Sports Outside the Beltway

Condi Rice to Pass on NFL Commissioner For Now

Condoleezza Rice has repeatedly stated that being commissioner of the National Football League is her dream job. There will be a vacancy come July. Unfortunately, she’s a little busy at the moment.

Condoleezza Rice, a bona fide football fan, is not applying for the newly opened post of NFL commissioner – not now, anyhow, her spokesman said carefully on Monday. “She thinks football is the greatest sport on earth, but even if she were approached for the job – which she has not been – she would have to decline,” Sean McCormack said. “She still has many things she wants to accomplish as secretary of state,” he said. Rice, who is avid particularly in support of the Cleveland Browns, is enjoying being secretary of state “at the moment,” McCormack said.

The wiggle-room in his response after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced he would retire resonated off frequent only half-joking statements by Rice that as a lifelong football fan she aspires to run the league one day.

Of course, if she doesn’t take the job now (not that it’s being offered) she might have to wait a long time for another shot at it. Taglibue has occupied the office since 1989, a tenure of seventeen years. He predecessor, Pete Rozelle, held the job from 1960-89, a whopping 29 years. He followed Bert Bell, who only served thirteen years because he died in office.

Update: The LAT editorial board endorses her for the job, perhaps with tongue in cheek, noting that Bart Giamatti left the presidency of Yale to become commissioner of baseball and pointing out that the job would come with a huge pay hike. More seriously, they observe,

For a league long concerned with promoting minorities within its coaching and managerial ranks, it would be a stroke of genius to bring in an African American woman to run the show. And a former secretary of State would be ideal. It takes a great deal of diplomacy to manage the 32 super-rich egomaniacs who own NFL teams, especially when the secret of the parity-obsessed league’s success is getting these owners to act like committed socialists. With its revenue-sharing philosophy, the NFL’s motto might as well be the old Marxist formulation: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

At Dean’s World, Shay is unimpressed, wondering “what football experience qualifes her to be NFL commissioner?” A fair question, although the commissioner’s job is not about football so much as about business. Tagliabue’s legacy had virtually nothing to do with sports, per se, but turning an already popular sport into a major multi-media conglomerate.

Crosspost from OTB

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