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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Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 3
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Putnam 1
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 6
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Walker 2
Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez 11 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Los Angeles 0 Top 3rd Inning
Pittsburgh 5
San Francisco 0 Top 3rd Inning
Philadelphia 0
Texas 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Boston 3 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 3
Miami 0 Top 3rd Inning
Atlanta 5
Tampa Bay 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
St. Louis 0
San Diego - I. Kennedy 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Houston - B. Peacock 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Chavez
Baltimore - C. Tillman 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut 75 FINAL
Washington 89
New York 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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