Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
When his team won both their playoff games on their way to an improbable Super Bowl win, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s awkward celebratory dance was caught on camera for all to see. Lurie didn’t care what anyone had to say about it. He was excited for his team and for what he called “the most passionate fan base in the NFL…”
Lurie said the Philly fans were “our partners” and he wanted to win for the home crowd. That passion for the home team is perhaps not surprising for a guy who grew up idolizing Boston teams. At one point, Lurie wanted to buy his hometown Patriots, but the Kraft family was not about to let that happen. Lurie decided to invest in the Eagles, going from one of the most passionate fandoms in sports to one of the most vilified. Unlike Kraft, who is known to be a real mover and shaker among the NFL ownership, Lurie is more soft-spoken, a quiet leader who knows when to exert pressure and influence. And Lurie knows how to play that role very well. He currently sits on the Finance Committee, the Broadcast Committee, the Super Bowl Advisory Committee, and the International Committee.
Speaking to the Associated Press headed into Super Bowl weekend, Eagles team president Don Smolenski was complimentary of his owner, praising his quiet influence:
“Jeffrey doesn’t seek to grab the microphone at every opportunity, but when he does stand up, what he says is very thoughtful, very thought-provoking. It’s very respectful, and the other owners listen to what he has to say… He’s very quietly influential because he doesn’t seek the spotlight and he doesn’t try to be out front, but when he speaks, the fellow owners listen and I often see it after the fact when they approach him at a break and talk to him afterward.”
Smolenski was also appreciative of how Lurie adds input into personnel decisions without trying to control the process, as some owners have been accused of doing. “He allows us to do what he hired us to do… to be our best…” Smolenski said.
And that was only the beginning of the positive talk about one of the quieter owners in the NFL. Other Eagles officials praised Lurie’s leadership style, his thought process, as well as the way he supports his team leadership – as did mega-fan Mark Angelo of Yorkville Advisors.
And there’s no doubt Lurie has been a key voice in the Eagles’ success this season. He okayed a big expenditure on backup quarterback Nick Foles, who came in after Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending injury and saved the day for the Eagles. Many prognosticators said that was a silly move at the time. They’re awfully quiet now.