In the summer of 2009, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was on Martha’s Vineyard, grappling with a tough decision.

Michael Vick, a transformational combo running and passing quarterback who took the NFL by storm before pleading guilty to federal charges related to illegal dog fighting, had just finished his 18-month prison sentence. Most league coaches, general managers and owners were hesitant about signing Mr. Vick out of jail.

Mr. Lurie, who was with businessman, civil rights activist and Washington power-broker Vernon Jordan at the time, decided to ask his good Vineyard friend a hypothetical.

“I said, Vernon — I didn’t tell him what was up — but I said, ‘if a team were to give Michael Vick a second chance, what would you think?’” Mr. Lurie recalled in an interview with the Gazette Thursday. “[Mr. Jordan] said, ‘you know, assuming he feels terrible about what he did, Black people usually don’t get a second chance. I would be proud of any team that gave him a second chance.’”

Mr. Vick signed with the Eagles that August. He would go on to have his best statistical season ever in 2010, make the NFL Pro Bowl and win Comeback Player of the Year.

More than a decade later, and Mr. Lurie, an Edgartown homeowner, has had to make countless difficult decisions — many of them leading directly to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in 2018, and their remarkable turnaround to make it back to the Super Bowl again after hiring a new coach and drafting a new quarterback two years ago.

In a phone interview with the Gazette from Phoenix in the run-up to this year’s Super Bowl between the Eagles and the Chiefs, Mr. Lurie, likely the only NFL owner with multiple Academy Awards and a doctorate in social policy, reflected on his philosophy as a team owner and his penchant for tough decisions, noting how both have been shaped by experiences off the field, everywhere from Philadelphia to a tiny Island off the coast of Massachusetts.

“I think I tend to really . . . embrace the difficult decisions because they’re the most interesting to analyze, before you make them,” Mr. Lurie said. “You’re going to make mistakes. But do what gives you the best chance for big success, and don’t worry about short-term, public perception.”

Mr. Lurie, whose grandfather started the General Cinema movie theatre franchise, grew up in Boston, an avid sports fan of the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots. After a career in film production and academia, serving as adjunct faculty of social policy at Boston University, he tried to buy his hometown New England Patriots, but dropped out of the bidding when the financials became complicated, partly because St. Louis didn’t get an expansion franchise, he said.

The Eagles’ situation was much simpler.

“The Eagles came up, and they are one of the real iconic franchises with a great fan base. It just all came together quickly,” Mr. Lurie said. “I was all in, and had to revamp and figure out how to make them a much more successful franchise.”

The Eagles, who had never won a Super Bowl, made it to the big game in 2004 but came up short against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Mr. Lurie got his revenge against his childhood team in 2018, bringing Philadelphia its first Lombardi Trophy and cementing his legacy as a hero in his adopted hometown.

“Obviously, to win the Super Bowl is incredibly rewarding, but to win it against your original hometown team that you were a fan of, is probably even more rewarding,” Mr. Lurie said. “Philly has always been a football city, and to bring them their first Super Bowl was just incredibly wonderful.”

He bought the team for $155 million in 1994 — the highest sale price in the history of American sports at the time. In 2022, Forbes estimated the team’s worth at $4.9 billion.

“It worked out,” Mr. Lurie said.

Mr. Lurie said that even as a sports-crazed kid he never truly envisioned the reality of owning a professional team. But he grew up playing arm-chair general manager, watching from a distance as San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh and Celtics coach Red Auerbach never shied away from tough decisions.

“I would play the part, when I was in my teens and twenties, ‘if I were the owner or general manager of a team, mainly the Boston teams, what would I do?’” Mr. Lurie said. “I never knew I’d own a team, but I wanted to try to analyze what the best way of operating a very successful team would be, and part of that is being willing to make unorthodox or unpopular decisions that were clearly best for the franchise, or had the chance to be. One of those was drafting Jalen Hurts, an unpopular decision. But glad we did it.”

The Eagles selected Mr. Hurts, their current quarterback, in the second round of the 2020 draft. He became their starter last year after Carson Wentz went down with an injury and hasn’t looked back, leading the team to the playoffs in 2022 and the Super Bowl this year.

Mr. Lurie said there was never any doubt about the decision on draft night, as he, staff and general manager Howard Roseman, who has been with the team in various roles for 20 years, prepared for the pick with more than three months of research.

“We do everything collaboratively, the coach, the general manager, the owner, our staff. These are not last-minute decisions,” Mr. Lurie said. “We went into that draft knowing that if nobody jumped us, or took him beforehand, in the second round we were taking Jalen no matter what.”

During his tenure as Eagles’ owner, Mr. Lurie has also made unique coaching hires, choosing three head coaches who emerged from near-anonymity to lead the team to Super Bowls: Andy Reid, Doug Pederson and, most recently, Nick Sirianni, who had a particularly rocky start after an opening press conference that sports-talk pundits panned as a vacuous word-salad.

But Mr. Lurie said he cared more about on-field results.

“My process of picking head coaches has never been about winning the press conference,” Mr. Lurie said. “Andy Reid, Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni, nobody else interviewed them. They are sort of gems that had not been interviewed about other teams. I’ve never worried about the public perception of anything, from drafting Jalen Hurts to picking a coach who no one ever heard of.”

That philosophy has helped the team’s philanthropic and social justice efforts off the field, Mr. Lurie said. He said his main focus has been the organization’s Autism foundation, but the team has also put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a social justice fund, gun violence prevention and financial literacy, initiatives he felt were inspired by his time getting his doctorate in social policy at Brandeis.

Mr. Lurie also produced Questlove’s Oscar-winning documentary Summer of Soul about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which had a showing on Martha’s Vineyard last summer.

Despite efforts to remake its image, the NFL remains a controversial league, wrestling with life-threatening injuries to its players, accusations of racism from coaches, and criticism from fans about ever-changing rules. Yet it is still by far the most popular sports product in America, and tens of millions of people are expected to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Mr. Lurie said the league’s parity — a product of every team having the same spending limits — combined with its on-field excitement, contribute to its unrelenting cultural power.

“It’s by far the most entertaining and strategic sport,” Mr. Lurie said. “It’s amazing live, and it’s amazing on television. And when every fan in the country believes their team has an equal chance because of the salary cap, that makes all the world of difference in terms of popularity.”

The Super Bowl matchup on Sunday has its own personal narrative for Mr. Lurie. Andy Reid, the iconic coach who spent 12 years with the Eagles before taking a job with the Chiefs in Kansas City, will be on the other sideline this go-round. Mr. Lurie said the two

text often and remain very close family friends.

“It’s one of the few games I won’t be rooting for Andy,” Mr. Lurie said. “He’s going to win more Super Bowls with Patrick [Mahomes]. I hope not Sunday.”

Mr. Lurie also loves the Vineyard, he said, spending summers on the Island for the past 20 to 30 years. He likes to golf on the Island, constantly hears people say “Go Birds” when walking around in Edgartown or Oak Bluffs, and brought the Lombardi Trophy to the Island when the team won in 2018. He said to expect something similar if the team wins Sunday.

“It’s a magical place,” Mr. Lurie said. “There are a lot of Eagles fans on the Vineyard . . . in July or August, we’ll do another Lombardi party if we’re lucky enough to win it.”