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  • Tagliabue to retire in July

    Updated: March 20, 2006, 1:56 PM ET
    NFL commissioner Tagliabue to retire in JulyESPN.com 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 director, finally led to a long-term agreement after five years without a contract.

    But the bargaining was hard this time, with three straight deadline extensions needed. The agreement avoided the prospect of entering free agency this year with the possibility of an uncapped year in 2007.

    It came at the expense of revenue sharing among the owners, an issue that had divided high-revenue and small-revenue teams and contributed to the deadlock. He did it with what has been considered his greatest skill as commissioner, patching together a coalition of nine teams with differing viewpoints to reach a compromise considered satisfactory by all but two teams.

    He also oversaw a massive stadium building program. More than two-thirds of the NFL's 32 teams are either playing in or building stadiums that didn't exist when he took over as commissioner in 1989.

    Before becoming commissioner, Tagliabue was a league lawyer who spent much of that time as the NFL's representative and unofficial lobbyist in Washington.

    "He has been a tremendous asset to our league and the direction we have taken," said New Orleans owner Tom Benson.

    "We have experienced very positive growth in the area of revenue sharing and broadcast contracts, we have secured long-term labor peace and have also even encountered some of the worst of times following 9/11, but through it all Paul has been a leader, a friend and a voice that many others within our league and other leagues have followed."

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Union Decertifies After Failing To Reach Labor Deal With League
    by r8rh8rmike
    Union decertifies after failing to reach labor deal with league
    By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
    March 11, 2011

    WASHINGTON -- The NFL Players Association announced Friday that it has renounced its status as the collective bargaining representative of the players after failing to reach a new labor deal with the league.

    The NFLPA said it will become a professional trade association that supports the interests and rights of current and former players.

    NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said at 4:45 p.m. ET -- 15 minutes before the deadline for the union to decertify -- that "significant differences" remained after the league's latest proposal.

    Smith said the league must agree by 5 p.m. ET to provide 10 years of audited financial documents for the union to agree to a third extension of the CBA deadline.

    The union had until that time to decertify. It said it has faxed the necessary paperwork to U.S. District Judge David Doty in Minnesota.

    The NFL can impose a lockout of players, if it chooses, after 11:59 p.m. ET, when the CBA officially expires.

    "The union left a very good deal on the table," the NFL said in a statement. "It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

    "The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.

    "The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes."

    Before Friday's meeting, Smith told WJFK-AM that the union was looking for "the exchange of information so we can make a fair deal."

    Under the about-to-expire CBA, owners receive an immediate $1 billion to go toward operating expenses before splitting remaining revenues with players. Owners initially tried to add another $1 billion to that, and while they have lowered the up-front figure they want -- at least down to an additional $800 million, according to the union -- Smith has said it's still too much.

    The NFL, meanwhile, said the union was offered unprecedented financial data, including some...
    -03-11-2011, 02:49 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    League, Players' Union Agree To 24-Hour Extension In Labor Talks
    by r8rh8rmike
    League, players' union agree to 24-hour extension in labor talks

    By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
    NFL Network Insider
    March 3, 2011

    WASHINGTON -- The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed Thursday to a 24-hour extension of the negotiating window for a new collective bargaining agreement, sources told NFL Network's Kara Henderson.

    Momentum to approve the idea of "stopping the clock" built throughout Thursday as the sides met for over eight hours in front of federal mediator George Cohen.

    The original expiration date for the current CBA had been 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday. Now the union's deadline to possibly decertify is 4 p.m. ET Friday, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer.

    The 24-hour extension could very well lead to a longer extension, according to a league source.

    U.S. District Judge David Doty was in his chambers in Minnesota, prepared to review whatever was put his way. However, Todd Winter, one of Doty's law clerks, said the office wouldn't comment on anything regarding CBA negotiations at this time.

    Doty would have to sign-off on any extension before it becomes valid.

    "We're going to keep working," NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday.

    "We're working as hard as we can," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said upon leaving the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services offices Thursday.

    Many members of both negotiating teams remained inside the FMCS offices, according to league sources. The departure of some members has not stopped the dialogue. Multiple people remain and one source said, talks with Cohen "could go late."

    During the one-day extension, teams can still operate under current CBA, according to a league source. Teams can still release players up to the Friday waiver deadline, as well as sign existing free agents or extend player contracts.

    The NFLPA isn't willing to take decertification -- as defined by the rights in the current CBA -- off the table, according to sources, just as the NFL is certain not to rule out the possibility of a lockout.

    A time extension or "stopping the clock" occurred during the 2006 labor negotiations, and a deal ultimately was reached. The NFLPA was prepared to decertify Thursday if no deal or extension was reached.

    If the union eventually decertifies, sources told Breer that quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees would serve as the lead plaintiffs in any potential antitrust lawsuit filed against the league.

    The union has been asking league owners to open their books and reveal more economic data about expenses and revenue. After meeting with Cohen on Wednesday night, a source said, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his negotiating team were in a position where they would be inclined...
    -03-03-2011, 04:27 PM
  • .ramfan.
    Negotiations not going well...
    by .ramfan.
    NFL Says Negotiations Are Not Going Well
    By BARRY WILNER
    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
  • 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
  • RamWraith
    NFL owners vote unanimously to opt out of labor deal
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    By John Clayton
    ESPN.com

    ATLANTA -- The NFL officially notified its players union on Tuesday that it will opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement, which could lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010 and a possible lockout in 2011.

    Owners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to opt out of the deal, which was extended in March 2006. The NFL had until November to opt out, but decided to do it early instead of waiting for the deadline.

    The league, however, emphasized that it will keep negotiating with the NFL Players Association and said games will be played "without threat of interruption for at least the next three seasons."

    "We have guaranteed three more years of NFL football," commissioner Roger Goodell said after the owners used the opt-out clause built into the agreement signed more than two years ago. "We are not in dire straits. We've never said that. But the agreement isn't working, and we're looking to get a more fair and equitable deal."

    The decision by the owners was anticipated, although not this early. The 2006 agreement allowed either side to negate the contract by Nov. 8. Goodell said the owners acted early "to get talks rolling."

    NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw had been anticipating the early termination of the agreement. He met with owners two weeks ago, and from that meeting he asked for audited financial reports from owners to document their economic problems.

    "Roger e-mailed me this morning told me they had a unanimous agreement to terminate the deal," Upshaw said. "My response back to him? 'What a surprise.'"

    "All this means is that we will have football now until 2010 and not until 2012," Upshaw added during a conference call. "We will move ahead. This just starts the clock ticking. If we can't reach agreement by 2010, then we go to no man's land, which is 2011."

    Upshaw said Goodell's e-mail listed three reasons for the early termination: high labor costs, problems with the rookie pool and the league's inability, through the interpretation of the courts, to recoup bonuses of players who subsequently breach their contract or refuse to perform.

    The highest-profile example of the latter was a court decision allowing Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to keep $16.5 million in bonus money, despite pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges and being sentenced to 23 months in federal prison.

    According to the NFL, clubs are obligated by the collective bargaining agreement to spend almost $4.5 billion on player costs in 2008. Players received around 60 percent of league revenues. Growing costs of stadium construction and operations also figured into Tuesday's decision.

    The owners also want a change in the...
    -05-20-2008, 02:09 PM
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