The New England Patriots might be a football dynasty and the LA Rams could be the league’s hottest team, but that hasn’t kept them from paying attention to business and finance. CNBC spoke with players on both teams ahead of the Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta to get their take on a variety of business topics.
When asked what company they would like to invest in or become CEO of, the most popular answer – by far – was Amazon. Several players highlighted Amazon’s dominance across so many areas.
“It’s incredible what they’ve done and what Jeff Bezos has been able to do,” said Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona. “Amazon’s starting to get a hammerlock on all kinds of different markets,” said the Rams’ Austin Blythe. “I should have bought Amazon 15 years ago,” said teammate Jake McQuaide, “but now it’s too late, we missed the boat, we have to figure out what the next one is.”
“Right now Amazon, they’re killing it,” said Patriots running back Rex Burkhead. “It seems like they’re taking over the world.”
A distant second was Apple, mentioned by players on both teams. Blythe loves Apple products, but he did have a direct message for CEO Tim Cook. “Do not let people use FaceTime to spy on their friends and family,” referencing the well-publicized bug this week.
Other picks included Walmart, Ralph Lauren and Nike. Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds chose Chick-fil-A, saying: “If I were the CEO, I’d have them open on Sundays.” He even admitted he ate some this week in Atlanta ahead of the big game.
Others see opportunity in energy. The Rams’ Gerald Everett said he’d like to run Chevron, saying: “Everybody’s not going to drive a Tesla, so the gas company will still be on top for a while.”
Some relied on personal experience. “Costco is arguably the greatest store in America,” said the Rams’ Brian Allen. “I have the highest membership you can have, so naturally I go once a week.” He added that he buys water bottles in bulk, and that in high school he and his friends would go there just to eat the food.
Netflix was a big topic of discussion, as many players have a subscription and spend their free time watching. Despite the recent price hike, nobody is planning to cancel their subscription. “I can swing that, but at some point if it’s 20 bucks it’ll definitely be annoying,” said Patriots defensive end John Simon, adding “but they’ve been upgrading their shows.” The Rams’ John Johnson agreed with the price hike, “I think it’s a good idea honestly, because people have been using it up.”
Players on both teams referenced Warren Buffett. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski said he looked up to Buffett as a business inspiration, “he makes the right calls,” while Ndamukong Suh of the Rams said he talks with Buffett frequently and has some special investments coming. Teammate Allen wished he had bought Berkshire Hathaway shares years ago.
But there was one thing players on both teams agreed on. They’d all rather win the NFL championship game than any other measure of financial success. “Win the Super Bowl, for sure,” said Blythe.