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Volume 24 No. 158

People and Pop Culture

NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL tops SI's list of the 50 most powerful people in sports, and as the “de facto CEO of the King of All Sports Leagues," he wields "considerable influence by dint of job title alone.” But Goodell has “consistently pushed, and sometimes trespassed, the boundaries of that authority.” He is “akin to the boxer who has more than power -- he has reach too.” Either you “approve of him or … you disapprove of him.” But like “his league, his supremacy is unmistakable” (SI, 3/11 issue).

Roger Goodell NFL Commissioner
David Stern NBA Commissioner
Phil Anschutz AEG Owner
John Skipper ESPN President
Bud Selig MLB Commissioner
Stan Kroenke Kroenke Sports Enterprises Owner
Mark Lazarus NBC Sports Group Chair
Jacques Rogge IOC President
Phil Knight Nike Chair
Hedge Fund Dude  
Mark Walter Dodgers Chair
Robert Kraft Patriots, MLS Revolution Owner
Sean McManus CBS Sports Group Chair
Michael Dolan IMG Chair & CEO
Eric Shanks Fox Sports co-President & co-COO
Sepp Blatter FIFA President
Mike Slive SEC Commissioner
Adam Silver NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO
Jerry Jones Cowboys Owner
Larry Ellison Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Oracle Racing Owner
Richard Scudamore EPL CEO
Bernie Ecclestone F1 CEO
Scott Boras MLB agent
Kevin Plank Under Armour President, Chair & CEO
Tim Finchem PGA Commissioner
Jim Delany Big Ten Commissioner
Gary Bettman NHL Commissioner
David Levy Turner Broadcasting President of Sales, Distribution & Sports
Glazer Family Buccaneers, EPL club Manchester United Owner
Carlos Brito A-B InBev CEO
Donald Fehr NHLPA Exec Dir
Herbert Hainer adidas Chair & CEO
Bob Bowman MLBAM President & CEO
Casey Wasserman Wasserman Media Group Chair & CEO
DeMaurice Smith NFLPA Exec Dir
Sheikh Mansour bin
Zayed Al Nahyan
EPL club Manchester City Owner
Travis Tygart USADA CEO
Mark Emmert NCAA President
John Riccitiello Electronic Arts CEO
Brian France NASCAR Chair & CEO
Alison Lewis,
Sharon Byers
Coca-Cola Senior VP/Marketing,
Senior VP/Sports & Marketing Partnerships
Al Haymon Boxing promoter
Ed O'Bannon Former UCLA basketball player
Barack Obama U.S. President
Dana White UFC President
Cindy Davis Nike Golf President
Tom Condon CAA Football co-Head
Mark Cuban Mavericks Owner
Stephen Espinoza Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM
Michael Jordan Bobcats Owner

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LIST: ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic went over the list this morning and Greenberg said of Goodell, "It's hard to argue right now that he isn’t the most powerful man in sports.” He noted there were "two glaring omissions" to the list, one of them being the fact there are "no current athletes” named. Golic said if an athlete had been picked, it has "got to be LEBRON." Golic: "I think LeBron has, in sports, become the guy.” But he added, “Just to understand this list, there are 13 CEOs, there are numerous presidents, other commissioners. So it’s that kind of list.” Greenberg suggested MARK EMMERT should not be on the list, saying, "It’s been fairly well documented at this point that he doesn’t have any idea what’s going on at the NCAA and the NCAA doesn’t have any idea what’s going on anywhere else. So I think we have more power than them” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 3/7). Meanwhile, several Golf Channel on-air personalilities debated Finchem's legacy. Damon Hack said it is the "focus on charity, the fact that every tournament event helps a local community when the PGA Tour visits.” Hack added that it is not only what Finchem has “done in terms of tournaments and growing the PGA Tour schedule,” but also the “focus on charity that helps a lot of people beyond the game of golf.” Gary Williams noted charitable dollars have "remained very robust ... in a time in which everybody has been affected by what has happened in the global markets." Williams: "The fact is that they never saw a significant dip at all in terms of the type of purses they were playing for or the charitable dollars that were given back into the local communities” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/7).

BREAKING IT DOWN: SI’s writers came up with their individual lists of the top 10 in their respective beats. Tom Verducci ranks the 10 most powerful people in baseball, while Don Banks ranks the NFL. Ian Thomsen ranks the NBA, Grant Wahl ranks global soccer, Andy Staples ranks college sports, Stu Hackel ranks the NHL and Richard Deitsch ranks sports media (, 3/6). ESPN's BILL SIMMONS was named the most powerful media figure, and CBS Sports Network’s Allie La Force said, "He sort of reaches a large platform of people with podcasts, obviously known for his award-winning writing, now he’s on television and he makes appearances. He has his Grantland website and he sort of approaches it from a fan's point of view, a guy covering sports who is also a sports fan.” CBS Sports Net’s Doug Gottlieb said, "I’m going to say it’s MIKE TIRICO, and maybe this is more for TV media and it’s just kind of the world I live in.” Gottlieb listed all of the sporting events Tirico hosts and said, “He’s incredibly well-rounded. I think he’s actually better in-studio as a studio host. ... He’s also good at play-by-play." La Force: "When I think of breaking news right now in multiple different sports, its ADAM SCHEFTER. Not only does he have over 2 million Twitter followers, he’s constantly breaking news on Twitter and he’s constantly on ESPN doing updates, giving reports on multiple teams.” Gottlieb: "I would say he and JAY GLAZER are 1-A and 1-B as far as covering NFL stories” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 3/6).

