Rush Limbaugh’s Hopes of Owning an NFL Team Didn’t Go Far With Roger Goodell

In another universe, the Los Angeles Rams — or maybe they’d still be in St. Louis — might be mourning the loss of co-owner Rush Limbaugh.

Yes, you read that correctly. Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who did Wednesday at age 70, once wanted to buy the Rams. When Limbaugh showed interest in 2009, the Rams were long removed from the days of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk scoring touchdowns at ease.

Limbaugh, a devoted Pittsburgh Steelers fan, would have made for an interesting NFL owner. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell quickly threw water on that idea in a very public manner.

Roger Goodell prevented Rush Limbaugh from buying the Rams

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In the fall of 2009, St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts approached Rush Limbaugh with an idea. 

Checketts wanted to buy the Rams, and he wanted Limbaugh in his ownership group. If Checketts bought the team, Limbaugh would hypothetically come in as a co-owner.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted nothing to do with Limbaugh. According to the New York Daily News, Goodell publicly slammed Limbaugh for a history of controversial comments. 

Goodell specifically had a problem with Limbaugh’s remarks in 2003 about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. While on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Limbaugh suggested the media had overrated McNabb because they wanted a Black quarterback to perform well.

Six years later, Goodell still wasn’t happy with Limbaugh.

“They are polarizing comments that we don’t think reflect accurately on the NFL or our players. I obviously do not believe that those comments are positive and they are divisive. That’s a negative thing for us. I disagree with those comments very strongly and I have told the players that.

Goodell explained that Limbaugh’s remarks essentially cost him any chance at ever owning an NFL team while Goodell remained in charge.

“I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL,” Goodell told reporters. “No. Absolutely not.”

Goodell wasn’t the only NFL figure who didn’t want Limbaugh

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The idea of Rush Limbaugh being an NFL co-owner set off a major firestorm in the fall of 2009.

According to the Daily News, Colts owner Jim Irsay publicly expressed misgivings about approving a group with Limbaugh as a co-owner. Like Roger Goodell, Irsay took issue with Limbaugh’s comments about Donovan McNabb.

“When there are comments that have been made that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive … our words do damage, and it’s something that we don’t need.”

ABC News published comments that McNabb made at a 2009 press conference about Limbaugh potentially joining the Rams.

“If he’s rewarded to buy [the Rams], congratulations to him. I won’t be in St. Louis no time soon,” McNabb said.

Checketts later dropped Limbaugh from the group before deciding nott o make a bid. Kroenke is still the owner in 2021, although he moved the Rams to Los Angeles after the 2015 season.

Rush Limbaugh had a complicated relationship with the NFL

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Rush Limbaugh loved football, but he also frequently shared his issues with the NFL.

Originally from Missouri, Rush Limbaugh later became a longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Limbaugh frequently appeared at Steelers games throughout the years.

The Steelers had not issued a statement about Limbaugh’s death as of publication.

An outspoken critic of Colin Kaepernick, Limbaugh frequently attacked the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for kneeling during the national anthem.

Limbaugh was among those who publicly suggested the NFL play a full season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL completed its 2020 campaign — with no cancelations — on February 7, over a week before Limbaugh died.

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