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As the 32 NFL owners meet today in Chicago to discuss the five finalists to replace Commissioner Paul Tagliabue NFL Exec VP & COO Roger Goodell, NFL outside counsel Gregg Levy, Cleveland-based attorney Frederick Nance, Fidelity Investments Vice Chair & COO Robert Reynolds and Constellation Energy Chair, President & CEO Mayo Shattuck Goodell is seen as the favorite. Some owners “believe that if there is a decision at this week’s meeting, only Goodell can get the 22 votes needed for selection.” Goodell’s “biggest problem with discontented owners like [the Bills’ Ralph] Wilson could be his longtime association with the league” (AP, 8/6).
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: The following presents brief biographical information about each candidate (THE DAILY).
Currently the NFL’s COO and Tagliabue’s No. 2 man.
Born February 19, 1959 in Jamestown, New York.
He is the son of former U.S. Rep. and Sen. Charles Goodell (R-NY). Charles Goodell served as a congressman from western New York for ten years and was then appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Roger Goodell graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 1981 with a degree in economics.
He started with the NFL as a PR intern in 1982 – cutting and compiling clips (pre- SportsBusiness Daily). A year later, he went to intern in the PR and admin departments of the New York Jets and in 1984, he went back to the league office as a PR assistant.
In 1987 he was appointed assistant to the president of the American Football Conference (AFC), Lamar Hunt, by then-NFL Commissioner Rozelle.
He was named NFL executive vice president and chief operating officer by Tagliabue in December 2001
He lives in the New York area with his wife Jane and their twin daughters.
Partner in the Washington, DC, law firm of Covington & Burling (Tagliabue’s former law firm).
Born January 18, 1953 in Columbus, Ohio.
Graduated with a B.A. from Harvard in 1974, then a J.D. from Harvard in 1977.
Levy is the only other candidate with a direct NFL background. He was lead counsel in Maurice Clarett’s case. He is also lead counsel for the NFL itself.
Married with four children.
Managing Partner at the Cleveland law firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey, where he focuses on commercial litigation, public sector law and construction.
Born in 1953 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Received a B.A. from Harvard in 1975 and a J.D. from Michigan in 1978.
He is the only minority candidate for the commissioner’s post.
He handled negotiations for the city of Cleveland when the Browns returned in 1999. He was also the lawyer for the group that developed the construction for the new Browns Stadium.
Married with two children.
Robert L. Reynolds
Vice chairman and COO of Fidelity Investments in Boston.
Born March 10, 1952, in West Virgina.
Graduated from West Virginia in 1974 with a B.A. in Business Administration.
Reynolds was a college football referee for 15 years.
He was a trust officer at Wheeling Dollar Bank. He joined NCNB Corp. of Charlotte, NC, in 1977. He later became Senior VP of NCNB, now Bank of America. He was also Exec VP of Fidelity Management Trust Company and president of Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Company.
Married with four children.
Mayo A. Shattuck III
Chair, President & CEO of Constellation Energy Group, Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland.
Born October 7 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Graduated from Williams College in 1976 and received his MBA from Stanford Univ. in 1980.
Married to wife Molly, who made the Ravens cheerleading squad for the second year this year.
They have five children.
IS THIS THE WEEK? In N.Y., Gary Myers cites a source as saying that “if doubts arise about Goodell, ... Tagliabue’s successor will not be picked this week, with the owners asking for more time to familiarize themselves with the three outside candidates” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/7). But NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw said the owners will stay in Chicago “until they get a commissioner. They better because (Tagliabue) is heading to China, and we have to get that done” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 8/4).
CLUBHOUSE LEADER: NBC’s Andrea Kremer reported, “The perception of some owners is that a weak field of three candidates from outside the league makes the deck stacked in favor of Goodell, ... and that has some owners decrying what they call the transparency of the selection process” (“Sunday Night Football,” 8/6). Former 49ers and Browns President Carmen Policy said of Goodell, “If I was still involved, there’d be no question –- I’d want someone of Roger’s character, Roger’s experience, Roger’s background and Roger’s dedication. The question is, is there someone else who fills that role? I don’t see it” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/6).
OTHER CANDIDATES: In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino wrote Goodell and Levy are the “only two candidates familiar to most NFL owners” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/6). In Cleveland, Tony Grossi wrote many inside the NFL “believe the only candidate who might upset Goodell is Levy” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/6). In N.Y., Judy Battista wrote the inclusion of Levy “surprised some observers,” but “acknowledged Levy’s impact on the league.” Levy, whose “career mirrors” Tagliabue’s, is “considered one of the top practitioners of sports law in the country.” Raiders Owner Al Davis, a “well-known adversary” of Levy, said, “He has been very good in league legal work. I’ve had to fight him quite a bit.” But one unidentified owner said of Levy, “I just don’t see him carrying the day with the other owners and convincing the owners to pick him over others” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/5). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Myers wrote Goodell’s “strongest challenge will come from” Reynolds (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/6). The N.Y. TIMES’ Battista notes Reynolds “was proposed by” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, who “will presumably support him, at least in the early voting” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7).
