MINNESOTA VIKINGS owners Mark (left), Zygi (center) and Leonard Wilf..
(photo credit: KIRBY LEE-USA TODAY SPORTS)
Sunday’s Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will not only match two teams with Jewish ownership for the third time since 2012, but will also be played in the new US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, a venue partially paid for by the Jewish owners of the local Vikings, the Wilf family.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft will be eyeing his sixth championship since taking over the franchise in 1994, while Jeffrey Lurie is hoping to celebrate his and his franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title after purchasing the team 24 years ago.
This is the second straight year in which two teams owned by Jewish bosses will meet in the Super Bowl. The Patriots faced the Atlanta Falcons, owned by Arthur Blank, last year.
In 2012, the New York Giants, co-owned by Steve Tisch, defeated Kraft’s Patriots in another such instance.
Kraft has made considerable contributions to Jewish and Israeli causes throughout the years, recently donating $6 million for the development of the Kraft Family Sports Campus, a multi-purpose sports center located in Emek Ha’arazim in Jerusalem.
Over decades, the Kraft family has donated more than $100m. to a variety of causes, including health care, education, the Jewish community, Christian organizations and local needs.
Lurie, who grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, attended Temple Israel of Boston as a child. Lurie is a former Patriots season ticket holder and was outbid by Kraft in an effort to purchase the team. Lurie contributes mainly to civic causes, but participated last year in a panel discussion, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, on “NFL Owners: Perspectives of Football, Philanthropy and Jewish Values.”
As of March 2015, the overall budget of US Bank Stadium was estimated to be $1.061 billion, with $348m. coming from the state of Minnesota, $150m. from the city of Minneapolis, over $100m. from the team, owned by the Wilfs since 2005, and $450m. from private contributions.
The Wilf family is also a heavy contributor to Jewish philanthropic causes, both in the US and Israel.
Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 10 have Jewish owners.