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Tagliabue confident owners will OK Arena game in May

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  • Tagliabue confident owners will OK Arena game in May

    By David Elfin

    ORLANDO, Fla. Paul Tagliabue remains a firm believer in his powers of persuasion.
    In his news conference wrapping up the NFL's spring meetings, and one day after league owners opted not to exercise their option to purchase between 25 and 49.9 percent of Arena Football, Tagliabue said he believed they would vote in favor of the idea at the May meeting in Houston.
    The commissioner also said that he thinks the opposition of Fox and CBS to the league's proposal giving ABC greater scheduling flexibility for the final four weeks of "Monday Night Football" can be overcome. And Tagliabue is convinced that Los Angeles is still prime NFL territory more than seven years after the Rams and Raiders left the nation's second-largest market to little fan disappointment.
    "There are quite a few people in support of taking the 25 percent equity investment position and others who have reservations about how it fits into the NFL," Tagliabue said. "But everyone sees NBC's contract with the Arena League as a positive."
    That's also how Tagliabue sees the possible late-season television switches in light of the unpredictable nature of the league that turns supposed cellar-dwellers into contenders each season, making some scheduled national games duds.
    "We don't see why there's not a more intelligent way of doing things that serves the fans," Tagliabue said. "I've found that a lot of people come to discussions close-minded and become open-minded when it's a win-win and especially when it's part and parcel of schedule flexibility for the Sunday networks."
    In response to a question about fan interest in Los Angeles, Tagliabue cited the city's long pro and college football history and snapped, "At a certain point in life, you don't need evidence of the sun and the moon to know that they're there."
    Tagliabue, while still promoting his idea of Super Bowls in New York and Washington, said that the NFL has promised Arizona another Super Bowl if the Cardinals ever get a new stadium built and added that Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, Houston, Detroit and Jacksonville are all interested in playing host to the game.
    New York Giants owner Bob Tisch, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Redskins owner Dan Snyder have all asked to make presentations on behalf of their cities at an upcoming NFL meeting. However, the owners might not award the next available games 2007 and 2008 until next spring in Arizona.
    With the league back to an even number of teams after four years with 31, Tagliabue said there won't be any byes during the first two weeks or during the last seven. The NFL also named Michael Haynes, a Hall of Fame cornerback with New England and the Los Angeles Raiders, as its vice president of player and employee development. Haynes' main task will be to oversee programs that help players in their off-field lives.

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  • Milan
    NFL no plan to move north
    by Milan
    DETROIT (CP) - A year after suggesting Toronto was a future candidate for NFL expansion, commissioner Paul Tagliabue slammed the door on the subject Friday.

    Tagliabue told reporters at his annual state-of-the-union address Friday that the league has no plans to expand into Canada and the NFL's priority remains putting a team back into Los Angeles.

    "I could not see, at least now, a decision that would involve a two-team expansion," Tagliabue said. "If there is expansion, I would think it would leave us with an odd number of teams for some period of time, which we have had in the past.

    "I don't see expansion to Canada as being related to what we might do in Los Angeles."

    The long-standing belief has been that if, or when, the NFL returns to Los Angeles it will add a second expansion team to keep its two conferences balanced.

    Click Here

    The NFL currently has 32 teams, 16 per conference. Los Angeles would make for 33. However, Tagliabue said the league is willing to go with an odd number of teams for several years, thus delivering a blow to Canada's chances of landing a club.

    At last year's Super Bowl, Tagliabue said both Mexico and Toronto were future candidates for NFL expansion. The league opened the 2005 season in Mexico, with a record 103,467 fans cramming into Azteca Stadium to watch the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco ***** 31-14.

    The NFL has only staged exhibition games in Canada, in both Toronto and Vancouver.

    CFL commissioner Tom Wright, who attended Friday's news conference, said Tagliabue is very aware of the impact an NFL team in Canada would have on CFL teams.

    "Clearly the commissioner understood what our goals were and understood the importance of a partnership," Wright said afterwards. "He understands that a strong CFL is ultimately going to be good for football and what's good for football in Canada is going to help the NFL.

    "We are now finishing almost a decade of a formal relationship with the NFL and I have every hope it will be another decade of a good relationship."

    The CFL and NFL entered into a working agreement following the 1996 season, a deal that continues to allow players in the Canadian league entering the option year of their deals a six-week window to sign deals south of the border. The NFL-CFL deal runs through April 2007.

