Very rich people have very expensive hobbies. Make no mistake, the owners of NFL teams are very rich and they also have some pretty interesting hobbies. When a person buys an NFL franchise, it is because they want a new hobby. They are sports fans with tons of expendable cash that are looking for a new fun thing to do on Sundays. So their new hobby becomes their new professional franchise. This hobby is basically the equivalent of playing fantasy football in your free time, only for multi-millionaires.
However, for a few of the NFL’s owners, owning their own sports franchise is not their only form of entertainment. Like most of us, they do not consume their time doing just one thing. They enjoy multiple activities such as traveling or golfing. The only difference between the average Joe and these people is the amount of dollars they have to dedicate to what they like to do in their free time.
Most NFL owners cite running their team as their favorite hobby. However, a few admit to having other off the field hobbies. This list shows what some of those owners like to do in their free time. They are organized in a simple fashion, ranging from the tame to the incredible. The more interesting the story is behind their hobby, the higher they rank on the list.
10. Carol Davis: Reading?
Ok, so this one isn’t so crazy, but bear with us. Carol Davis is the widow of Oakland Raiders long time owner and founder Al Davis. When Al passed away in 2011, the team was passed on to Carol and the couple’s son, Mark. Throughout Al and Carol’s 55 years of marriage, Al always thought of his wife as the toughest and smartest member of the entire Raider family. Carol Davis is a voracious reader. She spends most of her time consuming current events news or curled up with one of the classic pieces of English Literature. The amazing thing about her hobby is that in 1979, she suffered a stroke that caused her to go into a 23-day coma. Despite the health issues, Carol’s short and long term memories are both very much intact, and her reading may have gone a long way to ensure that. Who else besides a multi-millionaire has time for leisure reading these days anyway?
9. Jed York: Playing Cards
Jed York is the current owner and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers. In 2008, York was given the position of CEO from his parents who were the owners of the team. Jed is actually the nephew of the 49rs long time owner Eddie DeBartolo, who built the team’s dynasty in the 1980s. According to the official website of the 49ers, Jed enjoys traveling, fishing, and playing cards in his free time. Bet he’s lost a grand or two at the poker table.
8. Mark Murphy: Embracing The Great Outdoors
Mark Murphy has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Green Bay Packers since 2007. Prior to becoming the team’s CEO, Murphy was a defensive back for the Washington Redskins from 1977 to 1984. He actually recorded a game changing interception in Washington’s 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. After his playing days were through, he began working in a number of different positions in the NFL front office. According the Packers’ official team website, their CEO enjoys going fishing, golfing, and bicycling when he is not busy at work. What the site fails to mention is the extravagant places he is undoubtedly about to perform these activities.
7. Tom Benson: Owning Car Dealerships
Ok, this is where the list starts to pick up. Tom Benson purchased the New Orleans Saints in 1985. During his first offseason as an NFL owner, he brought in a new general manager and head coach. Those men were Jim Fink and Jim Mora who led the Saints to their first winning season and playoff appearance in the team’s history. Prior to become the owner of the team, Benson made a living as a successful car dealership owner. He began operating dealerships in the 1950s in San Antonio. Today, he owns multiple Chevy dealerships throughout the New Orleans and San Antonio areas which still preoccupy his time away from the NFL.
6. Jeffrey Lurie: Producing Films
Jeffrey Lurie is the CEO and owner of the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to becoming the team’s owner, Lurie was a major film producer. His work includes Sweet Heart Dance, I Love You To Death, and Firefox; as well as the 1996 television series Malibu Shores. After purchasing the Eagles in 1996, his dedication to the film industry decreased. However, he got back into it in 2009. Now he tends to spend his free time recording and producing documentaries. His 2010 documentary, Inside Job, won the academy award for best documentary of the year.
5. Robert C. McNair: Horse Racing
Robert (Bob) C. McNair is the owner and founder of the Houston Texans. He purchased the rights to starting an NFL franchise in 1999 and the Texans became an expansion team in 2002. Not only is he a football fan, but McNair is also an avid fan of horse racing. He is the owner of Stoneside Stables, a 1,947 acre ranch dedicated to breeding, training, and racing thoroughbreds. His horses have won him 59 victories at the Grand Stakes over the years. McNair currently has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion.
4. Alex Spanos: Professional Golf
Alex Spanos has been the majority owner of the San Diego Chargers since 1984. After a short stint as a United States gunner in World War II, Spanos attended college at the University of the Pacific. While in school, he lettered in track and field as a sprinter and in swimming and diving. After graduation, he became one of the top rated amateur golfers in the United States. He still spends most of his afternoons playing a round of 18 holes. He is the only person to be on a winning team in both the Bob Hope Desert Classic and the Bob Hope British Pro-Am. Spanos won the Desert Classic in 1977 and then the British Pro-Am in 1980.
3. Steve Tisch: Collecting Art
Steve Tisch is the Chairman and Executive VP, as well as 50 percent owner, of the New York Giants. He achieved these positions in 2005 after his father, former Giants’ co-owner Bob Tisch, passed away. Tisch is known as major art collector in the United States. Over the years, his collection has become so large that he had to replace his private tennis court with a 4,000 square foot building dedicated as his person art gallery. Tisch tends to collect American Modernist pieces as well as works from some of today most popular artists. His collection features works from Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keefe, Vija Clemins, John Baldessari, David Hockney, and Robert Mapplethorpe.
2. Jim Irsay: Collecting Guitars
Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay is known as a rock and roll and guitar freak. His father, Bob Irsay, bought the team when Jim was only 12 years old. In 1997, Bob passed away and it sparked a major legal battle for the team’s ownership between Jim and his mother. After winning the legal struggle, Jim became the NFL’s youngest owner at just 37 years old. Irsay started listening to rock and roll and playing the electric guitar at a young age. It is rumored he brings his guitars everywhere with him. According to team officials, when the Colts travel, Irsay can be heard strumming away in his hotel room at all hours of the night. He owns several guitars from famous musicians such as George Harrison and Elvis Presley. His prized guitar is Jerry Garcia’s custom built guitar, “Tiger”, which Irsay purchased for $850,000.
1. Paul Allen: Collecting Yachts
Paul Allen is the multi-billionaire owner of the Seattle Seahawks. He purchased the team in 1997. He is most famous for being the co-founder of Microsoft along with his former partner Bill Gates. Allen has a wide range of investments aside from the Seahawks and has an estimated net worth of over $15 billion. Like, Irsay, Allen is also a major fan of the electric guitar. He has been featured on the cover of music magazines with his Fender Stratocaster. He is also known for being a fan of buying some of the world’s most lavish mega-yachts. His yacht, “Tatoosh”, is one of the world’s 100 largest mega-yachts. However, in 2013 Allen outdid himself. He purchased “The Octopus”. “The Octopus” is a 414 foot yacht that ranks fourteenth of the list of world’s longest mega-yachts. “The Octopus” is equipped with a swimming pool, music studio, basketball court, two helicopter pads, and two submarines.