (Kim)
Ownership history: The Pegulas purchased the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion.
Other career highlights: Terry made his fortune via investments in natural gas and oil. (He sold East Resources in 2010 for an estimated $6.5 billion.)
Fun fact: Their daughter, Jessica Pegula, is the top-ranked American women's tennis player in the world right now.
Fun fact #2: They also own the Buffalo Sabres, a men's hockey team, the Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks, lacrosse teams, and the Rochester Americans, another men's hockey team (an affiliate of the Sabres).
Carolina Panthers: David Tepper
Ownership history: He bought the Carolina Panthers in 2018 for $2.2 billion.
Other career highlights: He is the founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund.
Fun fact: He describes himself as "just a regular upper-middle-class guy who happens to be a billionaire."
Chicago Bears: Virginia Marion Halas McCaskey
Ownership history: She inherited the Chicago Bears from her father, Bears founder and owner George Halas.
Other career highlights: Her entire career has revolved around the Bears franchise.
Fun fact: She turned 100 on January 5, 2023. As of 2014, she was the oldest owner in the NFL—and all major sports leagues in the U.S., for that matter. As of 2019, she was the longest-tenured owner in the NFL.
Fun fact #2: She has 11 children and more than 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Brown
Ownership history: He inherited the team after his father's death in 1991, but his dad, Paul, didn't own the majority—in 2011, Mike purchased an additional 30% of the team's shares for $200 million, giving the Brown family a majority.
Other career highlights: He has spent most of his career working for the franchise.
Fun fact: He played football for Dartmouth College.
Cleveland Browns: Dee and Jimmy Haslam
Age: 69 (Dee and Jimmy)
Ownership history: The Haslams purchased the Browns for $1.05 billion in 2012.
Other career highlights: Jimmy is CEO of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain; Dee is the founder and executive producer of RIVR Media.
Fun fact: They are also majority owners in MLS club Columbus Crew, and co-owners of the NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks.
Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones
Ownership history: He purchased the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million.
Other career highlights: In the 1970s, he started an oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas.
Fun fact: He's one of very few NFL owners who has played football (successfully)—he played for the University of Arkansas in college.
Denver Broncos: S. Robson "Rob" Walton
Ownership history: In 2022, he led an ownership group to purchase the Broncos for $4.65 billion, the most expensive sale of a sports franchise in history. His daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and his son-in-law, Greg Penner, are handling day-to-day ownership duties.
Other career highlights: He is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and served as Walmart chairman for 23 years.
Fun fact: He collects antique cars, including 12 Ferraris.
Detroit Lions: Sheila Ford Hamp
Ownership history: She took over principal ownership from her mother, Martha Firestone Ford, in 2020. Her dad, William Clay Ford, Sr., purchased the team in 1963.
Other career highlights: Sheila was largely a stay-at-home mom to her three sons, and when Martha took over the Lions in 2014, Sheila was by her mom's side.
Fun fact: She descends from the Ford and Firestone families. Her paternal great-grandfather is Henry Ford and her maternal great-grandfather is Harvey Samuel Firestone.
Fun fact #2: She played tennis for Yale, and was in the first class of women to attend the Ivy League school.
Green Bay Packers: Green Bay Packers Inc.
For the last century, since 1923, the Packers have been publicly owned. There are around 5.2 million shares, and no one is allowed to hold more than 200,000 shares. As Sports Illustrated writes, "This isn’t your average stock. There’s no profiting off shares. No lucky Green Bay fan will get rich off the team’s next Super Bowl win because the stock pays no dividends and isn’t tradeable or saleable."
Houston Texans: Janice McNair
Ownership history: She inherited the team from her husband, Bob McNair, upon his death in 2018. Her son, Cal McNair, is the CEO and day-to-day head of the Texans.
Other career highlights: She is a philanthropist, and serves as director of various McNair family foundations.
Fun fact: She has 4 children, 16 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
Indianapolis Colts: Jim Irsay
Ownership history: He inherited the Colts from his father in 1997.
Other career highlights: He has worked for the Colts since graduating college, and has spent time in departments ranging from ticket sales to PR.
Fun fact: He has a band, the Jim Irsay Band, and a collection of famous guitars.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Shahid Khan
Ownership history: He purchased the team for $770 million in 2011.
Other career highlights: He designed a one-piece truck bumper that was successful, and purchased his former employer, auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate.
Fun fact: He arrived in the U.S. from Pakistan at age 16 with just $500. He's now the wealthiest Pakistani person in the world.
Kansas City Chiefs: Clark Hunt
Ownership history: The Hunt family owns the Chiefs, and has since the team's founding in 1960. Clark is the chairman and CEO, representing his siblings.
Other career highlights: He worked as an investment banker for two years.
Fun fact: His mom, Norma, attended every single one of the first 57 Super Bowls—the only woman to do so. She passed away this year.
Las Vegas Raiders: Mark Davis and Carol Davis
Ownership history: Mark and his mom, Carol, inherited the Raiders (then the Oakland Raiders) from Al Davis (his dad, Carol's husband) in 2011.
Other career highlights: He was involved in the retail side of the Raiders, and invented the muff-style hand warmer that players use when it's cold.
Fun fact: He also owns the Las Vegas Aces, a WNBA team.
Los Angeles Charges: Dean Spanos
Ownership history: He inherited the team from his father, Alex Spanos, in 2018.
Other career highlights: He is CEO of the A.G. Spanos Companies, an apartment developer.
Fun fact: He played golf in college at the University of the Pacific, and still loves the sport.
Los Angeles Rams: Stan Kroenke
Ownership history: He joined the Rams as a minority owner in 1995, and purchased a majority share in 2010 for $450 million.
