NFL franchises are individual organizations that function as independent legal entities. Comissioner Roger Goodell made this clear during the latest legal trouble involving Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.
Some thrive because they are in unison with their head coach. Others falter because of the decisions made as a business. Meanwhile, some flail because of the culture an owner himself creates.
Here are three teams that are bad because of their owners.
#3 - Shad Khan
Unlike the other two owners on this list, Shad Khan doesn't have notoriously shady characteristics. Khan is a virtuous person who just doesn't make good decisions while in charge.
Khan has insisted on keeping general manager Trent Baalke in charge of the front office. This decision has alienated fans who feel he is intentionally sabotaging the team in order to facilitate a move to London for the franchise. Financially, that'd be a boon for everyone involved, except for the loyal fans in Jacksonville, who have been cheering for a sub-par product since the new millennium.
More specifically, since Khan took over in 2010, the team has made the postseason just once. It was a shocking run to the 2017 AFC Championship game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Jags hung in there with the most dominant NFL team of the past two decades.
He fueled his son Tony's All Elite Wrestling promotion and writes checks for the organizations' endless free agent pursuits in the pro-wrestling realm. He just handed out over $100 million in NFL free agency contracts.
Frugality isn't the issue. Competence is.
#2 - Stephen Ross
Now we get to the two owners who are morally reprehensible and deserving of the utmost scrutiny. Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, has been accused of deliberately tanking games by former HC Brian Flores. Flores claimed that Ross blackmailed him into tampering with a 2020 NFL free agent (believed to be Tom Brady) and offered up to $100,000 for every loss in order to tank.
Per NFL Network's Ian Rappaport, this could be grounds for the league to remove Ross as owner of the Dolphins if those claims are found to have been substantiated:
"If the league investigation finds Ross offered Flores $100,000 for each loss during the 2019 NFL season, as Flores alleges, the discipline could be severe, up to and including Ross losing the team by a vote of fellow owners, per sources."
Ross defended himself against those claims during a Miami Herald interview:
"I am a man or honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding. I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory. We understand there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully."
"I welcome that investigation, and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims."
If any owner wants their team to lose and is willing to go that far in order to ensure it, that person does not deserve to keep their position. This is because they have unfathomable power at the highest level of pro football.
#1 - Dan Snyder
It doesn't get any worse than working in the NFL and being an employee of current (for now) Commanders owner Dan Snyder. From sexual harassment in the workplace to defrauding ticket-sellers, Snyder has made the nation's capital a place to avoid as a free agent looking for anything but dysfunction.
Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox believes the Commanders have just committed massive investments to remain in mediocrity. This is something that ownership directly has a hand in. Knox foresees that the decisions made this offseason will be damning for the future:
"Trading for Wentz was a win-now move by a franchise that isn't ready to win now. Unless Howell, somehow, becomes a surprise star, the Commanders will enter the next few offseasons with a middle-of-the-road roster, no answer at quarterback and a lot of questions about why they did what they did in the 2022 offseason."
While Snyder's franchise has been, by and large, more successful than the Jaguars and Dolphins, he himself may just be the most spoiled apple of the bunch.