Money men (cont.)
Posted: Monday July 2, 2007 12:15PM; Updated: Monday July 2, 2007 4:42PM
2. Jerry Jones (Stephen Jones), Cowboys
Keeping up with the Joneses is about to become that much tougher for the rest of the owners. When the Cowboys' $1 billion stadium in Arlington opens in 2009, it promises to be the sweetest and most profitable outdoor facility in the land, what with its state-of-the-art architectural touches, sliding roofs and playing fields, monstrous video screens, tricked-out club areas (which players pass through on their way to the field). It'll have a seating capacity of 80,000 for regular season games and more than 100,000 for Super Bowls -- beginning with Super Bowl XLV in 2011, which Jones helped the region land in May. (Jerry's eldest son, Stephen, the team's executive vice president, spearheaded the stadium deal.)
The best thing for Cowboys fans is that Jones will take much of the money that comes pouring in and put it back into his product. He'll do the same with the extra cash he didn't have to pay his former coach after Bill Parcells blinked first last January and resigned without a buyout. (Yeah, I know it wasn't reported that way, but it was a staredown, and Jones won.)
Things haven't been as bountiful on the field for the Cowboys lately as they were in the '90s, but it's not because Jones isn't trying. Besides, how cool is a boss who encourages his emerging-star quarterback to live it up off the field?
3. Jerry Richardson (Mark Richardson), Panthers
Charlotte is a small market, but you'd never know it from the way Richardson runs his business. Unlike so many of his sniveling peers, Richardson doesn't whine about his potential revenue disadvantages. Instead, he finds a way to make it work financially while fielding a habitually competitive team.
While Mark, Jerry's second-eldest son and the team's president, expertly handles the bulk of the Panthers' day-to-day operations (and helped nail down a lucrative naming-rights deal with Bank of America in '04), his dad does a great job representing the team on a league level. It was Jerry, the co-chair of the commissioner search committee (along with the Steelers' Dan Rooney), who expertly drove that process in a way that left no owner feeling disenfranchised. By reaching out and soliciting the input of so many of his peers, Richardson helped ensure that everyone felt good about Goodell's selection. That widespread base of support is already paying off for the new commissioner as he beefs up the league's disciplinary policies.
4. Bryan, Joel and Ed Glazer, Buccaneers
While their father, Malcolm, suffered a pair of strokes and is no longer involved in day-to-day operation of his businesses, the Glazer brothers have honored his legacy as a smart businessman who was willing to spend big money to compete at the highest level. Rather than fight amongst each other for control, as we've seen happen in other situations of this nature, Bryan, Joel and Ed have pulled off a smooth transition at a difficult time.
The Bucs backslid badly on the field in '06, and onetime Golden Child Jon Gruden could lose his head-coaching job if there isn't marked improvement this year -- a sign that the Glazers aren't getting complacent after finally winning their first Super Bowl five years ago. Last year they upgraded the Bucs old training facility -- a glorified trailer next to a jumbo-jet landing strip -- by opening a gorgeous facility that measures nearly 150,000 square feet (or the size of the typical Tampa gentleman's club).
Meanwhile, the family that was roundly blasted in the UK upon acquiring Manchester United two years ago is presiding over a bloody good show: United just won the Premier League and the brand has never been hotter. (While Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms and possibly Jake Plummer battle it out to see who runs the Bucs' flailing offense, there's no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo is The Man for Man U.)