Standing in a room filled with reporters, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie somberly delivered a piece of franchise altering news. “We’re going to be saying goodbye to the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles,” he said.
That was December 2012, and Lurie had just fired head coach Andy Reid, after a 14-year stint that featured nine playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance. In doing so, the Eagles’ owner was tearing away a proverbial safety net. Reid transformed the once beleaguered franchise into a perennial competitor. Despite a 4-12 season, Reid’s prowess was still apparent, and less than a week later he was hired to coach the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles’ opponent on Sunday in Super Bowl LVII.
But Lurie, 71, has never hesitated to take a risk, and Reid certainly wasn’t his first. In 1994, he took a nine-figure loan from the Bank of Boston to buy the Eagles for $185 million, believed to be the highest for an existing professional sports franchise at the time. It paid off handsomely. The team is now worth $4.9 billion, according to Forbes’ math, making Lurie a billionaire with an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion. Thanks to his aggressive approach, Lurie is on the verge of football immortality once again.
“You’ve got to make changes in business [and] after a certain period of time, anything can become stale,” says Marc Ganis, president of consulting firm Sportscorp, who has worked with numerous NFL teams and owners. “But Jeffrey saw that that was only going to take them so far. That takes a lot of courage, frankly, on the part of the owner to make a change when things aren’t going terribly because you believe you can make a decision to make things go better