“Are you ready for some FootBaugh?”
The most often used word in America for the next few days will be brother. Oh Brother!
If we had a nickel for every time we read, see or hear HarBowl, Bro-Bowl, SuperBro, Super Sibs, JBowl, BroBall, Family Affair or Band Of Brothers we could buy our own NFL Franchise.
Lost in all this NFL Super Bowl bromance is a woman’s touch. And I don’t mean Jackie, mother of John and Jim Harbaugh. That magic touch belongs to Marie Denise DeBartolo York, the owner and current co-chair of the San Francisco 49ers.
In 2000, DeBartolo York and her husband Dr. John York gained control of the 49ers and other sporting assets from her brother, Eddie. She and John named son Jed to run the franchise in 2008, with hopes he would return the organization to national prominence.
Denise DeBartolo has her name attached to championships in the NFL and NHL. She was the owner and president of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won Lord Stanley’s Cup in the 1990-91 season. She has been overshadowed for years by her brother Eddie during the 49ers run to five Super Bowls, and now she is being overshadowed by a transcontinental coaching brother act.
Looking around the boardrooms of the 122 major sports teams in North America we still see a significant glass ceiling in terms of ownership by women. Ironically, right across the the Bay, we have Mark Davis and his mother Carol controlling the Raiders. Virginia Halas McCaskey is the owner of the Chicago Bears.
In Major League Baseball, there are zero female owners. Jamie McCourt and her ex-husband Frank were former co-owners of the L.A. Dodgers -- at least according to Jamie’s attorney. Baseball has seen women owning teams upon the passing of their husbands, though. Marge Schott of the Cincinnati Reds and Joan Payson of the New York Mets had the most success.
The NHL lists Henry Samueli and his wife Susan as the co-owners of the Anaheim Ducks.
The NBA has no woman as a principal owner.
Sheila Johnson made history in 2005, becoming the first African-American woman to own a stake in a pro sports team. As part of her historic business deal, she also had interest in the NBA's Washington Wizards and the NHL's Washington Capitals. As part of the ownership of The Monumental Sport Group headed by Ted Leonsis, Johnson is Vice Chair, president and Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
Late on Sunday, February 3rd NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to present the Vince Lombardi trophy to either Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, or the 49ers' Marie Denise DeBartolo York.
I’m thinking that the Tiffany-designed Trophy may end up in a woman’s hands, which will be just the right touch.