NFC North: Dan Rooney
Earlier this week, ESPN.com's Bill Williamson revealed voting totals for the NFL's top owner. The story, which named Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney the winner, caused some readers to suggest that one team be considered in its own category. The Green Bay Packers are the NFL's only publicly-owned franchise and -- at last count -- include 112,015 shareholders.
The Packers are operated by a seven-member executive committee, led by president/CEO Mark Murphy. They generally run like a typical NFL team, but the unique structure requires a greater degree of accountability to the fan base/shareholders.
ESPN.com's survey was based on the perspective of league's head coaches. None of the 30 respondents named the Packers, but they might not have considered Green Bay given the structure. After all, Murphy only recently replaced the retired Bob Harlan and, in reality, Packers head coaches usually work for the general manager in the absence of a traditional owner.
It takes a certain type of coaching personality to succeed under the Packers' structure, but there are some benefits. Namely, the organization goes to great lengths to create a family environment among its employees.
At minicamp last month, the Packers invited the families of all nine draft choices to Green Bay. They received an exclusive tour of the team's facilities, inspected the town where their sons/husbands will be spending this season and also watched practices. It was neat to see the mother of fifth-round pick Breno Giacomini race over to a group of reporters to make sure they knew who her son was.