This weekend is the NFL Divisional playoff round. It’s the best weekend of NFL football of the season, with the big-dog top seeds playing the plucky survivors of the Wild Card weekend.
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Before we begin with some facts and figures about the teams and their owners, here’s a “Power Rankings” list of the playoff teams, based solely on team value. Ready?
- New England Patriots (#2 on the Forbes NFL valuation list)
- San Francisco 49ers (#10)
- Indianapolis Colts (#11)
- Denver Broncos (#13)
- Seattle Seahawks (#15)
- Carolina Panthers (#18)
- New Orleans Saints (#23)
- San Diego Chargers (#25)
Now on with the show:
New England Patriots. Owner: Robert Kraft. Team value: $1.8 billion
I’ve profiled Kraft a few times (here and here). He’s been confident (and lucky) enough to run a franchise that is a model of stability (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick seem to have been around forever). Kraft is also very confident in his own athletic prowess (see this toss). Contrary to some reports, he and his family and business have nothing to do with the recent Velveeta shortage. Wrong Krafts!
Indianapolis Colts. Owner: Jim Irsay. Team value: $1.2 billion
Irsay is an owner who is beloved by his players. An example of why? He gave each and every one of them an Xbox One for Christmas this year. He is also beloved by the media, because he is the “untucked shirt in the buttoned-up world of NFL owners.” A sample: His recent Tweet of some of Neil Young’s strangest lyrics:
Ur such a beautiful fish,floppin on the summer sand…lookin 4 the wave u missed…when another 1 was close at hand…ur such a stupid girl.
Denver Broncos. Owner: Pat Bowlen. Team value: $1.161 billion
Bowlen has been a bit of a recluse lately, but he did make an appearance to argue that the city of Denver deserved to host a Super Bowl. I wholeheartedly agree. The more outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowls, the better. This year Bowlen reached 300 wins in just his 30th year as an owner. No NFL owner has reached that milestone faster than Bowlen did. Thanks Peyton!
San Diego Chargers. Owner: The Spanos family. Team value: $949 million
The big news for the upstart Chargers—who just barely squeaked into the playoffs—is that they manhandled the Cincinnati Bengals last week and will now face the #1-seeded Denver Broncos in Denver, a place where they won a game back in December. The bigger news? Dean Spanos, the team’s CEO, was hanging with Chargers superfan, Phil Mickelson, last weekend at the game.
Carolina Panthers. Owner: Jerry Richardson. Team value: $1.057 billion
Richardson is the only NFL owner who actually played the game. His career was short—he played two seasons as a flanker for the Baltimore Colts, collecting a grand total of 15 catches. But it was memorable. In the 1959 Championship Game he caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas.
San Francisco 49ers. Owner: Denise DeBartolo York. Team value: $1.224 billion
Denise inherited the team when her brother, Eddie, was caught up in the corruption mess of former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards. Eddie D., however, was in the stands for what was probably the last 49er game at Candlestick Park. He seemed to enjoy the game, but betrayed a lack of knowledge about the local beer scene. Anchor Steam’s are not twist-offs, Eddie.
Seattle Seahawks. Owner: Paul Allen. Team value: $1.081 billion
Paul Allen is all of the following: The 26th-richest person in the U.S.; the cofounder of Microsoft; a musician; a museum owner; a collector of awesome airplanes; one of the most generous philanthropists in the world and; the namesake of a flower fly. But he is not this: A championship-winning sports owner (He also owns the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers). What gift do you give a man who has nearly everything? A Super Bowl ring, of course.
New Orleans Saints. Owner: Tom Benson. Team value: $1.004 billion
Benson’s Saints earned their first-ever playoff win away from home last week, beating the Philadelphia Eagles. This stat seems like an oddity until you realize why Benson likes his home stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, so much. He has negotiated the most favorable stadium lease in the NFL, one that will bring in an additional $392 million in the next 11 years.
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My book about former TD Ameritrade CEO-turned-football coach, Joe Moglia: “4th AND GOAL: One Man’s Quest to Recapture His Dream.”
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