    "Clearly he also knows the CFL wouldn't have had the chance to renew itself following the U.S. expansion had the NFL not stepped forward and supported us," Wright said. "They've seen what happens when there's a strong organization that is focused on growing the game in Canada and what it results in is a healthier football climate for both of our leagues."

    Toronto has long lobbied for an NFL expansion franchise and in the past Tagliabue...
    -02-03-2006, 04:51 PM
  • Rambos
    Tagliabue to retire in July
    by Rambos
    Updated: March 20, 2006, 1:56 PM ET
    NFL commissioner Tagliabue to retire in news services

    NEW YORK -- Paul Tagliabue is retiring as NFL commissioner in July after more than 16 years on the job.

    The 65-year-old commissioner has led the league since 1989, when he succeeded Pete Rozelle, and had recently signed a two-year contract extension to complete the television and labor deals.

    He finally got that done 12 days ago, finishing the most arduous labor negotiations since the league and union agreed on a free agency-salary cap deal in 1992.

    "I believe that now is a positive time to make the transition to a new commissioner," Tagliabue said in a statement.

    "We have a collective bargaining extension in place, long-term television contracts, and have undertaken many other strong elements in league and club operations," Tagliabue said. "I am honored to have been commissioner since late 1989 and to have been heavily involved with the league, its owners, clubs, coaches, players, fans and media since 1969."

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on March 9 that Tagliabue was expected to exercise a clause in his contract with league owners in which he becomes a "senior executive" consultant with a significant compensation package. Tagliabue and the NFL did not comment at the time.

    Tagliabue will be available to serve in a senior executive/advisory role through May 31, 2008 once a new commissioner is selected.

    Roger Goodell, the NFL's chief operating officer, and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay are the two leading candidates to succeed Tagliabue. Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass is considered a dark horse.

    Goodell has worked side by side with Tagliabue on numerous issues, ranging from franchise stability, new stadium construction, TV contract negotiations and the most recent collective bargaining agreement, in which he was an active participant.

    Tagliabue has said he wants to avoid the kind of seven-month deadlock that occurred between him and the late Jim Finks after Rozelle stepped down in March 1989.

    Tagliabue called Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney, the NFL's senior owner, early Monday to tell him of the decision.

    "We've got the best labor deal in sports. We've got the best league. He's been our leader. The whole way he's done this has been wonderful," Rooney told The Associated Press.

    The announcement was made officially in an e-mail to the other owners at noon ET.

    Tagliabue will stay on with the NFL as a senior executive and a consultant through 2008, part of the contract extension he signed last July.

    Tagliabue's term will be remembered most for labor peace following strikes in 1982 and 1987. His close relationship with Gene Upshaw, the union's executive...
    -03-20-2006, 11:51 AM
  • DJRamFan
    The commish in until '07
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    NEW YORK -- Paul Tagliabue will remain as NFL commissioner through the end of the 2007 season.

    Tagliabue has officially agreed to the new deal, announced last March, to extend his current contract that would have expired after next season, league officials said Monday.

    Tagliabue will be 67 when the contract expires -- he would have retired at 65 had he stuck to his current deal. The new one is expected to pay him around $8 million a year, putting him on a level with NBA commissioner David Stern as the highest paid chief executives in professional sports.

    The deal has been approved unanimously by the NFL's 32 owners.

    It was first conceived during spring meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., last March in order to keep Tagliabue on through the upcoming television and labor negotiations.

    "He's taken the league to a new level," Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney has said of Tagliabue. "The television situation is phenomenal, the relationship with the players union is great. We're entering an important period and we want him to continue to lead us through it. It's obvious what we think of him."

    Tagliabue, who had been the NFL's chief outside lawyer, took over after Pete Rozelle stepped down in March of 1989.

    At the time, he was the candidate of newer owners after a committee of the "old-guard" appointed by Rozelle recommended Jim Finks, the New Orleans Saints general manager.

    But Tagliabue's ability to generate television revenues and get cities to build or renovate stadiums, has made him popular with everyone _ in the 15 years he's been commissioner, 21 of the 32 teams either have built new facilities or renovated older ones and the $17.6 billion television contract that expires after next season is the biggest in sports history.

    "He's been the right man for the right time," said 87-year-old Wellington Mara of the New York Giants, an early Finks supporter who helped orchestrate the compromise that led to Tagliabue's selection. "Pete was right for his time and it turns out that Paul has been right for his."
    -07-20-2004, 07:49 AM
  • .ramfan.
    Negotiations not going well...
    by .ramfan.
    NFL Says Negotiations Are Not Going Well
    Friday, February 03, 2006
    There's nothing like a little gloom and doom at the end of Super Bowl week. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's pessimism about labor negotiations with the players' union permeated his annual state of the league address Friday.

