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NFL Selects New Commissioner

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 9, 2006 9:53PM

Chicagoist is a baseball fan, first and foremost, but the "national passtime" now officially takes a back seat to football in the hearts and minds of most American sport fans. Especially the NFL. And for that, the NFL can thank the incredible leadership of Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue. Rozelle lead the league from 1960 until 1989, when the outgoing Taliabue took over. During their combined tenure, the league became the most successful pro sports league, so it's no surprise that the league owners selected Tagliabue's right hand man for the job.

2006_08_sports_new_nfl_comm.gifAfter the league owners met in suburban Northbrook on Tuesday to vote, they announced Roger Goodell was selected as the new NFL commissioner. He joined the NFL as an intern in 1982 and has remained with the league pretty much ever since (except a '83 internship with the NY Jets), rising up through the organization and serving as COO since 2001. Clearly the NFL owners approve of the way the league has been run, as they elected to stay with the league's #2 man and elected him in far fewer ballots than either of his predecessors faced.

"We all knew Roger and had seen his level of performance, and you had to be impressed," said Bears Chairman Michael McCaskey, part of the eight-man search committee. "It was a standing ovation for the job Paul Tagliabue did. At the same time, it's a new era. We're now into the Roger Goodell era, and no organization is perfect. This is a chance to improve."

While the NFL has been a huge success over the past few decades, there are certainly areas for the new commissioner to try and improve the league. Don Pierson's top 5 areas of focus are:

  1. Revenue sharing
  2. New media
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Global marketing
  5. Diversity in hiring

Chicagoist tends to agree on that list. Part of the reason that the NFL has become so successful is that every team could compete in any given year. With revenue sharing and salary caps it didn't matter whether a team played in Green Bay or New York. But that's changed somewhat in recent years. This equality need to be preserved so that the Packers and Bills don't become like the Pirates or Royals in baseball. However, new media endevours like the NFL Network and online can grow league-wide revenue. So can international marketing. The league fights an uphill battle because American football isn't played globally like basketball or baseball. But could it's popularity be exported? And can he even export it to Los Angeles, which remains without an NFL team more than a decade after being left by both the Raiders and Rams. How can the second largest city not even support one team? Sure there are USC and UCLA in town, but do no other NFL cities compete with college programs? There has to be a way to return the NFL to Los Angeles and it looks like doing so will be Goodell's job. Hopefully, so will be getting rid of the new referees' uniforms.