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Raiders’ Davis passes away at 82: The new longest-tenured owners in the NFL
After the unfortunate passing of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis on Saturday, Oct. 8, many players, personnel, and fans following the NFL mourned over the loss of a pioneer in the league. A part-owner of the Raiders since 1966, Davis was the principal owner and managing general manager of the team for over 40 years. With the unfortunate death of a brash and controversial figure, here's a list of the longest-tenured owners in the NFL.
5. Virginia Halas McCaskey, Chicago Bears, 1983
The team that takes over the Davis's spot as one of the longest-tenured owners in the NFL is McCaskey and the Bears. The eldest child of legendary Bears coach and owner George Halas, McCaskey became the owner of the team after her father's death in 1983. It was actually set for McCaskey's brother, George Halas Jr., to become the heir apparent of the franchise, but a heart attack in 1979 made McCaskey, who now controls 80% of the team, the primary owner of the Bears
4. Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals, 1972
The sole owner of the team since 1972, Bidwill is also the chairman of the board of the Cardinals. Originally a part-owner of the team from 1962 to 1972 with his brother Charles Bidwill Jr., the brothers acquired ownership of the team after their mother's death in 1962. Out of all 32 NFL franchises, only the Bears and New York Giants have been controlled by one family longer than the Bidwill family, who has owned the Cardinals since 1932.
3. William Clay Ford, Sr., Detroit Lions, 1964
The youngest grandchild of Henry Ford, Chairman William Ford purchased sole ownership of the Lions from previous owners Edwin Anderson and D. Lyle Fife for $4.5 million. Ford also sat on the Ford Board of Directors for 57 years and has only seen his team make the playoffs nine times since buying ownership of the Lions.
2. Ralph Wilson, Buffalo Bills, 1960
The oldest owner in the NFL at age 92, Wilson was one of the founding owners of the American Football League and helped bring a professional franchise to the city of Buffalo. Previously a minority owner for the Lions, Wilson chose Buffalo over cities like Miami and Cincinnati, capping off his decision with the famous telegram, "Count me in with Buffalo." Since the original naming rights of the Bills' current stadium expired in 1998, Buffalo's home has been known as Ralph Wilson Stadium and the owner himself has turned down many naming rights for the stadium.
1. Bud Adams, Tennessee Titans, 1960
As a charter member of the AFL, Adams was one of the eight original AFL owners with his Houston Oilers. An oilman from the Lone Star State, Adams seeks to bring an NFL expansion franchise to Houston but instead found his opportunity in the AFL. Although they joined the AFL at about the same time, Adams is a few months ahead of Bills' owner Wilson for the senior owner by time in the NFL.
*The Green Bay Packers have been a publicly owned, non-profit corporation since its inception in 1923 and are not owned by one primary owner.
Arizona Cardinals Team History, Pro Football Hall of Fame
Detroit Lions Franchise Encyclopedia, Pro-Football-Reference.com
Texan millions are behind the American Football League, Sports Illustrated
The most at-risk sports teams, MSN Money
Tennessee Titans Team History, Pro Football Hall of Fame
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