"At the other end, the team becomes a contested part of the divorce, there is a battle for control, or Jeff has to sell in order to raise cash for the settlement. That would be doomsday."
The unfortunate, red-flag-raising precedent is the divorce that led to the recent sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The franchise became the focus of an ugly battle between owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. After several years and many public spats, the McCourts agreed to sell their biggest asset for a record $2 billion.
It seems as if the McCourt mess was on the Luries' minds when they crafted the carefully worded statement that was released - ironically or coincidentally - on Independence Day.
"Please be assured that this decision will have no impact whatsoever on the ownership, the business, and the operations of the Philadelphia Eagles football team," the Luries said. "We are certain that our family's future and our collective future as colleagues will be a bright one."
Without mentioning them, the real message seems to be: "We are not the McCourts."
But no one sets out to be the McCourts, including the McCourts. When they announced their separation in 2009, they assured everyone there would be no impact on the Dodgers.
"Speculation about a potential sale of the team is rubbish," Marshall Grossman, Frank McCourt's attorney, said. "Frank McCourt is the sole owner. He has absolutely no intention of selling this team now or ever."
A few years before the Dodgers sale, the San Diego Padres also were sold as a result of a contested divorce.
The Dodgers and Padres are in California, where divorce law requires a 50-50 split of all assets. In most other states, including Pennsylvania, the standard is an "equitable" split. Still, that could mean Jeffrey Lurie has to compensate Christina for her share of the value of the team. Since that is somewhere north of a billion dollars, the only way to raise those funds could be to sell the asset.
There are some unknowns here. Pre- and postnuptial agreements could be part of the equation. It isn't clear whether the team is in Jeffrey's name or in both of their names. At the time of the 1994 purchase from Norman Braman, Jeffrey Lurie was approved by the NFL with his mother and uncle listed as co-owners. He subsequently sold minority shares to Richard J. Green of Firstrust Bank and Michael Michelson, an executive with the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Neither the Eagles nor the NFL make ownership details public, according to spokesmen.
There is a much bigger factor than divorce laws in preventing the Eagles from the same fate as the Dodgers. Simply put, the Luries are not the McCourts, who drained money from the Dodgers to finance a lavish lifestyle.
"The Luries have been great stewards of that franchise," Rosner said. "They do a lot of good work with Eagles Youth Partnership. They've had a lot of success. The only thing they haven't done is win a Super Bowl."
The Luries' biggest perceived offense is changing the Eagles uniforms from kelly to midnight green.
"Personality is everything," said Brett Kimmel, a New York divorce attorney who has handled celebrity clients including Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. "People can agree to continue to own assets together. They do it with homes, for example. A divorcing couple might agree to continue owning a home until the market improves or until a child finishes school."
Kimmel thought the initial public statement was telling.
"Really negative emotions are often expressed, and felt, at the outset of a separation," Kimmel said. "From my personal experience, the intent to remain amiable and approach this from a positive standpoint does bode well."
Those best intentions are a good place to start. Real life can change everything. And that's what ultimately will decide whether this personal matter spills over to the Eagles franchise.
"Any one of four players - the wife, the husband, or their lawyers - can become unreasonable," Kimmel said. "That's when anything can happen."
A truly amicable divorce may be harder to achieve than a Super Bowl. If the Luries can manage the first, with the welfare of their family as well as their franchise in mind, that could help them deliver the second.
Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan