Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Rams' Stan Kroenke appears on his way
By Mike Sando
The NFL is willing to make allowances for the owners it wants in the family.
Now that we know the league wants Stan Kroenke to own the Rams outright -- Saints owner Tom Benson said so emphatically this week -- we can safely assume something will get done.
Where there's a will, there's a way. The league previously changed its rules to accommodate Wayne Huizenga's bid to buy the Dolphins and Paul Allen's bid to buy the Seahawks.
Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to emphasize the importance of the NFL's cross-ownerhsip rules, noting that Kroenke, who also owns the NBA and NHL franchises in Denver, will have to comply. Precedent suggests NFL owners might give Kroenke some time. Huizenga owned NHL and MLB teams in Florida when he purchased the Dolphins in 1994. He promised to sell the Dolphins if cross-ownership rules didn't change by 1996, but the NFL liked Huizenga enough to change rules that prevented owning majority stakes in more than one pro franchise, regardless of market.
Then as now, the league wants to make sure its owners care about football enough to make their teams a primary focus. Their experience with Allen has been frustrating in some ways because the Microsoft co-founder has stayed away from league functions. Kroenke appears more directly engaged. Owners know him. They obviously like him. They'll almost certainly find a way to welcome him as full owner of the Rams.