By: Jonathan Eskin
On the heels of arguably the most boring Super Bowl in its history, fueled by superb coaching and defensive performances, punts galore, couple that in with a disappointing halftime show and abysmal commercials.
America was sleeping.
In fact, so boring, that football fan LeBron James’ took to Twitter, in the middle of the third quarter, and shook up NBA twitter with a push of a tweet. Upon the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, a nightmare was in full-effect.
The 13-3 win in Super Bowl 53 handed the New England Patriots their sixth championship ring, under the ownership of Robert Kraft, with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick orchestrating their genius powers during the reign.
Some feel Kraft, a Bostonian, could very well end up as the greatest owner of all-time. His team made the playoffs 18 times, won 18 division titles and 10 conference titles, in the 23 years the $6.2 billionaire has been in charge. Kraft is credited for saving football for his role in the 2011 NFL labor negotiations.
Undoubtedly, Kraft makes a strong case for the remarkable period of success. But, the Patriots’ owner aligns himself with formidable competition in a long list of greats and, well, not-so-great owners.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the best and worst owners of all-time from the four major sports.
Laker Girls during the 2009 Lakers’ championship parade.
Dr. Jerry Buss – NBA
“One of the biggest reasons I bought the Lakers was to beat the Celtics,” said former 10-time championship owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Under his leadership, the former real estate investor and chemist, finally achieved that pivotal feat and the NBA’s best record. Creator of the “Showtime” dynasty, world-famous Laker girls, and the glitz and glamour of the NBA, Dr. Jerry Buss turned the Lakers franchise into a juggernaut. The Lakers are an international brand with one of the highest team values in professional sports. One of the most liked owners, Buss always knew how to have a great time, while winning endlessly and, at everything.
Branch Rickey – MLB
Coming in just short of first place, Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey, a trailblazer for baseball. He broke baseball’s color barrier, signing icon Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player and drafted Roberto Clemente, the first Hispanic star big leaguer. Rickey had quite the foresight. He innovated the minor league farm system, the spring training facility, and a new line of research in sabermetrics, which analyses baseball statistics.
George Halas – NFL
One might expect Lamar Hunt, Al Davis, or Jerry Jones to appear next. If the Pro Football Hall of Fame has their drive named after an owner, deference should be made. The former Chicago Bears’ owner was instrumental in bringing the passing game to the grid iron, utilized film and the bird’s eye-view from the press-box, for scouting competitively. He even had hands in radio game broadcasting, helping advertisement, and supported the revenue-sharing model. Not only a successful owner, Halas was accomplished as a coach, too. Halas acquired 324 wins and brought home six NFL titles, in nearly 50 years with Da Bears.
Conn Smythe – NHL
A man of many talents with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Conn Smythe served multiple roles as owner, team governor, general manager, and coach for a few years, and that eventually paid off. Smythe saw his name engraved eight times on the Stanley Cup. Moreover, Smythe is so respected, each year a player that is named most valuable in the playoffs, is rewarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP.
Lifetime ban. Donald Sterling, former LA Clippers’ owner, charts No.1.
This could easily be an exhausting list, but I will keep it simple. Short and sweet for you.
Los Angeles Clippers
Ousted Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, takes home the belt for his racist antics, on and off the court and other transgressions involving sexual harassment and prostitutes.
In a neck and neck competition, versus Harry Frazee, who sent Babe Ruth packing to the New York Yankees, former Cincinnati Reds’ owner Marge Schott, hits her first homerun here. A supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, Schott didn’t mix words and consequently was banned for the MLB for two years.
Despite the typical ownership greed, Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins, has his cake and can eat it, too. Snyder, reluctant to change the team’s racy name, went so far as to write a letter to season-ticket holders for full support.
A button-up league, no one in particular, stands out, at the present time.
Each respective sport had their pioneer and rockstar owner, although Dr. Jerry Buss did it best and he did so, all the time. As Randy Newman puts it, after a win at a Laker game, “I Love L.A.”…”We Love It!”
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