When Stan Kroenke formally announced his bid, by all appearances he was ready for a head-to-head showdown with the NFL’s rules against cross-ownership. After all, he had two months to prepare his strategy before announcing his decision, and as ESPN’s Mike Sando put it, “Kroenke’s ownership bid came as a surprise. It’s a bigger surprise if he made that bid without knowing it would succeed in the end.”
However, in a move that underscores how savvy Kroenke is — he didn’t luck into becoming one of the 100 or so richest people in the country (#117 according to Forbes’ latest ranking) — he has potentially found an end-around play that will allow Roger Goodell to avoid a precedent-shattering decision, breaking a long-standing rule that keeps the more territorial franchise owners very comfortable, while still allowing one of the favored sons of the NFL owners’ group to take a more prominent role with the team.
How is this possible? Here’s the scoop from Martin Kilcoyne of Fox 2:
FOX2 has learned that Kroenke is prepared to move the NBA Denver Nuggets and NHL Colorado Avalanche ownership from his name to another family member’s name; allowing Kroenke to buy the remaining 60% in Rams shares from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.
— Fox2Now.com: New Details on Kroenke’s Bid for the Rams
The other family member in question? Most likely his wife, who according to Bernie Miklasz on his radio show this afternoon, is quite a wealthy person in her own right. This preserves the letter (if perhaps not the spirit) of the NFL’s law. And more importantly, it allows Goodell to do what he presumably wants to do, while saving face with the other owners.