Being the majority owner of an NFL team is a special thing. After all, only 32 people can do it at one time, and it’s not something that can be done with the coins you find in your cushions. The price of an NFL team has soared over the years, but some owners from a different era are still holding on. It’s a mix of young rich people and, well, old rich people. Here are the 32 majority owners in the NFL, ranked from the youngest to the oldest. Some teams have multiple majority owners. For those, we will go with the oldest majority owner.
McCaskey, unsurprisingly, is the oldest owner in the NFL, and at 96 she is one of the oldest owners in sports full stop. You may recognize the name Halas. Yes, she is the daughter of George Halas, the legendary coach and owner of the Chicago Bears. The chairman of the team is currently George Halas McCaskey, one of Virginia’s children. He may be in line to be the next owner.
Detroit is the Motor City, and Martha Ford is a perfect example of that. Her maiden name is Firestone, as she is the granddaughter of the founders of Firestone tires. Her late husband is William Clay Ford Sr., of Ford Motor Company fame. When he died he left the Lions to his wife, and she’s continued on as the owner since 2014.
Bill’s father, Charles, bought the Chicago Cardinals back in 1933. He died in 1947, and his widow, Virginia, moved the team to St. Louis in 1960. Then when she died, Bill and his brother, Charles Jr., became owners. Bill bought out his brother in 1972 and has owned the team outright since. He spearheaded the move to Arizona back in 1988. Bidwill is currently the longest-tenured owner in the NFL.
You know Paul Brown? The guy the Cleveland Browns are named after? He went on to found the Cincinnati Bengals, and Mike is his son. Mike has owned the Bengals since his father died, and he also installed himself as general manager. It’s a role he still has, for all intents and purposes, even if he has ceded some responsibilities as he’s gotten older.
This situation is a bit fresh and chaotic. Bob McNair owned the Texans until he died in November of 2018 at the age of 81. His widow, Janice, and his son Cal are now listed as owners. They don’t even have their own Wikipedia pages. Janice’s age is not listed anywhere online, but she did apparently graduated college in 1959. As such, we are estimating that she is about 81 years old.
Ross is a Detroit native, and he went to college at the University of Michigan, a school that he has poured a ton of money into. However, it’s the Miami Dolphins where he staked his money, perhaps because the Lions weren’t for sale. Ross’ ties to the Wolverines have led to multiple rumors over the years that Jim Harbaugh will someday coach the Dolphins if and when he returns to the NFL.
If you were wondering, no, Kraft didn’t get his money from Kraft Foods. He made his billions in that convoluted way a lot of people do where they have money in real estate and private equity and all that stuff. He’s a hero in New England, and not just for the success the Patriots have had over the last 20 years. When Kraft bought the team, he basically kept it from moving cities.
If you follow football at all, you know Jones. He’s made himself one of the prominent faces of the NFL. He’s not just the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, but he’s also served as their GM for years. They call the massive stadium he built in Dallas “Jerry World.” For decades, Jones has helped shape the NFL, for better or worse.
Blank co-founded Home Depot, which helped make him quite the wealthy man. He’s owned the Atlanta Falcons since 2002, and he’s often seen on the sidelines during games. Blank combines the enthusiasm of Jerry Jones with a little less egomania over his ability to run a football team. He also owns Atlanta United of MLS, which won the league title in its second season.
Bowlen was a beloved figure in Denver. He bought the team in 1984 and served as its CEO through 2014. He presided over the runs of John Elway and Peyton Manning, not to mention three Super Bowl wins. Alas, Bowlen began to succumb to Alzheimer’s disease around 2014 and passed away in June of 2019. His death is so recent that the future of the franchise is still up in the air.
It’s fitting that the Johnson brothers are the co-owners of the New York Jets, given that they are the great-grandsons of one of the founders of Johnson & Johnson. That old money stayed around long enough for them to buy the Jets in 2000. Right now, Woody is serving as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom, leaving his younger brother, Christopher, to handle more of the football decisions.
Tom “Boogie” Benson was a key figure in New Orleans sports. He helped keep the Saints in town after Hurricane Katrina and then brought it the New Orleans Pelicans, nee Hornets, as well. However, Benson died in 2018. His wife, Gayle, inherited both the Saints and the Pelicans upon his death, making her an owner in two sports.
Kroenke owns a ton of land and real estate. He’s also married to Ann Walton, an heiress of the Walmart fortune. Kroenke owns the Los Angeles Rams, and he previously owned the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. However, NFL laws wouldn’t allow him to own the Avs and Nuggets if he wanted to own the Rams. It must have been tough for him to part with those teams, which he sold to…his wife.
This is the only instance of members of separate families being co-owners of an NFL franchise. Tisch is the one who is 70. His father, Bob, was the co-owner of the Giants as well, passing it on to his son. However, Tisch had had a lot of success as a film and TV producer, including producing “Forrest Gump.” Mara, who is 64, is a third-generation owner of the Giants. He’s also the uncle of Rooney and Kate Mara.
John York was a cancer research pathologist, a noble profession. Then he married Denise DeBartolo, who happened to be the daughter of Eddie DeBartolo Sr., who owned the San Francisco 49ers. When Eddie died, his son, Eddie Jr., took over the team, but then Denise and her husband took over the team. While they technically still own the Niners, they have ceded total control of operations to their son, Jed.
Wilf, who was born in Germany, turned his family’s real estate business into a gigantic success, making himself a billionaire in the process. He then used that money to buy the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately for Wilf, he took over as owner right before the infamous “party boat” scandal in 2005. You can look up that on your own time if you want. It’s NSFW.
