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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Poll: Seahawks' Allen top NFC West owner

By Mike Sando

Tim Graham's piece on the Rooney family's place atop ESPN.com's latest NFL Power Rankings contains compelling reasons for ranking the Pittsburgh Steelers' ownership above all others.

Graham joined me in ranking the Rooneys second behind the Green Bay Packers' unusual structure. I would not argue against the Rooneys, however.

No team owners from the NFC West cracked the top 10 in overall balloting. The Seattle Seahawks' Paul Allen was among 14 owners drawing votes. Graham ranked Allen ninth. John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and Kevin Seifert ranked him 10th. No other NFC West owners received votes.

Allen provides ample resources and leaves football decisions to others. He would have ranked higher on my ballot if he were more engaged at the league level. He rarely attends NFL functions. Allen does have a vast empire to oversee, but the league is best served when its team owners participate more directly. On the football side, some coaches and executives have complained over the years about not having direct access to Allen. They've had to go through an inner circle featuring Allen's longtime associates, at times fomenting distrust.

Earlier: Thoughts on other NFC West owners, plus a poll showing Allen with a commanding lead among divisional peers with more than 5,800 votes counted.