The Broncos’ sale for a record $4.65 billion to an investment group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton is now official, having been approved by all 32 teams. Walton, whose $62-billion net worth makes him the league’s richest owner by far and among the wealthiest human beings on Earth, either doesn’t watch much football or has never heard Roger Goodell’s name said out loud, as evidenced by his regrettable gaffe Tuesday, repeatedly mispronouncing the commissioner’s name at his introductory press conference.
I’ll take “Awkward First Impressions” for $600, Alex! While Walton’s blunder can’t inspire much confidence in his ability to run an NFL franchise, it’s also not the end of the world. In fact, Walton’s relative lack of football knowledge may actually work to his benefit, suggesting he won’t be the type of meddling owner that concerns himself with day-to-day operations. The best owners are typically able to strike a healthy balance, providing the resources necessary to produce a successful on-field product while still giving the coaching staff and front office room to breathe, leaving personnel decisions up to those with actual NFL experience.
Whether Walton sees his purchase as a vanity project (the NFL has long been the playground of bored billionaires, disguising status symbols as "investments") or a chance to leave a lasting legacy, the buzz around Denver is tangible with fans in the Mile High City excited to see newcomer Russell Wilson finally make the Broncos relevant again.