The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee named Univ. of Nebraska Chancellor HARVEY PERLMAN Chair, succeeding Virginia Tech President CHARLES STEGER. The current members of the committee are listed below:

Tulane President Scott Cowen Northern Illinois President John Peters
Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins Texas President Bill Powers
Florida President Bernie Machen Louisville President James Ramsey
USC President Max Nikias Western Kentucky President Gary Ransdell
Idaho President Duane Nellis Virginia Tech President Charles Steger
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman Cal State-Fresno President John Welty

SKINS GAME: The Redskins named former Chargers GM A.J. SMITH Senior Executive. Smith is entering his 29th season working in the NFL. He has been with five different teams, most recently having served 14 years with the Chargers (Redskins). It is "unclear what role Smith will have with the Redskins." He "will join his son, KYLE, who has served as a Redskins scout the past two seasons" (, 3/6). Had Smith chosen to retire from the Chargers, the team "would've owed him his entire salary," about $3M each year, per his five-year extension after the '07 season (, 3/6).

EXECS: East Carolina Univ. named Northern Illinois Univ. Associate VP & AD JEFF COMPHER AD, succeeding TERRY HOLLAND. Compher signed a five-year contract worth $415,000 annually, and will begin on May 1 (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 3/7)....McNeese State Univ. named Univ. of Alabama Associate Dir of Games & Event Management BRYANT CARTER Associate AD/Internal Affairs (McNeese State)....UMass-Boston named Univ. of New Hampshire Athletic Fundraising co-Dir GARIN LEE VERIS External Business Development & Marketing Dir (UMass-Boston)....USA Luge Exec Dir & CEO RON ROSSI has resigned after 28 years in the role (USA Luge). The NGB's BOD said that it "decided to move the organization in a new direction" (AP, 3/6)....The Cardinals named former MLBer WILLIE MCGEE Special Assistant to the GM (Cardinals)....Prince Global Sports promoted MIKE BALLARDIE to CEO. He will remain based in London (Prince)....Chicago-based ping pong equipment maker Killerspin named AFL Rush President KENNETH VALDISERRI VP/Marketing & Strategic Alliances (Killerspin)....Repucom America named IBRAHIM KOESE to the newly created Head of Consumer Insights role. He will transfer to the U.S. from Repucom’s European base in Cologne, Germany (Repucom)….Newton Running named former Li-Ning VP/Marketing, Sales & Product Merchandising CRAIG HEISNER President (Newton Running).

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In N.Y., George Willis notes boxing promoter DON KING "mourned the death" of Venezuelan President HUGO CHAVEZ by "asking a 10-count be held before Saturday night's boxing card at the Barclays Center." It is "unclear whether Chavez qualifies," and "even if he did, a 10-count for the controversial leader would please some and anger others." King said, "Many people may or may not like him or whatever they may do. But I love him. He was my brother" (N.Y. POST, 3/7).

LIKE A MACHINE: In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes Reds Baseball Research & Analysis Manager SAM GROSSMAN is the "most important Cincinnati Red you've never heard of." Every MLB team "works the statistics now," and what the Reds do "very well, judging from the recent results, is find players who fit their small ballpark and their medium budget." With the Reds, "instead of scouts and nerds battling it out over players, the numbers encourage discussion." Grossman said, "It's a balanced approach. [GM WALT JOCKETTY] starts with the scouting reports, then he'll bring in the statistical analysis to support the reports, or refute them. We find the common ground" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/7).

BETWEEN THE HEDGES: Univ. of Georgia offensive coordinator MIKE BOBO "got a $240,000 pay raise as all nine of the Bulldogs' assistant coaches received salary increases this week." Offensive line coach WILL FRIEND "got a $90,000 raise to $300,000 a year," while WRs coach TONY BALL "received a $50,000-a-year-raise to $260,000." Other football assistants including defensive coordinator TODD GRANTHAM, "all received $25,000 salary increases." Defensive line coach CHRIS WILSON was "recently hired for $250,000 a year" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 3/7).

NAMES: Broncos QB PEYTON MANNING from Feb. 25-March 2 went on a USO tour "in what he describes as a life-changing event." Manning kept a detailed journal and wrote, "I am going to tell any athlete I know to go on a USO tour. I will do another one" (, 3/6)....Ravens RB RAY RICE is "throwing his weight behind a Maryland bill that would make cyber-bullying a minor crime." Rice "alerted his online fan base" yesterday that he is supporting Baltimore County Delegate JON CARDIN's proposal (, 3/6)....ESPN's "SportsNation" host CHARISSA THOMPSON and actor JOEY LAWRENCE will host ABC's new reality diving show "Splash" (, 3/6)....Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN will speak at the Univ. of Illinois' spring commencement on May 12 (AP, 3/7)....MSG Exec Chair JAMES DOLAN is "splitting with" wife KRISTIN after 11 years of marriage. The couple "amicably separated over the holidays" (N.Y. POST, 3/7).