With around $6.9 billion to his name, Khan is the richest person of Pakistani origin in the world. He owns Fulham in English soccer, is a co-founder of the wrestling organization AEW and, germane to this article, is the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. You know how the Jags play in London every year? Khan is a big reason for that. He also has an impressive mustache.
Alex Spanos, a real estate developer, bought the then-San Diego Chargers in 1984. He owned the team until he died in 2018. Now his son Dean is the principal owner. Also, the team is now in Los Angeles. At least Alex lived to see that come to fruition.
Terry and his wife, Kim, who is 50, own the Buffalo Bills together. This is different than Terry’s ownership of the Sabres, which is a solo endeavor. Maybe Kim isn’t a fan of hockey? The Pegulas also have a daughter Jessica, who is a professional tennis player. It’s quite the sporting family.
Lurie does more than just look like Lorne Michaels. He’s also the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lurie actually has a doctorate in social policy and worked as an assistant adjunct professor for a time. Then he got into business and became a billionaire, and now he has a Super Bowl ring.
Much like John Mara, Rooney II is NFL royalty. His grandfather Art Rooney Sr. founded the Steelers in 1933. He passed the team on to his son Dan, who passed it on to the younger Art Rooney. Also, like Mara, Rooney II is the uncle of Rooney and Kate Mara.
Both Jimmy and Dee, who have been married since 1976, are 65. They are also both billionaires individually, though they have worked in each other’s businesses quite a bit. The main family business is Pilot Flying J, a chain of truck stops. The Haslams had to pay $92 million after fraud charges were brought up against them by the FBI. Despite that, Jimmy and Dee still own the Cleveland Browns, who are finally turning things around.
We have to throw an asterisk on this one. The Packers are, famously, the only publicly owned major sports franchise in the United States. Stockholders, of which there are many, own small shares of the team. This is no longer possible in the NFL, but the Packers were grandfathered in. For age purposes, we are going with the age of Mark Murphy, the current president of Green Bay Packers, Inc. The former safety was elected to the position.
Bud Adams, founder of the Houston Oilers, was vital in creating the American Football League. He then moved his team to Tennessee and renamed it the Titans. When Bud died in 2013, initially his two daughters and the widow of his late son each got a third of the team. Susie Adams Smith was the de facto controlling owner, but turmoil led to Amy Adams Strunk taking over. Smith sold her shares in 2017, and Strunk is safely ensconced as owner for now.
We’re going with Mark Davis’ age, because Carol’s age is not readily available, and also Mark is the face of the Raiders these days. He is the son of the legendary Al Davis. Davis was one of the faces of the old NFL. He owned the team and served as both the general manager and head coach at different times. For better or worse, he had charisma and panache. His son doesn’t quite seem cut from the same mold, and his wife, Carol, is rarely if ever seen. But at least they managed to move the team to Las Vegas.
Allen may not be the owner of the Seahawks for long, and she’s only sort of the owner at present. Seattle’s football franchise was owned by Paul Allen, Jody’s brother, until his death in 2018. Jody is the executor of Paul’s estate, which means she has taken control of the Seahawks as well as the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. For now Allen is at the helm, but the team could end up elsewhere depending on how the finances shake out and on her interest in potentially owning an NFL franchise.
Jerry Richardson, who owned the Carolina Panthers, was the only owner in the NFL to have played in the league. He was also a problematic figure, which helped expedite the process of him selling the team. Tepper, a hedge fund manager, stepped right in to bid $2.2 billion on the team, a record price. He can afford it. Tepper is worth a reported $11.6 billion. Once he gave his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, $67 million. The dude likes to splash his cash.
Jim’s father, Robert, infamously bought the Baltimore Colts and moved them to Indianapolis under the cover of night. Bob Irsay made his son, Jim, the general manager in 1984, and then Jim took over day-to-day operations after his father had a stroke in 1995. After the elder Irsay died, Jim and his stepmother fought for control of the team. Jim won the battle and became the then-youngest owner in the NFL at the age of 37.
Art Modell, who famously moved the Browns from Cleveland to Baltimore, renaming them the Ravens, turned himself into a bit of a villain in the process. There are likely no hard feelings in Cleveland for Bisciotti, who bought the team from Modell in 2004. Well, first he got 49 percent of the team in 2000, and then in 2004 he got the rest of the ownership stakes from Modell. Bisciotti made his money co-founding Aerotek.
Want to know how much NFL team prices have soared? When Malcolm Glazer bought the Buccaneers in 1995, he paid a then-record $192 million. Now you have to pay multiple billions of dollars to get a franchise. Glazer died in 2014, though, leaving the Bucs, and his controlling interest in Manchester United, to his children. Joel Glazer is the one member of the family who is a co-chairman of both Man U and the Buccaneers, so he seems like he’s got the most sway. Also, he’s the only one with his birthday listed in Wikipedia.
The NFL, as you can tell from reading this article, skews older in terms of its owners. As such, the fact that Snyder is “only” 54 makes him something of a spring chicken. Of course when he bought the team in 1999, he was extremely young for an NFL owner. His tenure as the owner of Washington has been quite controversial for many reasons, including the fact that despite years of backlash, he refuses to entertain changing the team’s nickname.
Lamar Hunt, who was from an oil family, founded the Kansas City Chiefs and then the Dallas Texans. He was a founding member of the AFL and reportedly came up with the name “Super Bowl.” He also was vital to the founding of the MLS and owned three different MLS franchises in his life. When Lamar died in 2006, his son Clark took over as the primary owner.
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