CHICAGO -- Following the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Fall Owners’ Meetings in Chicago, league commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “excited” for the city of Cleveland and NFL as a whole with the unanimous approval of Jimmy Haslam’s purchase of a controlling interest in the Cleveland Browns.
Haslam reached an agreement with owner Randy Lerner on Aug. 2, 2012 and that agreement was ratified by Haslam’s peers on Tuesday.
“We’re fortunate to have had Jimmy as a limited partner in Pittsburgh,” Goodell said. “We all know Jimmy and his family and they’re passionate about football and they’re tremendous with business acumen and what we think they’ll bring to the NFL and to the Cleveland Browns in particular. I think Cleveland Browns fans should be very excited.
“It’s a great franchise; it’s a great tradition and that’s something really valuable to build with, but he wants to take it to the next level and I think that kind of energy is only good for the fans and only good for the NFL.”
Goodell felt Haslam will be “good for the Browns fans,” who he has interacted with since becoming the NFL Commissioner in 2006.
“From having spent a lot of time in Cleveland, there’s a tremendous fan-base there,” Goodell said. “Jimmy understands that. I think he’s good for Cleveland, but it’s also good for the NFL because he’ll be very active on the league level.”
Atlanta Falcons owner/chairman Arthur Blank held one of the 32 votes cast to unanimously approve Haslam’s purchase of a controlling interest in the Browns and was happy with the end result.
“I’m excited for Cleveland; I’m excited for the league,” Blank said. “I think they’ve got a wonderful owner. He’s obviously a very accomplished businessman, who’s been very successful, has a very successful family, is very committed to sports and, so I think it’s going to be a great situation for Cleveland, for their fans, for their players, coaches and for the National Football League. I think it’s a good move.”
Since returning to the National Football League in 1999 after the original franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, the Browns have won 69 games and lost 145.
When the team was founded in 1946, they won seven league championships between their stints in the All-American Football Conference and NFL during their first decade in existence.
“Cleveland does have a storied history and even though I was a Giants fan living in New York at the time, I used to watch the Giants and Browns play each other with Jimmy Brown, Sam Huff and all that routine for many years,” Blank said. “I think it’s important. It’s a great franchise; it’s been a wonderful franchise, so I think Jimmy’s committed to the right kinds of things. His business values will apply the same way, as they have in industry, to the NFL. We’re looking forward to him as our partner.”
Once the agreement was reached on the sale of controlling interest in the Browns, Haslam traveled around the country to meet with current NFL owners, including Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots.
Blank did something similar and passed along the advice he received from Kraft when he purchased the Falcons 11 years ago.
“The same points of success, the same principles you bring to your business will apply to the National Football League,” Blank said of his advice to Haslam. “You do run the risk of injury and you understand the media exposure, but other than that, you treat fans as you would your customers and you treat players as associates and partners and you’ll be in a good place, so I’m sure Jimmy will do that.”