Likability Index: Ranking NFL teams by their front offices
Welcome to theScore's Likability Index, wherein we rank teams in several completely subjective categories to determine the NFL's most likable team.
- Fan Experience
- Final Verdict
Factors assessed in ranking likability of ownership, front office personnel, and coaches include track record, charisma, transparency, and commitment to winning.
32. Washington Redskins
▲ Scot McCloughan's recent appointment as general manager drew praise from across the league. If he's allowed to make his changes to the club uninterrupted, the Redskins could be in good hands.
▼ Owner Daniel Snyder has, at various times, been accused of charging fans to attend a "fan appreciation" practice, exploiting 9/11 to raise ticket prices, suing a longtime season-ticket holder who could not afford a lawyer, failing to pay employees full wages, trying to ruin the careers of local journalists, and even cutting down trees protected by the National Park Service.
▼Snyder has steadfastly refused to change his team's name despite widespread calls for its abolishment on the grounds that it’s racist.
▼ Even when Snyder made good hires, his inability to stay out of his own way set the organization back.
31. Cleveland Browns
▲ Head coach Mike Pettine is a no-nonsense guy and has been able to implement his vision over the past 17 months.
▼ Coaches should get more than one year to prove themselves, and owner Jimmy Haslam has instituted an extremely short leash, dumping Rob Chudzinski unceremoniously.
▼ Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J, agreed to pay a $92-million penalty for defrauding customers out of tens of millions in promised rebates and discounts.
▼ General manager Ray Farmer was suspended and fined by the NFL for violating league rules by texting orders to his coaches on the sideline during games.
30. St. Louis Rams
▲ It hasn't paid off yet, but general manager Les Snead's bold moves in building this team, particularly on defense, have been fun to watch.
▼ By all appearances, owner Stan Kroenke is dead set on relocating his team to Los Angeles. Millions of Rams fans in St. Louis and the surrounding area are likely to lose their team.
▼Kroenke is the largest shareholder on the board of English soccer club Arsenal, one of biggest names in the sport. The Rams may not be his top priority.
▼Jeff Fisher has established an impressive reputation despite his teams consistently underwhelming. Fisher is barely over .500 in 20 seasons as a head coach.
29. Tennessee Titans
▼ Ruston Webster has put together one of the most underwhelming three-year general manager stints the NFL has seen, with no real end in sight.
▼Webster demanded unilateral control of the team's scouting operations despite a horrific track record at the draft.
▼ The Titans' ownership situation is a major question mark after CEO Tommy Smith’s abrupt retirement. There are rumors the team is quietly being shopped.
28. San Francisco 49ers
▲ Trent Baalke is proving to be one of the league's most astute general managers.
▼ Jed York, the NFL’s youngest owner at 34 years old, appears to be in over his head at times. He seemed to be a major factor in running Jim Harbaugh out of town.
▼ Fans had better hope that Jim Tomsula’s disaster of an introductory press conference wasn’t a sign of things to come.
27. Detroit Lions
▲ General manager Martin Mayhew did an excellent job of turning the club around after Matt Millen's calamitous tenure.
▼ The Ford family has owned a majority share of the Lions since 1963. Not much winning has happened since then.
26. Miami Dolphins
▲ Ownership is more than willing to spend, as evidenced by the six-year, $114-million contract given to Ndamukong Suh.
▼ Owner Stephen Ross has created one of the most dysfunctional front offices in football. Rarely are the owner, general manager, and coach all on the same page.
▼ Joe Philbin and Dennis Hickey are dull executives, and Philbin handled the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal with marked indifference.
25. Baltimore Ravens
▲ There isn’t a more respected general manager in the game than Ozzie Newsome.
▼ Baltimore's handling of the Ray Rice situation was pathetic. Ultimate responsibility falls on owner Steve Bisciotti’s shoulders.
▼ The Ravens operate by far the worst Twitter account in the NFL. Tweeting about Janay Palmer's "regrets" was its nadir.
▼ Art Modell is dead, but it remains impossible to forget the heartless way the Ravens franchise was taken from Cleveland.
24. Oakland Raiders
▲There's something to be said for general manager Reggie McKenzie’s methodical, Green Bay-like approach to rebuilding the team.
▼ Mark Davis's presence and control despite having no real football knowledge will always hang over the club as a potential negative.
▼ Although McKenzie nailed the last two drafts, the contracts for quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub were indefensible.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
▲ New general manager Jason Licht is forward-thinking and not afraid to take a chance on high-risk, high-reward players.
▼ The Buccaneers always manage to acquire top talent, but never fail to disappoint. That has to fall on management at the coaching and front office levels.
▼ The Glazer family is detested by Manchester United supporters, another club they own. Their loyalties always have been split.
22. Cincinnati Bengals
▲ Despite an unconventional structure, the Bengals still manage to draft and develop talent as well as any other organization.
▼ Head coach Marvin Lewis calling Johnny Manziel a "midget" was insensitive at best.
