Hennepin County beat: NFL owners face the media at spring meetings in Atlanta

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 18, 2014 - 8:05 PM

NFL team owners used to environments so controlled that they get police escorts for Super Bowl games found no buffer from the media during spring meetings at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta.

Getting into their meeting rooms required traversing the lobby where reporters sprawled on couches, poised to pounce and glean the smallest snippet.

New York City team owners got the most attention. They also were the most accommodating — standing still until reporters ran out of questions.

Giants’ third-generation owner John Mara exhibited a patrician calm, making it fun to fathom his reaction upon seeing his niece Rooney Mara play the lead in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Jets owner Robert Wood Johnson IV, aka “Woody” and an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, was chatty. Jets players cried when he told them coach Rex Ryan would be returning for the 2014 season “The players love him,” he said. He came back later to discuss his family’s Minnesota roots (not the Johnson side) and his boyhood visits.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson arrived at the meetings just in time to lose out to Minneapolis as host of the 2018 Super Bowl. Using a walker to cross the lobby while surrounded by a phalanx of staff, Benson, who is 86 and just had knee surgery, later tripped and went to the hospital.

The best-dressed award went to Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, a Pakistani native and self-made billionaire, sporting impeccably tailored suits and a flawlessly coifed mane of dark, curly hair.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came off as Mr. Congeniality, but he didn’t want to chat much. He’s shorter than he looks on TV and smells like crisp soap. In contrast, affable Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis leaned against a lobby wall in a scruffy T-shirt and jeans, smelling of cigarettes. When he wondered how he would get a $500 million subsidy for a new stadium, a reporter pointed to the fraying zebra-print duffel at his feet and said, “You could sell some Zubaz bags like that one.”


rochelle.olson@startribune.com @rochelleolson

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Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
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Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
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Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
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New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
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Houston 115
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




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