SAN FRANCISCO -- Specifics of the league’s issues with the Titans’ ownership structure aren’t much clearer, but I did get a chance to get Roger Goodell on the record on the subject at the NFL commissioner's annual Super Bowl press conference
In March, shortly after Amy Adams Strunk took over as controlling owner, Goodell said the league wanted to ensure the team is under proper ownership structure.
I asked Goodell what the structure issue is, what progress has been made and when we can expect a resolution.
His answer, in full:
“We have ownership policies, the ownership policies are lengthy, but essentially they require a single owner, to represent the club locally, but also at the league level. We work on the basis of 32 individual owners, each having a vote. When league matters come up, whatever they may be, we work on a vote of 24 of the 32. It’s a very important principle to owners and their partners.
“They want to know who their partner is, they want to know who’s responsible for how the team is operated locally and they want to know that their partner is sitting at the table when they are making difficult decisions. So we will try to encourage our policies to encourage that type of behavior.
“We have to continue to work with the Tennessee ownership group to see how that’s going to conform with our policies. We’ll be meeting with our finance committee in the next few weeks. That’s a subject we’ll be discussing.”
Strunk owns 33 percent of the team, but the entire group of five Bud Adams heirs has agreed to have her take the lead. She is the single owner in that sense, but apparently not sufficiently so in the formal structure.
New York Giants owner John Mara, who is the team's president and CEO, was at the press conference and I spoke with him before Goodell took the podium.
“I really don’t know her,” Mara said when I asked for his impressions of Strunk. “I mean I’ve met her a couple of times but I really don’t know her...
“I know Steve Underwood is a very capable executive. But I don’t have enough knowledge about what’s going on ownership-wise. I just know they have a good man in Steve.
“I don’t know if it’s a major issue, no. I don’t think so. As long as you have a good, capable executive running the team, which I think Steve is, and I think they’ve got a good team, a good coach and a good general manager. They’ll be fine.”