NORTHBROOK, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2006) -- The feeling around football about the choice of Roger Goodell as NFL commissioner was as positive as the vote that won him the job.
"Roger got his MBA from Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "That's not a bad education."
Indeed, the 47-year-old Goodell was quick to mention he learned under both of his predecessors as he worked his way up from public relations intern to Tagliabue's chief aide and the NFL's chief operating officer.
Goodell was the choice on the fifth ballot cast by the league's 32 owners, a vote that took only three hours to complete.
"Roger's experience is a broad representation of Paul's tenure," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "It's a demonstration of the kind of people they have in the NFL. He's the perfect man to carry us on into the future."
That future looks bright as he replaces Tagliabue, whose 17-year tenure brought skyrocketing revenues to the league. There also is labor peace and TV contracts worth about $10 billion.
"He has experience, vision and integrity that will help guide the NFL to even greater prominence, just like his predecessors," said Arena Football commissioner David Baker, who is close with Goodell. "He has been a valuable friend and generous counselor in helping build the AFL."
ESPN/ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer noted that Goodell has been a key leader and decision maker for many years.
"He has been an integral part of its success and shown great passion for the game," Bodenheimer said. "We look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Added NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, whose network has returned this year to televising NFL games:
"Everyone here at NBC and General Electric congratulate Roger Goodell on being selected commissioner of the National Football League. ... He is a role model for young men and women everywhere, as he is the living example of where hard work, talent and personal integrity can take you."
Goodell beat four other finalists: attorneys Gregg Levy and Frederick Nance; Fidelity Investments vice chairman Robert Reynolds; and Constellation Energy chairman Mayo Shattuck III. While there was nothing but compliments for those candidates, Goodell's solid football background was a deciding factor.
"We had five excellent candidates," said Houston Texans owner Robert McNair. "We chose to go with the one who brought us continuity."