▼ Owner Mike Brown's frugality is legendary in NFL circles, with agent Leigh Steinberg calling him "a Don Quixote-type figure pushing back the forces of salary madness." The Bengals employ the league's smallest scouting staff.
21. New York Jets
▲ Almost anyone would be an upgrade over former general manager John Idzik, but Mike Maccagnan’s aggressiveness has been fun to watch.
▼There’s always a sideshow at Florham Park and blame for that has to start at the top. Owner Woody Johnson often seems more interested in making headlines than winning games.
▼ It will be awfully hard for new head coach Todd Bowles to match Rex Ryan’s charisma.
20. San Diego Chargers
▲ Alex Spanos kept the Chargers within the family, passing off control of the team to his sons - and eventually his grandchildren - after purchasing the franchise in 1984.
▲Coaching staff and management have had an unspectacular but solid presence to steady a struggling organization.
▼ The Spanos family hasn’t found a way to get a new stadium in San Diego and is vying for a move to Los Angeles.
▼ Mike McCoy is perhaps the least recognizable coach in the NFL.
▼General manager Tom Telesco is largely indifferent to player holdouts and may lose Eric Weddle and a host of other stars due to his wanton arrogance.
19. Atlanta Falcons
▲ New head coach Dan Quinn brings a fresh and exciting face to what has been a stale situation.
▲ Owner Arthur Blank is paying for budget overages on construction of his new stadium out of his own pocket, rather than asking for public money to foot the bill.
▼ General manager Thomas Dimitroff's stellar reputation may be unwarranted after a number of weak draft classes in recent years.
▼ This has been arguably the most boring team in the NFL for years.
T-17. Minnesota Vikings
▲ Head coach Mike Zimmer is awesome in the same way your drunk, profane uncle is. All one needs to do for proof is take a look at the Bengals' "Hard Knocks" season.
▼ Owner Zygi Wilf did his best to force taxpayers to foot the bill for his new stadium in spite of a net worth of $1.3 billion.
▼Wilf was caught for fraud and racketeering, and was forced to pay compensatory damages upwards of $84 million.
▼ Adrian Peterson's child abuse case was handled poorly by the club.
T-17. New Orleans Saints
▲ Ownership kept the franchise in New Orleans despite the major turmoil of Hurricane Katrina.
▼ It was a few years ago now, but the "Bountygate" scandal will always hang over this regime.
▼ Does general manager Mickey Loomis know the NFL has a salary cap? He's dug himself into a pretty big hole in recent seasons.
▼ Fans can’t feel good about the uncertain ownership future the Saints face. Tom Benson’s continued health and the franchise’s succession plan are major question marks.
T-15. New England Patriots
▲ You can't argue with success. Bill Belichick's tight lips drive reporters crazy and his fashion choices are ripe for ridicule, but "The Hoodie" is arguably the best football coach to ever live.
▼ From "Spygate" to "Deflategate", the Patriots have become synonymous with cheating. It's highly unnecessary considering the talent on the team and Belichick's genius as a coach.
▼ Robert Kraft is one of Roger Goodell’s strongest supporters. And, let's face it, Air Force 1's do not go with suits.
T-15. Indianapolis Colts
▲The Colts gained a reputation as one of the most well-respected organizations overall despite lingering questions at key spots.
▲ Head coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with cancer was (and remains) inspiring.
▼ General manager Ryan Grigson lucked into drafting Andrew Luck. Since then, he’s made several substantial blunders, not the least of which is trading a first-round pick for Trent Richardson.
▼ Owner Jim Irsay's run-ins with the law were embarrassing not only for the Colts, but the entire NFL. Irsay's DUI went unpunished while the league took a much harder stance against players with the same infractions.
14. Chicago Bears
▲ Credit to the Bears for thinking outside the box and hiring Ryan Pace as the NFL's youngest general manager.
▲ Head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio bring some much-needed credibility to the organization after former head coach Marc Trestman's two-year tenure was a failure.
▲ The Halas-McCaskey family has owned the club for the last 100 years, and Virginia McCaskey is the longest tenured owner in the league.
▼ Although he's since been fired and replaced by Pace, Phil Emery's three-year tenure as general manager was a disaster, failing to cultivate talent across the board.
13. Dallas Cowboys
▲ Owner Jerry Jones has proven he will spend whatever it takes, not only to win, but to provide his team's fans with the most extravagant game experience possible.
▲ Jerry Jones the general manager seems to have finally begun listening to the advice of the more football-savvy people around him. Jones reportedly wanted to draft Johnny Manziel over star guard Zack Martin but was shut down by his son and scouting personnel.
▲ Jones will do anything necessary to win, and the pursuit of another Super Bowl keeps him busy 24/7.
▼ Jones' willingness to do anything it takes to win, includes signing Greg Hardy, who is accused of domestic violence, and taking risks on players with checkered pasts with the law.
T-11. Houston Texans
▲ Owner Bob McNair brought professional football back to Houston after the Oilers relocated to Tennessee in 1997.
▲ Bill O'Brien is considered by many to be one of the brightest head coaches in the game, improving his team's win output by seven games in his first year.
