The next ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings go straight to the top.
Who are the best team owners in the league? We'll break out the results Tuesday. First, I'd like to count your votes on the best owners in the NFC West. The poll provides the mechanism. The comments section allows for elaboration.
I'm working on a ballot based on the following criteria:
Resources. The best owners aren't pinching pennies at the expense of the product on the field. They do not waste money, either, but the people making the football decisions can make the right ones without restriction.
Judgment. Hiring the right people is one key in this area.
Overall stability. The first two items on this list are key to promoting stability. The most effective owners also secure new stadiums to remain competitive and keep their teams viable.
Patience. The ups and downs of team ownership test fans' patience. Owners care, too, but they can't let their emotions unduly influence decisions. The best ones give coaches and executives enough time to succeed even when problems arise in the short term.
Engagement. The strongest owners are influential at the league level while delegating football decisions to people more qualified than themselves. They do not meddle. They do not get too close to players.
Savvy. A feel for public relations helps. What to say, when to say it, when to say nothing, etc.
Consistency over time. The best owners have proved they can meet the important criteria over more than just a couple seasons.
What other criteria are important? I don't think any current NFC West owners meet all the standards I've mentioned.
The St. Louis Rams' Stan Kroenke took over as majority owner only recently. It's too early to evaluate him.
The San Francisco 49ers' Jed York is taking a more prominent role. His standing will rise if Jim Harbaugh succeeds and the team secures a new stadium.
The Arizona Cardinals' Michael Bidwill has taken the lead in recent years. The team secured a new stadium and has finally found stability on the coaching front, but more time is needed.
The Seattle Seahawks' Paul Allen has succeeded on some fronts, but he appears invisible at the league level despite his standing as the wealthiest owner in the NFL. The organization has experienced instability at the top in recent seasons as well.