In today’s Vox Tablet podcast, Ray Gustini, of the Atlantic Wire, and I figured out exactly how many NFL franchises are owned by Jews. The final answer is 10.5 or 11.5, depending on whether or not Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is Jewish (Ray thinks he’s Catholic; I found no evidence of that, and found that he has donated to a Jewish cause; and, for what it’s worth, a number of anti-Semitic Websites say he is).
A few notes that did not make it into the final podcast, which was edited for time:
• Though I did not count them as being Jewish-owned, the Green Bay Packers almost certainly have Jewish owners: They are owned by the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, which has at least one synagogue.
• New York Jets owner Woody Johnson (as in Johnson & Johnson) is not Jewish, but was a great friend to the Jews last season, when he successfully complained after the NFL scheduled his team’s first two home games during the High Holidays. Indeed, though the Giants are 50-percent Jewish-owned, I think you have to consider the Jets (whose prior owners were Jews, who come from the scrappy and heavily Jewish AFL, and whose current general manager is Jewish) the more Jewish New York-area franchise.
• The owner of the Detroit Lions is William Clay Ford. Ford is not Jewish, but is descended from one of history’s most influential anti-Semites.
• You should follow Ray’s Twitter feed, @VeryFakeAlDavis.
After the jump: The 11.5 (maybe 10.5) Jewish-owned NFL franchises, along with Ray’s and my pick for Tablet Magazine’s official team. (But really, listen to the podcast!)
Denver Broncos (maybe)
New England Patriots
New York Giants (.5)
St. Louis Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As for official team. It should be the Vikings, who are owned by the son of two Holocaust survivors; surely have a significant Jewish fanbase (The Land of 10,000 Lakes gave us Bob Dylan, the Coen Brothers, and Thomas Friedman, and are represented in the Senate by Al Franken); and have Jewish QB Sage Rosenfels on their roster. However, Brett Favre’s return has likely doomed Rosenfels to another year of no snaps, which if anything counts against them. While Ray’s and my honorable mention was the New England Patriots, and we would certainly fault no Jew for rooting for them, ultimately the spot went to … the Washington Redskins. Mazel tov!