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Volume 26 No. 207
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Gayle Benson Thriving In Ownership Role One Year After Husband's Death

Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Benson made news last week when she shot down rumors that she was looking to sell the Pelicans
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Saints Owner GAYLE BENSON "might just be the most powerful woman in the NFL" a little more than a year since the passing of her husband, TOM, according to Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY. Benson's stature was on "full display as she gathered with other NFL owners last week." As promised in the days following the NFC Championship Game, she "continued to lobby other NFL owners to pass a new rule" that could prevent a repeat of that game's officiating blunder. Benson "made news in another league, too." She "shot down the rumors" that she would look to sell the Pelicans. Benson is "comfortable in her leadership role for franchises at both ends of the competitive spectrum in their respective leagues." It has "been clear within NFL circles that Benson is determined to have legitimate influence on key issues that go way beyond pushing the rule change." Commissioner ROGER GOODELL said that it was "striking that days after Tom Benson's burial last spring, Gayle Benson attended the NFL owners' meetings in Orlando." She told Goodell that she "wanted to serve on committees -- so, for starters, he appointed her to the business ventures committee." But Benson "downplays the power surge element to her existence." She said, "I do feel more comfortable, knowing Mr. B. entrusted this to me and he knew I could handle it" (USA TODAY, 3/31).

TEXAS ROOTS: In Houston, John McClain noted JANICE MCNAIR has "taken a more active role" in the Texans since the death of her husband, BOB, in late November. The Texans' controlling owner last week "attended sessions with her son, Texans’ chairman CAL MCNAIR, participated in league events and visited with owners and their families." She is "one of three women who took ownership of NFL franchises last year" along with Benson and JODY ALLEN with the Seahawks, and one of 10 women who own NFL teams. McNair "made a strong impression on people at the club and league levels," including Goodell. She told the commissioner and fellow owners how the Texans "plan to continue the standard Bob McNair set since they were awarded the franchise in 1999 to replace the Oilers" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/31).