Broncos top Seahawks in political contributions; Texans lead the NFL

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With a trip to Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos may be one of the best teams in football, but it also is another NFL leader – in donations to federal candidates

Owners, employees and relatives of the Broncos’ organization gave at least $84,000 to candidates and parties since January 2011, says Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars in USA Today.

That’s almost twice the amount spent by their Super Bowl opponents, the Seattle Seahawks.

In all, the 32 teams, players’ unions and associated individuals with the National Football League have given $7.7 million to federal campaigns in the past three years, with nearly three-quarters going to Republicans and their causes.

The Broncos are also generous donors to the GOP and the league’s political action committee, Schouten and Schnaars report.

Broncos’ executive and former quarterback John Elway gave $50,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, as well as $3,500 to Republican U.S. Rep Mike Coffman, who represents parts of Denver.

Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning is also a Republican supporter, with $5,200 in contributions to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander last year. Alexander was president of the University of Tennessee while Manning was the school’s quarterback in the 1990s.

“I always root for Peyton Manning,” Alexander told USA Today. “I don’t know a finer representative of the university.”

For the Seahawks, owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gave more than $40,000 during the same period, divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

Campaign donations range from Republican U.S. Rep. David Camp, chair of the House tax-writing committee, to two-term Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft executive.

Although they are strong on the field, neither of the Super Bowl teams led the NFL in political spending. That award goes to the Houston Texans, whose owner, billionaire Robert McNair, funneled $3 million to Republican super PACs to support candidates for the White House and Congress in 2012.

McNair has not yet decided on a 2016 candidate to support.

Not all NFL teams are GOP supporters. Pittsburgh Steelers leader Dan Rooney, the team and associated individuals spent a total of $480,000, with 68 percent going to Democrats. Rooney campaigned for President Barack Obama in Pennsylvania in the last election.  

Two-thirds of New York Giants contributions also went to Democrats; one of them was New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Booker also received campaign money from Giants chair Steven Tisch, wide receiver Victor Cruz and defensive end Justin Tuck during his drive to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Former Oakland Raider Andrew Walter, running as a Republican to unseat Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, scored donations from past teammates, including $550 from Raiders quarterback coach John DeFilippo.

The Broncos’ Brock Osweiler also gave to Walter’s campaign, and plans to support his campaign in the off-season.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.