Other career highlights: He is a real estate developer, and is married to Ann Walton, a Walmart heiress (who is a cousin of Nuggets owner Rob Walton).
Fun fact: He has owns a bunch of other sports teams, including Arsenal F.C. (Premier League), the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Colorado Rapids (MLS), Colorado Mammoth (National Lacrosse League). The Nuggets and Avalanche are in his wife Ann's name.
Miami Dolphins: Stephen M. Ross
Ownership history: He purchased the Dolphins for $1 billion in 2008.
Other career highlights: He's a real estate developer, perhaps best known for the Hudson Yards project.
Fun Fact: He's a major donor to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, where the business school was renamed after him in 2004.
Minnesota Vikings: Zygmunt "Zygi" Wilf
Ownership history: With partners Mark Wilf (his brother) and cousin Leonard Wolf, he purchased the Vikings for $600 million in 2005.
Other career highlights: He worked as an attorney, and in his family's real estate business Garden Commercial Properties.
Fun fact: He was born in West Berlin in 1950; his parents are Holocaust survivors.
New England Patriots: Robert Kraft
Ownership history: He purchased the Patriots in 1994 for $175 million, after buying Foxboro Stadium in 1988.
Other career highlights: He worked in paper and packaging, founding International Forest Products and taking over the Rand-Whitney Group.
Fun fact: He grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family, and was unable to participate in sports growing up because of religious observance.
New Orleans Saints: Gayle Benson
Ownership history: She became the principal owner following the death of her husband, Tom Benson, in 2018.
Other career highlights: She started Gayle Benson Interiors, an interior design firm, in 1975.
Fun fact: She is the first woman to own both an NFL and an NBA team.
New York Giants: John Mara and Steve Tisch
Ages: 68 (Mara) and 74 (Tisch)
Ownership history: Their families have co-owned the team, and they both inherited their stakes. Tim Mara, John's grandfather, purchased the team in 1925, and Bob Tisch, Steve's father, purchased 50% of it in 1991.
Other career highlights: Mara worked as a lawyer, specializing in labor and employment law. Tisch is a filmmaker, producing movies including Forrest Gump.
Fun fact: If "Mara" sounds familiar: John is Rooney and Kate Mara's uncle. The actresses are of two football families: Their dad's family founded the Giants, and their mom's family founded the Steelers (see below).
Christopher Johnson and Woody Johnson
Ages: 64 (Christopher) and 76 (Woody)
Ownership history: Woody purchased the team for $635 million in 2000.
Other career highlights: The brothers are heirs to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune.
Fun fact: When Woody was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom by President Donald Trump in 2017, his brother, Christopher, became a co-owner. In 2021, Woody took back over day-to-day principal owner duties, but Christopher is still involved.
Posing here with new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jeffrey Lurie
Ownership history: Lurie purchased the Eagles for $185 million in 1994.
Other career highlights: He was an assistant professor of social policy, and worked for his family's film company, General Cinema Corporation. He also founded production company Chestnut Hill Productions.
Fun fact: He has a PhD in social policy from Brandeis; his thesis was on the depiction of women in Hollywood.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Art Rooney II
Ownership history: He inherited the team from his father, Dan Rooney, in 2003.
Other career highlights: He's basically worked for the Steelers his entire career. He's also a lawyer.
Fun fact: He's a third-generation NFL owner; his grandfather, Art Rooney Sr. founded the team.
San Francisco 49ers: Jed York and Denise DeBartolo York
Ages: 72 (Denise) and 42 (Jed)
Ownership history: Denise's father, Eddie DeBartolo, purchased the team in 1977. She and her husband, John York, took control from her brother, Edward Jr., in 2000. Her son, Jed, is the team's CEO.
Other career highlights: Jed was a financial analyst before joining his parents at the 49ers.
Fun fact: They also own Leeds United.
Seattle Seahawks: The Paul Allen Trust / Jody Allen
Ownership history: After Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, died in 2018, the team was owned by the estate of Paul Allen, of which his sister Jody is trustee and executor.
Other career highlights: She cofounded the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 1990.
Fun fact: It was thought that the Trust would sell the Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, which Allen also owned, but in 2022, Jody said "neither of the teams is for sale and there are no sales discussions happening. A time will come when that changes given Paul's plans to dedicate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropy, but estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down. There is no pre-ordained timeline by which the teams must be sold."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Glazer Family / Bryan Glazer
Ownership history: His dad, Malcom Glazer, purchased the team in 1995 for $192 million. Upon Malcolm's death in 2014, his six children became the owners, with Byran as the point person.
Other career highlights: He is also a lawyer.
Fun fact: The Glazer family also owns Manchester United.
Tennessee Titans: Amy Adams Strunk
Ownership history: She inherited a third of the team from her father, Bud Adams, in 2013. A third went to her sister, and another third went to their late brother's family. Her sister was initially controlling owner for two years, but Amy took over in 2015.
Other career highlights: She founded Kenada Fox Hounds, a fox hunting organization. She was also a directer at the oil and gas company KSA Industries.
Fun fact: Fans apparently call her "Mom," according to a Forbes profile. She said, "Fifty percent of our fans are women. Even though we’ve never played the game, that doesn’t mean we don’t know the game. And we have some unique perspectives on reaching women that we can bring to the table."
Washington Commanders: Josh Harris
Ownership history: Harris led a group to purchase the Washington Commanders (formerly the Redskins) this year for $6.05 billion.
Other career highlights: He founded private equity firm Apollo in 1990.
Fun fact: He is also managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the New Jersey Devils (NHL).
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