The NFL has an ownership problem.
The fact that the money keeps pouring so teams can’t lose money regardless of how poorly they are run has obscured the fact that some owners don’t know how to even field competitive teams.
The best example, of course, is Washington owner Dan Snyder, who took one of the best teams in the league and ran it into the ground. Having a bad team in Washington is not good for the league.
And then there is a more recent owner, Carolina billionaire David Tepper, who made a deal to build a facility in Rock Hill, S.C, only to have the deal collapse. And he hired Matt Ruhle in 2020 and signed him to a seven-year deal and then fired him this year before he even finished his third year. Signing him to a seven-year deal made no sense in the first place.
But the best example will be on display Sunday when the Colts face the Raiders. Both teams have sons of owners, Mark Davis of the Raiders and Jim Irsay of the Colts, who have their franchises going in the wrong direction.
Irsay had a good run when he had Bill Polian as general manager and Peyton Manning as his quarterback and Tony Dungy as his coach. But it has fallen apart since then. Dungy decided to retire after the 2009 season and Irsay fired Polian after Manning missed a season with a neck injury and the Colts went 2-14 in 2011. Polian had seemed to lose his drafting touch in the later years.
The team got the first draft pick and took Oliver Luck and Irsay sent Manning packing and he went to Denver and went to two Super Bowls. Luck was a good player but never made the Super Bowl and was plagued by injuries and retired after the 2018 year. He was with the team seven years and sat out a year with an injury.
Since then the Colts have had a revolving door with stopgap veteran quarterbacks, including Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan the last three years. Irsay got tired of Ryan’s inconsistent play and ordered coach Frank Reich to play Sam Ehlinger. After two losses, he fired Reich. And then he hired former coach Jeff Saturday to finish out the year.
No matter that Saturday’s coaching career was three years of high school ball. The move has made the Colts and Irsay a laughingstock and who knows where the team will go from here. Look for the losing to continue.
Meanwhile, Davis get a new stadium in Las Vegas, but the honeymoon appears to be over. Davis decided to hired Jon Grudenin 2018 and gave him a 10 years contract.He was fired in 2021 after inappropriate emails to former Washington executive Bruce Allen surfaced. David promoted Rich Bisaccia to the head job and he went 7-6 the rest of last season.
But instead of giving him a shot, Davis hired Josh McDaniels from the Patriots even though he flopped as a head coach in Denver and once accepted the head job in Indianapolis and then reneged and forced the Colts to scramble for a replacement after the Super Bowl.
The results have been what you would expect. Under McDaniels, the Raiders have blown not one, not two but three 17-point leads and are 2-6 while the Colts are 3-5-1.
One of the teams will win Sunday’s game unless there is a tie, but the future is bleak for both teams.
As long as Irsay and Davis own these teams, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
And the NFL will be a loser because it will have to deal with two more non competitive teams.
As it is, seven AFC teams and eight NFC teams have losing records.
The NFL is showing ownership counts and they don’t have enough good owners who know how to run a franchise.