KEEPING YOU INFORMED: We will be on the ground in Chicago this week as NFL owners meet to name a new commissioner. We will be blogging once the meetings commence today and will continue filing until the meetings adjourn.
Stern Says NBA Plans To Double
Chinese Operations In Next Two Years
FINE CHINA: Stern during a visit to China over the weekend said the league “plans to double the size of its China operations over the next two years to help keep pace with rapid growth in demand for its products in the country.” Stern said that sales of NBA-branded products and broadcast rights in China “have been growing at 30% a year.” The league currently has three offices in China with about 50 staffers, and Stern said, “My guess is we’ll double it in size by the [’08] Beijing Olympics” (AP, 8/7).
MLS All-Stars Help Validate
League With Victory Over Chelsea
IMPORTANT WIN: Fire F Nate Jaqua said of MLS’ victory over Chelsea, “Everybody knows our league is improving and we are a good league. ... They were in preseason, but we were out there with world-class players and we were competitive. To beat them is a good experience” (ILLINOIS DAILY HERALD, 8/6). FC Dallas MF Richard Mulrooney: “This win is a small step for MLS and U.S. soccer. Obviously we still have the idea of what happened at the World Cup this summer, and that's probably going to stick around a while. But days like this definitely push that aside just a little bit.” Wizards D Jimmy Conrad added, “These games just show that the perceived gap between American soccer and European soccer is closing, at least perception-wise, and that we have players who can compete” (SI.com, 8/5). But United and MLS All-Star Game coach Peter Nowak said MLS “still has a long way to go” (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 8/5).
MEDIA REAX: SI.com’s Grant Wahl wrote the win over Chelsea “wasn’t confirmation that MLS has arrived as some sort of global power, or that the league somehow made up for the U.S.'s first-round exit at the World Cup. Chelsea was very much a team in preseason form and fitness.” But at ”at a time when MLS is moving in a positive direction ... the product on the field is starting to get a little bit better too” (SI.com, 8/5). In Chicago, Luis Arroyave called the win “an encouraging sign for the growing league” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/6). Also in Chicago, Len Ziehm wrote the victory “will be heard around the world” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/6). But ESPNSOCCERNET.com’s Jeff Carlisle wrote the “adrenalin rush will wear off and there are plenty of things that won't change.” Real progress “can only be measured in international club competitions” (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 8/5).
EXPANSION: MLS Commissioner Don Garber held his state of the league address on Friday and said that the league “expects to expand to 14 teams by 2008 and 16 teams by 2010.” Potential cities include Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta and Miami (DAILY SOUTHTOWN, 8/5). During halftime of ESPN’s MLS All-Star Game telecast, Garber said of expansion, “Cleveland’s really a front runner right now, but so is St. Louis. Good things are happening in Milwaukee, good things happening in a number of other cities. Very bullish” (ESPN, 8/5). Garber hosted a chat on MLSnet.com on Friday where one fan asked when he could buy tickets for a Philadelphia-area franchise. Garber: “Keep your [credit] card at the ready; we hope you’ll have an opportunity soon” (MLSNET.com, 8/4).
SUMMER CAMP: An announced crowd of 92,650 attended a doubleheader yesterday at the L.A. Coliseum featuring Chivas USA-Revolution and FC Barcelona-Chivas Guadalajara (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/7). Barcelona “is expected to continue drawing large crowds” when its plays Wednesday at Reliant Stadium against Club America and Saturday against the Red Bulls at Giants Stadium (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/6). Barcelona’s three-match U.S. tour “will earn the club a reported $6[M] and will be followed by more than 800 media from 20 countries” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/6).
McGwire Refusing To Cooperate
With MLB’s Steroid Investigation
The Grand Prix Manufacturer’s Association (GPMA), which includes BMW, Honda, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota, is again “threatening to withdraw” from F1, and “is expected to escalate the dispute this week” when it meets with FIA President Max Mosley, according to Dominic O’Connell of the LONDON TIMES. At issue is Mosley’s plan “to halt engine development between 2008 and 2011.” GPMA Chair and outgoing BMW head of engineering Burkhard Goeschel said, “Why would any manufacturer want to invest in a sport where they can’t showcase their technical expertise?” Honda Racing Development VP Otmar Szafnauer added, “We are at a very important milestone for F1, a situation I have not seen in the sport before. Freezing technology is anathema to motor sport.” A senior F1 source said that the engine dispute is “a symptom of a wider power struggle between the manufacturers and the FIA.” The source said, “The manufacturers are spending [US$257.9-$386.8M] each year on their teams and yet feel they don’t have a proper say. Mosley doesn’t want the manufacturers to run the show –- he wants to go back to the old days of more privateer cars and the races being decided by the skills of the driver” (LONDON TIMES, 8/6).