|08-06-2006, 11:00 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Ville
Goodell still the favorite as the commissioner search begins
By DAVE GOLDBERG, AP Football Writer
August 6, 2006
NORTHBROOK, Ill. (AP) -- What is expected to be the final act of the NFL's search for a new commissioner begins Monday, the first of three days of meetings that seem likely to end with Roger Goodell being picked as Paul Tagliabue's successor.
Nothing is likely to be determined until late Tuesday at the earliest. The first day and a half will be given over to introducing the five finalists to the 32 owners, who will begin gathering Sunday night at a hotel in the Chicago suburbs.
There is little reason to think that the 47-year-old Goodell, the league's chief operating officer, won't emerge as Tagliabue's successor. He has seemingly been groomed for the job for the last half-dozen years, acting as Tagliabue's right-hand man. He was one of the favorites for the position when Tagliabue announced in March that he was retiring after 17 years as commissioner and seems to have retained that momentum throughout the selection process.
Still, there is some opposition, notably from small-market/low-revenue teams that feel the league continues to favor the ones from big markets with big money. Twenty-two votes from the 32 teams are necessary to elect a new commissioner and it's conceivable that 11 teams or more could vote for someone else on the first ballot and potentially deadlock the election.
That's what happened in 1989, when the late Jim Finks, then the New Orleans general manager, was the favorite. But he was blocked early and Tagliabue eventually was elected three-and-a-half months later.
On Monday, each of the finalists will get to spend about 45 minutes with all 32 owners. During the first part of that time, they will introduce themselves. Then they will answer questions from the owners.
There could be additional meetings between the candidates and the owners again Tuesday morning.
Those familiar with the process believe that only Goodell can be elected at these meetings -- and that that is likely. But if he's not, it opens the door for one of the other finalists.
They include Gregg Levy, the NFL's Washington lawyer -- the same position that Tagliabue held when he was elected; Fred Nance, a Cleveland attorney who was deeply involved with the Browns' return to Cleveland after Art Modell moved the original franchise to Baltimore; Robert L. Reynolds, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Fidelity Investments and a former college referee; and Mayo A. Shattuck III of Baltimore, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Constellation Energy.
I just hope that this transition isnt the end of "camelot" that we have enjoyed with both Pete and Paul.