Super Bowl

South Florida automotive tycoon once owned the Philadelphia Eagles

Pictured in a file photo, Norman and Irma Braman stand in a third floor exhibit at the brand new Institute for Contemporary Art in front of Philip Guston's The Door, 1976. Collection of Martin Z. Margulies.
Pictured in a file photo, Norman and Irma Braman stand in a third floor exhibit at the brand new Institute for Contemporary Art in front of Philip Guston's The Door, 1976. Collection of Martin Z. Margulies. emichot@miamiherald.com

Billionaire Norman Braman is known for being the owner of one of Florida’s largest car dealerships.

But for a nine-year stretch, from 1985 to 1994, during the early days of building his automotive franchise in Florida, the Philadelphia native and Miami resident was also the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles.

It has been more than two decades since Braman sold the franchise at its peak to Jeffrey Lurie for a then-record $185 million, but it wasn’t hard this weekend to see how far the team has come. The Eagles won their first Super Bowl on Sunday with a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots.

Braman’s ties to the Eagles, however, long preceded his tenure as the franchise’s owner. As a teenager, Braman was a water boy while the team went through training camp in the 1940s when the Eagles practiced in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

The Eagles went 79-63-1 overall during Braman’s time as owner, including five straight 10-win seasons from 1988 to 1992. Philadelphia made the playoffs four times in that span but only went 1-4 in the postseason.

But while NFL owner is still a highlight on his résumé, most of Braman’s success came as an automotive tycoon.

His fortunes in that industry began in 1972 when he bought a Tampa Cadillac dealership. Three years later, he made his way to Miami. His company now has franchises in Florida and Colorado. Braman, 85, has a net worth of $2.6 billion, according to Forbes.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Eagles coach Doug Pederson for his coaching performance as the Eagles beat the Patriots, 41-33.

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