Question of the day: Which NFL team has the best owner, general manager, coach combination?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
The best owner, general manager and coach combination in the NFL is responsible for three Super Bowl rings. But there is one caveat: the general manager and coach are the same person — Bill Belichick.
The coach of the Patriots has his fingers on all aspects of the football operation in New England. He is responsible for player acquisitions, managing the budget and of course football strategy. Maybe because it’s one person instead of two, and the one person is so special, the Patriots have excelled at marrying players to schemes. The general manager in New England knows exactly what the coach needs.
And the Kraft family provides the necessary leadership, vision and resources. It should be pointed out that both the owner and the coach have made each other better than they were alone.
Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun Sentinel
New England remains the best-run organization for this simple reason: They've won three titles in the past decade. The scoreboard decides arguments in sports, and it tilted toward the Patriots more than anyone else (not even counting the 18-1 season and Super Bowl loss in 2008).
Patriots owner Bob Kraft was smart enough to hire coach/general manager/czar Bill Belichick. Belichick was smart enough to see what he had in sixth-round pick Tom Brady. And Brady was good enough at the position that makes or breaks franchises to help win those Super Bowls.
Pittsburgh has two Super Bowl wins this past decade. There are a lot of one-hit wonders. But the best-run team? It’s simple. It’s the one with three Super Bowls and four Super Bowl appearances.
Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun
For brevity sake, I'll go with the Robert Kraft-Bill Belichick tag team in New England. Three Lombardi Trophies are the persuasive evidence, even if the Patriots haven't won it since the 2004 season.
There are some strong challengers to the title, though. The Rooneys understand the dynamic at the top of the food chain in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won one Super Bowl with Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, but may get more. The Colts have a second-year coach, Jim Caldwell, under an impressive tandem of Jim Irsay and Bill Polian, and that group reached the Super Bowl last year.
Then there are the Ravens, with Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh, who have been oh-so-close the past two years. The Packers have a strong triumverate with Green Bay's shareholders, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, and this could be their year.
[Update at 12:11 p.m.:
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
There isn't a single NFL franchise that has the best owner, general manager and coach. But the one that comes closest is the Green Bay Packers, even though 18 different clubs have gotten to the Super Bowl since the Packers last appeared in one.
First, look at ownership structure. The Packers are the only nonprofit, community-owned major-league sports franchise in the country, allowing them to stay and thrive in a tiny market without affecting their ability to compete. Their president and CEO, Mark Murphy, is a former player, not some silver-spoon billionaire. And watch this: When the NFL chooses an "owner" to relay the message on its behalf in the current labor fight, there's a very good chance it will be Murphy.
The Packers' general manager, Ted Thompson, has come under a lot of fire in recent years, especially for his decision to let Brett Favre walk in favor of Aaron Rodgers. That bold choice has worked out just fine for Green Bay, which now has a 26-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback to build a team around.
And Mike McCarthy is a respectable coach who has gotten his team to the playoffs in two of the past four seasons. He's not Bill Belichick -- at least not yet, and maybe he will never be -- but Belichick was 31-33 in his first four years as an NFL head coach, whereas McCarthy was 38-26, not counting his team's 2-0 start this season.]
Photo: Bill Belichick, left, shakes hands with Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the start of a news conference to announce Belichick's hiring Jan. 27, 2000. Credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press