Archive for Monday, July 31, 2006

Commish list pared to five

July 31, 2006

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— This time it looks like the NFL commissioner will be all business.

The five finalists to succeed Paul Tagliabue were announced Sunday with, no surprise, early favorite Roger Goodell still on the list. Unlike last time, when the late Jim Finks, then the Saints' general manager, was deadlocked with Tagliabue for three months, none of them has a background that includes playing or coaching in the NFL or running a team.

The closest is the 47-year-old Goodell, who remains a clear favorite - as he has been for the last five years or so, or since he was appointed chief operating officer, the No. 2 job to Tagliabue. Goodell, son of a former U.S. senator from New York, began his NFL career in 1982 as an intern in the league office, interned with the New York Jets for a year, and then returned to the league.

The other with an NFL background is Gregg Levy, who holds the same job Tagliabue held when he became commissioner - the league's outside counsel. Because he is known by most of the owners, he is considered the most likely challenger.

The other three finalists are Frederick Nance, a Cleveland lawyer; Robert L. Reynolds, of Concord, Mass., the vice chairman and chief operating officer of Fidelity Investments; and Mayo A. Shattuck III of Baltimore, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Constellation Energy.

They were selected from a group of 11 semifinalists by a committee of eight owners headed by Pittsburgh's Dan Rooney and Carolina's Jerry Richardson.

The new commissioner is expected to be elected at meetings in Chicago from Aug. 7-9.

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