The ownership of an NFL team largely influences the team's success. The ownership directly impacts the acquisition of leaders in the front office and among the coaching staff. Those selected coaches and general managers normally have the biggest influence on the recruitment of strong talent.
This illustrates how an owner's performance behind the scenes trickles down to the team's general success. Historically successful franchises can usually attribute a lot of their success to proper management. However, this means that fans normally look to their team's owner when their team isn't performing well.
All NFL owners have different approval ratings from their teams' fan bases. Owners that are loved by their fans are known for their relentless commitment to the team. They find the best managers, coaches, and players to consistently develop ways to deliver a winning football team.
When teams show disfunctional leadership for long periods of time and struggle to win, their fans usually begin to disapprove of their owner.
Here are five NFL owners who are generally disliked by their teams' fans.
#5 Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
Prior to the Cincinnati Bengals winning the AFC Championship last season, Mike Brown (who acquired the team in 1991) would have been higher on this list. He will likely have gained some slack from the Bengals fan base, but probably not much.
Prior to the 2022/23 NFL season, the Bengals hadn't won a single playoff game since Brown took over the team.
The team's fans have long been frustrated with Brown for a variety of reasons, including what they felt was a lack of desire to win.
Bengals greats like Carson Palmer and Corey Dillon left the organization, citing this as their reason. Brown also kept Marvin Lewis as the head coach for 16 years, despite never winning a playoff game.
#4 Woody Johnson, New York Jets
New York Jets fans don't necessarily dislike owner Woody Johnson for lack of effort, but rather for consistent failures. Despite spending money on players and coaches and showing a desire to be competitive, Johnson has struck out multiple times.
The Jets were victorious in Super Bowl III, but that was 50 years ago with different ownership, and they haven't appeared in another title clash since. New York fans demand winning in all sports, but Johnson hasn't provided them with substantial success on the football field.
#3 Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns
While Jimmy Halsam has only owned the Cleveland Browns for 10 years, he has already made several moves that have aggravated the fan base.
Haslam is reportedly the one who made the ultimate decision to hire Hue Jackson as head coach and draft quarterback Johnny Manziel. He was advised against both decisions but did it anyway, resulting in huge failures.
Haslam made headlines again during the 2022 NFL offseason by trading for controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson's controversy centers around 24 lawsuits involving sexual misconduct allegations. Despite the controversy, Haslam gave the QB a record-breaking contract. To make things worse, Haslam decided not to show up for the introductory press conference following the trade.
#2 The Ford Family, Detroit Lions
The Ford Family has owned a share of the Detroit Lions since 1961 and the entire franchise since 1963. The Lions are one of the oldest franchises in the league and have a committed fan base, despite being unable to find consistent success.
The Lions have never appeared in a Super Bowl, let alone won one. They have historically struggled to produce a winning team, and the Ford Family has shouldered the blame for nearly 60 years.
#1 Dan Snyder, Washington Commanders
Dan Snyder is not only the most disliked owner in the NFL, but also one of the most hated owners across all sports. He's been involved in several scandals, including creating a toxic work environment, scamming season ticket holders, and financial fraud. His behavior continuously depicts him as selfish and greedy.
Snyder is currently under investigation for allegedly stealing money from the NFL's revenue sharing pool, and could potentially be forced to sell the team if found guilty.
Washington fans might be hoping for such a resolution. They often used to bring signs to home games criticizing their owner, but Snyder banned the use of signs in an attempt to silence them.