It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” The diminutive, 5-foot-9, 189-pound Archie Griffin said that. The only player in the history of football to win the Heisman Trophy—the sport’s most prestigious individual award—twice. It’s an aphorism with legs. But, of course, Griffin was referring to himself and his cadre of underdogs—or the kind of guys everyone roots for. He was not referring to superyachts and their owners—or the kind of guys nobody roots for. It’s there, in billionaire NFL-owner territory, where Griffin’s logic doesn’t hold water. To win this fight, size matters.
Jerry Jones is top dog in a little pond. Or at least he was. The outspoken owner of the Dallas Cowboys recently purchased a superyacht roughly the length of a football field from Dutch builder Oceanco. (How you justify celebrating “America’s Team” from a Dutch yacht is another story.) At 357 feet, Bravo Eugenia—named after Jones’ wife, Genie (good job indeed)—is reportedly worth more than $250 million, or $110 million more than he paid for the team in 1989. While a nice place to go lick his wounds after habitually falling short in the playoffs and ponder the future of the franchise—Is Dak Prescott the answer? Has head coach Jason Garrett worn his welcome? Is Cole Beasley on the trading block??—Jones now has competition on the waterfront from Dan Snyder, billionaire owner of the Washington Redskins. Who says the NFC East wasn’t competitive last year? At least off the field anyway.
Nabbing the spotlight from his divisional rival, Snyder, working with Feadship, will debut his new $100 million, 300-foot superyacht Lady S sometime in the spring. While not as long as Jones’ vessel, Lady S will make up for it by having a two-deck IMAX theater—the first of its kind on board a yacht. This echelon of billionaire one-upmanship is hard to beat. Maybe Snyder and the Redskins front office can use his personal IMAX to review film before signing a much-needed quarterback this offseason. Or maybe he’ll just kick back and watch the 2008 spy thriller Valkyriestarring Tom Cruise, the last movie Snyder has executive producer credits on which ended up getting a 62 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Ending up with a dud at the box office with Tom Cruise as the lead star? Being a billionaire can be tough.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kismet, the 312-foot superyacht that he had built with Lürssen in 2014. Khan is still associated with the yacht, and one expects he has more and more reasons to get away from it all after the Jaguar’s past, ahem, season. (Their record: 5-11. Yikes.)
What do Jones, Snyder and Khan all have in common, aside from, you know, some of the largest privately owned vessels plying the seas? That’s right, perennial disappoint where it counts: on the field. Throw enough money at a superyacht builder, and they can craft an unbelievable floating palace for you and your guests with “a fully certified helipad with Jet A fuel, four VIP suites each with 8k TVs, and facilities that cater to a wide range of sports including golf, basketball, volleyball and football,” according to a press release from Feadship.
Unfortunately for these guys, throwing money at their football teams isn’t enough to win in this league. “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses,” asked legendary coach Vince Lombardi, “then why do they keep score?” The same can be said, I guess, for LOA.