Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may be a friend of owners of private equity firms and NASCAR teams, but he is certainly a friend of the National Football League… and yes, the billionaires who own the football franchises.
During a schpiel with a reporter yesterday, Romney was asked for his two cents on the developing Peyton Manning free agent drama, and whether the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback should team up with Tim Tebow in Denver.
Mr. Romney, a self-professed New England Patriots fan, responded:
“I’m surprised to hear that Denver’s thinking about him,” Mr. Romney said. “I don’t want him in our neck of the woods, let’s put it that way.”
“I’ve got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine,” he went on to say. “But let’s keep him away from New England.”
In commercial real estate lore, the owner of the Miami Dolphins is Stephen Ross, founder and CEO of Related Companies and recent subject in Forbes Magazine’s “2012 Billionaires” issue (and #112 in the magazine’s list of American billionaires).
The affection is mutual. Mr. Ross appeared on CNBC in January to pledge his support of his well-coiffed friend:
“This country needs Romney,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary opportunity for America that we have a candidate like Romney that can come in in these times.”
Mr. Ross has also been an effective campaigner for Mr. Romney, raising up to $1 million at a fundraiser held in his Palm Beach home in January. Woody Johnson, owner of the NY Jets, was a member of the host committee for Mr. Ross’ event.
But perhaps the common love that is shared between these men is not money, but the love of the gridiron game?
And perhaps Mr. Romney thinks his wife would make for a good addition to Miami’s offensive line?