SBD/Issue 222/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Goodell Could Face Challenges Quickly In New Role At NFL

Revenue Sharing Could Be First
Big Issue For Goodell To Tackle

If Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver “had the right sense of his colleagues’ feelings” at last week’s NFL owners meetings, NFL Commissioner-elect Roger Goodell “might soon find himself in a crisis mode,” according to Vito Stellino of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Weaver indicated that the “consensus of owners is that they need a new business model.” Stellino noted the owners can opt out of the CBA after the ’09 season, meaning the “onus would then be on Goodell to convince” NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw that the union “should give back some of the perks it won last March” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/13). Bills GM Marv Levy said, “Our league is in solid shape, but revenue sharing is still a big concern for the Bills and other small-market franchises. Now that we have a new commissioner, I’m hoping we can get this issue resolved” (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/13). But Upshaw said of the owners’ concerns over the CBA, “This is just a bunch of guys raising their voices to a level where people will listen to them. We have a deal, and that deal says there has to be revenue sharing, and that means the low-revenue clubs will get their share. What they are complaining about is their profits are not going to be as much as they used to be” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/14 issue).

LEVY: In N.Y., Gary Myers wrote the owners “were concerned that Goodell would leave the NFL if he lost to [outside counsel Gregg] Levy and they didn’t want that to happen.” Levy’s “strong showing could lead to a more prominent role in the Goodell administration” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/12). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Daniel Kaplan cites a source who was in the room during Levy’s presentation to owners as saying, “There is a very strong consensus among owners that this is a guy who has a lot more horsepower than we have been using.” SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said Levy “is on the radar screen on a lot of major positions, including commissionerships” (SBJ, 8/14 issue).

NANCE: In Atlanta, Orlando Ledbetter reported the Fritz Pollard Alliance recommended Cleveland-based attorney Frederick Nance, as well as three other minorities, as candidates to replace Paul Tagliabue. Fritz Pollard Alliance attorney Cyrus Mehri: “One of the other three made it to the final 11. We also know the other two were strongly considered. We know [the NFL] gave it a good, broad look at a strong slate of candidates.” Mehri “believes Goodell will continue the work Tagliabue started in terms of diversity in hiring practices.” Mehri noted Goodell “has consistently been a strong advocate for diversity in the NFL” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/13). Nance said of Goodell, “I think the best man for the job got the job” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/13).

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: In Orlando, Chris Harry wrote Tagliabue “was brilliant, but in news conferences, he often came across as condescending, even arrogant. Goodell seems more down to earth, more approachable, more charismatic. And if the NFL isn’t successful enough, imagine the league with an affable and magnetic personality as its front man” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/13). SI’s Peter King wrote Goodell has “a soft side to him, an optimism, that people who’ve made the kind of tough deals he’s made often don’t have. They become cynics, which Goodell is definitely not” (, 8/14). In Westchester, Harold Gutmann wrote under the header, “Goodell A Natural Leader” (WESTCHESTER JOURNAL NEWS, 8/13).

Armstrong Points Out Disparity In
Perception Of Cycling And Football
THE FORGOTTEN ISSUE? In Baltimore, David Steele writes of sports fans’ perception of the NFL, “Name the sport that you’re convinced is tainted by steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. Baseball, not the NFL. Name the sport that seems full of criminals who are apt to scare away fans, advertisers and TV networks. The NBA, not the NFL” (Baltimore SUN, 8/13). But in S.F., Bruce Jenkins called the NFL “the dirtiest sport this side or professional wrestling. It is veritably founded on performance enhancement. Somehow, the mood surrounding it has remained innocent and carefree. ... There’s no way this drug-infested league should get off the hook among those demanding an even playing field” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/12). The Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard said, “The bloated NFL offers a great illusion of policing itself, somehow making us believe that the 155-pound cyclist is artificial, but the 360-pound lineman is natural. ... The league Goodell has inherited rarely catches its own frauds” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/13). Lance Armstrong added, “If the NFL had the same [drug] policy that cycling had, we’d [be] talking about something different than Floyd Landis right now” (INDY STAR, 8/13).

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