You may think that the NFL is owned by a bunch of boring billionaires who buy sports teams for the power and publicity. Some of that is true. But many backstories behind NFL team owners are gripping.
Also, the NFL is so darn popular that their teams are owned by some of the richest people in the country. With that in mind, here’s a list of the ten richest NFL owners.
10. Janice McNair Net Worth, Houston Texans: $3.9 billion
The Texans are the youngest NFL franchise in the league — having played their first game in 2002. Robert McNair committed to the team and town in 1999 at a valuation of $700 million. According to Forbes, that number has jumped to $3.3 billion. Sadly, Bob McNair died in 2018, leaving the Texans to his wife, Janice, who owns 80% of the club. Their son, Cal McNair, runs the daily operations as CEO.
The Texans had some fun times starting 10 years ago, with the meteoric rise of JJ Watt — a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. They reached the playoffs in six of the last 10 seasons, but now they have cratered with the loss of Watt, the firing of coach Bill O'Brien and some bad draft classes. Their wildly talented quarterback, Deshaun Watson, is now besieged by accusations of inappropriate conduct with women. At least 21 women have joined a civil suit against Watson.
9. Stephen Biscotti Net Worth, Baltimore Ravens: $4.6 billion
The NFL has some star-crossed teams. The Baltimore Ravens used to be the Cleveland Browns, until they fled to Baltimore to replace the Baltimore Colts, the legendary team that fled to Indianapolis.
So, the iconic owner of the Browns, Art Modell, is loathed in Cleveland yet loved in Baltimore. Around 2000, Biscotti bought 49% of the Ravens from Modell, with the option to buy the rest in four years, for a valuation of about $600 million. The franchise is now worth $2.75 billion. Modell's Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2000 while Biscotti's Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2013. The Ravens are considered a model of NFL management this century, from the owner to the legendary GM Ozzie Newsome to the very capable head coach John Harbaugh.
8. Terry Pegula Net Worth, Buffalo Bills: $5.5 billion
Pegula is more than a distant billionaire who buys NFL teams in fits of vanity. The Bills were in a kind of financial purgatory, rumored to be leaving Buffalo for years after the death of original owner Ralph Wilson. Among the bidders to buy the team in 2014 were rock star Jon Bon Jovi and a real estate mogul named Donald Trump.
And then Pegula, a local businessman who also owned the NHL team Buffalo Sabres, bought the team with the promise that he would keep them in Buffalo, where they have played since Jack Kemp was their QB in the 1960s as part of the old AFL. He paid $1.4 Billion. The club is currently worth $2.05 billion.
7. Arthur Blank Net Worth, Atlanta Falcons: $6.1 billion
A true New Yorker who went to Stuyvesant High School, Arthur Blank co-founded a nice little franchise called Home Depot in 1978 and then bought the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 for $545 million. Now, the Falcons are worth $2.8 Billion. Some teams are toxic because they are owned by self-obsessed control freaks who meddle in football moves.
Others have better reputations as patient employers who empower the people they hire. Blank is allegedly one of the latter, someone anyone would like to work for. Sadly, Blank's decency has not rewarded him with a Super Bowl title. They got close once and led a Super Bowl 28-3 in the fourth quarter, only to blow the biggest lead in history — to Tom Brady and the Patriots, of course.
6. Robert Kraft Net Worth, New England Patriots: $6.6 billion
The most famous and fabulous football triumvirate over the last 20 years has resided in New England: QB Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and club owner Robert Kraft. They went to nine Super Bowls since 2000 and won six of them. That's how a team's value explodes from the $172 million Kraft paid for the Pats in 1994 to their current value of $4.4 billion. (Only the Cowboys are worth more.)
Brady left and just won a Super Bowl in his first year away from Foxborough, which makes Kraft and Belichick look a bit lost. But no matter what happens to this team, Kraft will get credit for turning it into the greatest NFL dynasty since Lombardi's Packers.
5. Stephen Ross Net Worth, Miami Dolphins: $7.2 billion
In 2008, Ross bought 50% of the Dolphins for $550 million. The next year he paid another $450 million to own 95% of the franchise. Most in the media and the masses think the Dolphins are up-and-comers, with a future franchise QB in Tua Tagovailoa, a boatload of draft picks, and a great young coach in Brian Flores. Miami has a rich football tradition, led by the legendary Don Shula, who coached the NFL's only undefeated team, the 1972 Dolphins (17-0).