▲ The Texans are still a relatively new team, but a strong culture has been implemented by McNair and general manager Rick Smith, who's been with the club since 2006.
▼ The Texans need HBO's "Hard Knocks" to convince the world that Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien are interesting people.
T-11. Buffalo Bills
▲ Owner Terry Pegula rescued the team and ensured it will remain in Western New York. For that, he will forever be a local hero.
▲ The late Ralph Wilson was instrumental in bridging the merger between the AFL and NFL in 1970.
▲ There's never a dull moment when Rex Ryan is your head coach.
▼ The fan base has to have next to zero confidence in the Bills' front office personnel, with general manager Doug Whaley's strategy baffling many long-time supporters.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
▲ Owner Shad Khan's mustache alone puts him near the top of this list. His actions cement it. Khan has invested millions in giving his team first-class training facilities. They also installed a pool at EverBank Field along with the league's largest video board.
▲ Khan's son Tony is at the forefront of football analytics.
▲ The Jaguars are patient enough to give head coach Gus Bradley enough time to mentor a young and upcoming group.
▼ Jacksonville is perennially selecting in the top-10 and has failed to strike on the vast majority of its picks. At some point, general manager Dave Caldwell will be held accountable.
T-8. Carolina Panthers
▲ Whether it translated to immediate success or not, the way this team has drafted under general manager Dave Gettleman has to instill some sort of confidence in its direction.
▲Gettleman rescued the team from salary cap hell and quickly undid a number of errors made by previous general manager Marty Hurney.
▲Head coach Ron Rivera has embraced the nickname "Riverboat Ron" assigned to him by fans.
▼ Owner Jerry Richardson once reportedly ordered quarterback Cam Newton not to get any tattoos or piercings. Richardson has cast himself as a perpetually angry figure.
T-8. Kansas City Chiefs
▲ Head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey have brought respect and stability to a talented team that was unable to make the most of what it already had.
▲ Reid is the human embodiment of the Kool-Aid Man, and his charisma proved to be endearing throughout his career.
▼ Chairman Clark Hunt inherited the team and everything about him screams "silver-spoon upbringing."
7. Philadelphia Eagles
▲ In a league full of guarded and robotic head coaches, Chip Kelly's honesty and transparency when addressing the media is refreshing.
▲ Kelly has a vision for his team and isn’t afraid to chase it, even if it bucks conventional thinking. He'll do it his way and will get rid of those not on board.
▼ It's Kelly's show now, but that's a lot of power for a long-time college coach to have so early in his NFL career. Kelly's push for unilateral control forced the competent Howie Roseman into a reduced role.
6. Denver Broncos
▲ General manager John Elway has proven just as capable of achieving success in the front office as he did on the field of play. Elway possesses an inherent advantage during free agency, as he's able to relate to upper-echelon players. He was instrumental in the Broncos' coup of Peyton Manning.
▲ There's something to be said for Elway's California charm. How could you not like this guy? (With due apologies to Browns fans circa 1986.)
▲ Pat Bowlen was one of the league's most committed owners after purchasing the team in 1984 and shaping it in his image.
▼ Denver fired John Fox unceremoniously after losing in the divisional round of the playoffs, one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance.
5. Arizona Cardinals
▲ Would it be a surprise to anyone if the Cardinals become a perennial Super Bowl contender with head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim leading the way? They've been that good.
▲ Arians is arguably the most quotable personality in the NFL.
▼ The Cardinals have only secured five playoff berths in the 52 years Bill Bidwell has been owner or part-owner.
4. New York Giants
▲ John Mara and Steve Tisch form a rock-solid ownership tandem that helps ensure organizational stability. The Mara family has been active in ownership of the club since 1925.
▲ Coughlin was criticized for his coaching style upon arriving in New York, but everyone quickly realized why he’s so respected.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
▲ The Rooneys are perhaps the NFL’s most respected family. Barack Obama selected chairman Dan Rooney as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
▲ The Steelers have employed only three head coaches since 1969. That's tremendous loyalty.
▲ Head coach Mike Tomlin has the highest ever success rate on coaching challenges.
▼Tomlin once tried to trip Jacoby Jones on a kick return touchdown and thought we wouldn’t notice.
2. Seattle Seahawks
▲ General manager John Schneider is a master at finding hidden gems deep in the draft. He isn't afraid to make a big splash on the trade market, either.
▲ The best thing you can say about owner Paul Allen is that he stays out of the way and lets his football men make football decisions.
▲ Head coach Pete Carroll's positive attitude is infectious and his player-friendly style of coaching makes Seattle an attractive destination.
1. Green Bay Packers
▲ The Packers are the only publicly owned team in all of major North American professional sports. We couldn't hate the owner if we tried.
▲ General Ted Thompson regularly finds a way to convince his best players to take team-friendly deals.
▲ In the rare event Green Bay splurges on a high-caliber free agent, the impact is franchise-altering and leads to Super Bowls. Reggie White and Charles Woodson are prime examples.
▲ Ownership and management cultivated Green Bay's small-time roots into a global brand without compromising its core values.
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