    "We're not making the kind of progress we need to be making," he said. "I don't think negotiations are going very well."

    Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the same thing the previous day. Upshaw warned that without significant movement by March 9, the union will consider its legal options.

    The collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2007 season. But under the current contract, there would be no salary cap in 2007. Upshaw insists if the cap disappears then, it won't come back.

    Tagliabue doesn't recognize March 9 as any particular deadline _ after all, there are two full seasons remanning under the deal _ but he has a sense of urgency.

    Unfortunately, he believes the owners and players are drifting farther apart.

    "I do think there needs to be an outreach and more reality on both sides," Tagliabue said. "There needs to be a positive dose of reality on both sides of the table. To some degree, positions are hardening on both sides when they shouldn't be."

    He wasn't optimistic about making much progress in negotiations before the league's meetings begin March 25 in Orlando, Fla.

    "A lot of things get done at the 11th hour and 59th minute," Tagliabue said. "I don't know if we'll get something done by the league meetings."

    These talks have become more contentious in great part because team owners can't agree among themselves how to divide revenues that will go to the players. High-revenue teams who make more money from sources other than television and ticket sales are balking at contributing the same percentage of their income as low-revenue franchises.

    Patriots owners Robert Kraft, one of the league's power brokers, believes a CBA extension must preclude any agreement among the owners on how to split money.

    "Until we know what our deal is with the union, we can't come together among ourselves on revenue sharing," he said.

    Upshaw talked Thursday about a potential decertification of the union. Tagliabue conceded those were possibilities, but "I don't think we'll be in litigation or decertification."

    Tagliabue also:

    _ noted that while the "Rooney rule" that requires interviewing minority candidates for coaching and front office jobs is working, no minorities got any of the eight openings filled thus far.

    "I thought we were getting beyond the stereotypes and these men were accepted...
    -02-03-2006, 03:21 PM
  • RamWraith
    Goodell chosen as NFL's new commissioner
    by RamWraith wire reports

    NORTHBROOK, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2006) -- The transition was swift and smooth -- and unanimous.

    Roger Goodell, who never stopped rising through the ranks during his lifelong devotion to the NFL, was chosen by the league's 32 owners Tuesday in a vote that took only three hours to complete.

    Favored for months to win the job, Goodell was the unanimous choice on the owners' fifth ballot, and said he expects to begin serving a five-year contract before the regular season starts.

    "I spent my life following my passion," said Goodell, who becomes the league's fourth commissioner since 1946. "The game of football is the most important thing. You can never forget that.

    Roger Goodell takes over the commissioner post from Paul Tagliabue.
    Roger Goodell takes over the commissioner post from Paul Tagliabue.
    The 47-year-old Goodell succeeds the man who groomed him for the job, Paul Tagliabue.

    "We've had the two greatest sports commissioners in the history of professional sports, Paul Tagliabue and Pete Rozelle, and I was fortunate to work for both of them," Goodell said. "I look forward to the challenge and thank them again for their confidence."

    The son of former U.S. Sen. Charles Goodell of New York, he worked his way from a public relations intern to perhaps the most powerful job in American sports, most recently serving as Tagliabue's top assistant, particularly on expansion and stadium construction. In 2000, he became the NFL's chief operating officer.

    League revenues have skyrocketed during the 17 years under Tagliabue, who said he would leave his post after brokering new television and labor deals. The NFL will collect about $10 billion in TV rights fees during the next six years, and enjoys labor peace with the players' association under an agreement completed in March.

    "Replacing Paul was not easy, and I think we've done a great job in selecting Roger," said Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. "The NFL is a complex business. Finding the right person to keep it on course was critical, and we did it."

    Goodell beat four other finalists: lawyers Gregg Levy and Frederick Nance; Fidelity Investments vice chairman Robert Reynolds; and Constellation Energy chairman Mayo Shattuck III.

    Goodell wasn't certain when he will assume office, although Tagliabue planned to leave the job this month.

    "I believe in continuity," said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. "It's a lot like with head coaches, and that's what Roger brings us."

    Goodell's election was much less complicated than when Tagliabue was chosen in 1989. It took seven months to select a successor to Rozelle. Originally, the top choice appeared to be Saints president Jim Finks, who was recommended by an advisory committee....
    -08-08-2006, 07:22 PM