NORTHBROOK, Ill. - All 32 NFL owners seemed impressed by the five finalists for the commissioner's job when they finally got to see and hear them Monday.
Nothing happened to indicate that Roger Goodell, Paul Tagliabue's No. 2 man, isn't the overwhelming favorite to be elected Tagliabue's successor. That could happen late today, but more likely on Wednesday.
Tagliabue and Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney, co-chairman of the eight-owner selection committee, both said they believe a new commissioner was likely to be chosen during this three-day meeting in suburban Chicago.
The thought all along has been that if a commissioner is elected here it will be Goodell, the NFL's chief operating officer, but if the process is extended, one of the other finalists could be elected.
Every owner who spoke to the media Monday said the day's proceedings were harmonious. Each of the five candidates addressed the owners and answered questions for about 45 minutes, and the owners said they were impressed by everyone.
Tagliabue tried to ensure things would go smoothly by appointing a search committee representing diverse points of view and team financial situations within the league.
Today, each of the five candidates will spend an hour with four groups of eight owners for in-depth interviews.
In additional to Goodell, the other candidates are Gregg Levy, the league's outside counsel; Fred Nance, a Cleveland lawyer who helped broker the return of the Browns to that city in 1999; Robert L. Reynolds, vice chairman of Fidelity Investments; and Mayo O. Shattuck III, a financier who was involved in the sale of the Baltimore Ravens by Art Modell to Steve Bisciotti.
NORTHBROOK, Ill. - The NFL established the following procedures Monday for electing a successor to commissioner Paul Tagliabue this week:
- The initial rounds of voting will be by secret written ballot.
- All five candidates will remain on the ballot through three rounds of voting if none receives 22 votes.
- If the balloting reaches a fourth round, Tagliabue and the search committee will determine further procedures, such as dropping candidates with the fewest votes from subsequent rounds; implementing an open roll-call vote; or having all 32 owners rank the candidates in order of preference.
- Associated Press