Who is Bruce Beal, the man who’d take over the Dolphins if Steve Ross leaves?

The NFL requires teams to have a succession plan in place in case owners die or decide to sell their franchises. Given former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ allegations against owner Steve Ross, the notion of Ross selling the business has become less far fetched. But who would succeed him as owner?

Since 2016, that man with the contractual right to acquire the Dolphins has been Bruce Beal, New York real estate executive and currently Dolphins vice chairman and partner.

This week, Flores, who was fired by Ross in January, filed a stunning lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against Blacks by the Dolphins, the NFL and other teams. The complaint also alleged that in 2019 Ross offered to pay Flores $100,000 per contest to lose games in a supposed effort to secure a high pick in the NFL draft.

Ross and the Dolphins have denied the lawsuit’s allegations. The league has also declared the charges lack merit, although ESPN has reported that the NFL will investigate Flores’ allegations of payments to lose games.

If Flores’ legal team manages to prove the accusations, the league could seek to strip Ross of his ownership of a Miami franchise valued by Forbes last year at $3.42 billion. Ross first invested in the team in 2008, when he bought a 50% share from the late Fort Lauderdale billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga. He bought the rest of the business in 2009.

Enter Beal, who, in addition to his roles as Dolphins vice chairman and partner, is president and partner of Ross’s Related Companies in New York, a network of real estate development firms that operates in multiple U.S. cities, as well as in London and Abu Dhabi.

Related Companies did not immediately respond to an emailed request Friday for an interview with Beal.

According to the company’s website, Beal joined Related in 1995. Over the years, he rose to the company presidency, and is now “responsible for overseeing the day-to-day development process for projects across all asset classes throughout the country.” That includes Related’s acquisition, finance and construction activities, as well as the oversight of the company’s existing portfolio of properties and affordable housing initiatives.

Beal has also made his mark in community service in the New York area. He is a trustee for New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Citizens Budget Commission and Riverdale Country School, an independent school for children pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

He is a board member of the Community Preservation Corporation in New York, and serves on the executive committee, board of governors and housing committee of the Real Estate Board of New York, a real estate industry trade association.

A graduate of Harvard University, Beal serves on the advisory board of the Ivy League institution’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.

Beal has maintained a low profile in his role as a vice chair and partner of the Dolphins. It is Ross who serves as the chief spokesman about important matters affecting the team’s business.

But on Jan. 31, 2020, Beal teamed with Miami Beach energy investor Wayne Boich to throw a star-studded Super Bowl party for 300 sports and entertainment celebrities, according to various social media and magazine reports.

The guests included active and retired professional football players such as Joe Montana and Dan Marino, and a then not-yet retired Tom Brady, who attended with his wife, fashion model Gisele Bündchen.

Also in attendance: entertainers Cardi B and Wyclef Jean, as well as Ross and Jorge Perez, founder of Related Group in South Florida. Perez is also listed as a vice chair on the Dolphins website. Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and musical artist Marc Anthony are listed as partners.

Trading Cousteau for Construction

Beal is the son of Bruce A. Beal Sr., chairman of Related Beal of Boston, a real estate development company whose legacy dates to 1878. His mother was an investment adviser in Boston.

After prep school at Concord Academy in Massachusetts, the younger Beal graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In college, football did not appear to be his game. But he did participate in lightweight rowing, according to his LinkedIn account.

Beal joined Related as an executive in 1995, two years after graduation.

Four years later, he married Kathryn Fauss Patton, then a medical student from Seattle who graduated from Harvard at the same time as her husband, according to a New York Times wedding announcement in August 1999.

By the 2000s, Beal’s executive career was on a fast track.

“Real estate runs in Bruce A. Beal Jr.’s blood,” said Crain’s New York Business in a 2009 “40 Under 40″ profile that focused on up-and-coming area executives. “His father owns a development company in Boston, and industry talk often dominated dinner table conversation.”

The profile noted the younger Beal “never expected to follow in his father’s footsteps” because as a child “he longed to be the next Jacques Cousteau.” As a student, the profile noted, he attended marine biology camps and worked at a dolphin laboratory in Hawaii.

Nonetheless, he ended up in the real estate business. And involved with a different kind of Dolphins.

“Building and construction are very tangible,” Beal told Crain’s. “It’s great to look at something and say, ‘We built that.’”