there has been a lot of talk today about greatest sports owners with news of the death of Jerry Buss who owned the Lakers. I know Al takes a lot of heat on this board but IMO he has to be rated in the top ten of all time greatest sports owners if not higher. Steinbrenner, Buss and Rooney from the Steelers top the list but Al Davis could be slotted in anywhere after those 3. A lot of people would say Kraft in NE but I wouldn't put him ahead of Al. Green Bay is publicly owned and I don't know who the owners are of the Celtics and the Red Sox but they are both great organizations. DeBartlolo was a cheater but he was a great owner and Jerry Jones had a nice run but hasn't had the longevity Al had. I may put Al behind the original Dodgers owner but all in all I don't think I would rate the old man any lower than 6.
In my opinion and it may be biased, Buss is the best owner ever. He's always done the unimaginable and getting what he wants putting together championship teams year after year. Al is very high on my list as well, but it does depend on what categories you focus on that makes them a great owner.
Buss was a great owner. He parlayed a 67 million dollar investment into a billion dollar organization. Al's biggest failure if you want to call it that was his inability to get a new stadium built in LA or Oakland. I just don't know how much of that was his fault. He has to take a big share of the responsibility but nor all of it. If his son is able to get a new stadium built it will go a long way towards restoring some glory to the family name.
Al is in the top 3 spots based on a few solid facts:
1. He was the first to be bold enough to break the racial barrier and hire who he felt could make his team a winner.
2. Al supported the football players, he showed himself to be a humanitarian and never publicized his charitable actions to the public. He showed himself to be a real person even if the general public despised him.
3. Al was a winner and created a winning organization that had achieved more success percentage wise than many if not majority of all sports owners in sports history. The percentages after 11 season of super subpar performances still stand stronger than most franchises in the sports world.
3 is pretty high but I don't think it's unrealistic. Al was a pioneer but a lot of people downplay his accomplishments because of the sorry state the team has been in over the last decade. No doubt the organization has been horrid lately but Al is a big reason the NFL is the multi billion dollar industry it is today.
Jerry Buss was the worlds Premiere owner. Al was one of the great NFL owners and a legend for his lifetime accomplishments. The Raidrs became a trademark team in the NFL like the Cowboys had become. A team part of the lore of the glory years of the league.
Jerry always insisted him team be in the limelight and went after any player he could to make sure the roster was stocked to compete for a championship. Lakers not being in the playoffs is unheard of,
I really don't consider Buss a top 3 owner....neither Stienbrenner for that fact. They both bought organizations that already had made a mark not only in thier respective sports but american popular culture. It's like me buying coke-a-cola today. In 30 years it will still be going strong if I just let it be and let the company run itself. How much credit would I deserve for that? Not a Dodger fan but I put the O'Malley's as the greatest team owners in professional sports. Al comes in second possibly third.