I'm talking to you
In the last two weeks, there's been a lot of discussion about coaching strategy, player rankings, defensive schemes and offensive schemes.
There isn't a lot of discussion about the relative strength of the owners, and the decisions they make.
Some owners are very involved in their teams. Owners like Jerry Jones, and Al Davis (pictured here).
The owners don't play the game, but it is their ball.
And being a good owner is about more than just writing a check.
Here is a list of five owners who are not going to win another Super Bowl. Two of these owners have won multiple Super Bowls, but sometimes the challenges of success are greater than the challenges of failure.
There is no owner more closely associated with an NFL team than Al Davis.
Davis has been with the Raiders since 1962 when he was hired as head coach and general manager. His teams have appeared in five Super Bowls, winning three. From 1967 to 1985, his team won 13 division championships and made 15 playoff appearances.
In 2002, the Raiders went 11-5 and went to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since 2002, their best record has been 8-8. In that time, Davis has employed the following coaches: Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson.
Al Davis is one of three NFL owners who are also the general manager. And therein lies the problem. Davis has hired and fired too many coaches to have consistency, and his player personnel decisions seem inconsistent at best. Here are his first-round draft picks for past six years:
2010: Rolando McClain
2009: Darrius Heyward-Bey
2008: Darren McFadden
2007: JaMarcus Russell
2006: Michael Huff
2005: Fabian Washington
In that group, McClain, Heyward-Bey and McFadden have been good choices, but the quarterback and coaching carousel is wasting their effort.
The Raiders will return to glory, but not under Al Davis. For the Raiders to win another Super Bowl, Al Davis needs to sell the team.
Dan Snyder is a successful businessman who bought the team he loved as a child. It is the fantasy of every boy and every businessman.
There is no question that Snyder LOVES the Redskins and wants to bring a title back to Washington. However, the decisions he has made ensure it will not happen while he owns the team.
The record since he purchased the team is 86-106. Snyder has a habit of signing expensive free agents who don't perform, letting draft picks go and frequently changing coaches.
Some of the free agents and their costs are: Jeff George ($18 million), Jeremiah Trotter ($35 million), Dana Stubblefield ($56 million), Adam Archuleta ($35 million) and Deion Sanders ($56 million).
Coaches included Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn and Mike Shanahan.
The Shanahan era has not started well. There have been coach conflicts with Donovan McNabb, Albert Haynesworth and the release of Antwaan Randle El.
The strategy of signing expensive free agents has not worked, and the solution seems to be to continue to try and refine it. The challenge Snyder faces is that most teams are rebuilding through the draft and signing their own strong players while letting the marginal or the unhappy players go.
Snyder doesn't show signs of adapting to the building process over time, and it is very unlikely the Washington Redskins will win a title while Dan Snyder is the owner.
Sorry Buffalo fans.
Ralph Wilson was one of the original AFL owners. He started the Buffalo Bills in 1959 and personally saved the AFL from folding on more than one occasion.
Wilson is one of three owners who have continuously owned a team for more than 50 years. And the city of Buffalo has supported the team from four straight Super Bowl appearances, to their poor state of affairs now.
Marv Levy coached the Bills to four straight Super Bowls, but after Levy came Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron and Chan Gailey. The last coach with a winning record was Wade Phillips from 1998 to 2000 who went 29-19.
The problem with the Bills is money. They don't have stadium naming rights, they play in a small market with no national TV audience. Unless they can move to a major market, they're not going to get the funds to pay talent.
They are currently ranked 27th in terms of revenue. They should sell the naming rights to the stadium. Unless they take steps like this, their value will continue to decrease. And unless they can pay their talent, they're not going to win a title.
It is unlikely for Ralph Wilson at the age of 92 to move the Bills. He is one of the historic figures in the NFL. Wilson was the owner who postponed AFL games after the Kennedy assassination in 1962. He is truly a gentleman of the sport.
The sad fact of finance in sports is that unless he moves, the Bills won't be competitive.
As the general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones sure knows a lot about oil.
Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 and fired Tom Landry. Any Cowboy fan over the age of 45 still harbors some resentment about that. Jones brought in Jimmy Johnson and won Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was key component of those teams, and was drafted by Jimmy Johnson. After winning the second Super Bowl, Johnson and Jones publicly feuded and Johnson left. He was replaced by Barry Switzer who won another title, then he was replaced a year later by Chan Gailey.
After the debacle with Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones began to take a much more active role in all football decisions, and the result has not been very good. Chan Gailey was let go after an 8-8 season, Dave Campo posted three consecutive 5-11 seasons. Parcells came in and went 9-7.
After Parcells came Wade Phillips who went 13-3 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Jones built a new stadium, which hosted the Super Bowl. I saw it for the big game, and it was impressive. He did a nice job. But the access and egress is a nightmare, and I never need to see it again.
The Cowboys are built to be bigger than life, just like their owner. They mouth the sayings of winners and they mean it. But they're not very good. And until a new owner comes in and gets better players, they will continue to unpleasantly surprise fans.
The San Diego Chargers will never win the Super Bowl as long as Alex Spanos owns the team. Spanos bought the team in 1984. Since 1994, his son, Dean Spanos handles many of the daily operations.
There isn't a curse on them, but they have squandered the best talents of LaDainain Tomlinson, Shawne Merriman, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.
In 2006, the Chargers went 14-2 with Tomlinson rushing for 1,815 yards while setting a single season touchdown record with 31. They lost a playoff game at home to the Patriots, and the team management turned over the entire coaching staff—along with Drew Brees who was released because management thought his career was over.
General manager A.J. Smith, who is known around town as the "Lord of No Rings," fired Marty Schottenheimer, replacing him with Norv Turner.
The personnel decisions are confusing. The Chargers claim to want to win now. They have explosive talent, and the talent seems to have issues with management over and over again.
From Drew Brees, to Antonio Gates to Shawne Merriman. The conflict represents a larger issue over direction, and the consequence is a team that is not unified, and is concerned about their next move, not the next play.
Once Spanos sells the team, and the management culture changes, the talent is there for a title.