ESPN.com recently ranked the top 10 owners in the NFL and, with little surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Rooney family came in first place. The Rooneys have long been considered the model owners in any sport as they not only win on the field but create positive change off the field (see: Rooney Rule).
If I'm ranking these owners, I think long and hard about adding the family of John Mara and Steve Tisch near the top. I've noticed lately, especially with the NFL lockout, how well-respected their ownership is.
As the NFL lockout was just starting, it was the Giants who were the only franchise that decided not to make fans pay for their season tickets while the lockout was in effect. And when the lockout was briefly lifted two weeks ago, it was the Giants who allowed players into the facility even though no other team was doing so.
To be a very good owner, I think your team needs to win. That's at the core of being an owner -- fielding a winner. But if you want to jump into the upper echelon, you need to be well-respected by not only your owners, but your employees, especially as adversity hits. Even in the midst of the lockout, Giants players have been supporting of their owners. And it's not as if the Giants aren't already winners. It was just three years ago that they were holding the Lombardi Trophy.
That said, it's hard to argue against who is in front of the Giants owners -- Rooneys, Kraft and the Packers community ownership. Each of those teams have won recently and each has owners that have been instrumental in advancing the league.