By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
‘Like family’ is a phrase you hear thrown around a lot in life, sports and business. While we await Super Bowl 50 at the home of the five team Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers, it’s only appropriate to look back at the owner during that time, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Aka, Eddie D.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News wrote arguably the best article on Eddie D that has ever been written. While not a saint, Eddie D is the closet thing to one. He is there for his players and his players families now and for as long as he will be on this Earth.
While Eddie D is no longer the owner of the 49ers (his nephew Jed York runs it now) he is still widely respected in NFL circles. The way he ran the team during his 23 years at the helm were impressive. From players getting their own room on the road to players wives being sent flowers when their husbands signed as a free agent. Eddie D changed the way NFL owners run a franchise.
The closest thing we have today to an Eddie D is the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He treats players like Eddie D did, like family. That’s sayin something in this modern era of football where players rarely play their entire career with one team.
Like Eddie D, Kraft has hard some issues on and off the field but through it all both men are widely respected and are two owners that players want to win for. Owners who don’t see their organization as a company but as one big family.