There wasn’t much fanfare when Rob Manfred was named the next commissioner of Major League Baseball last month. But if the NFL does have to replace Roger Goodell in light of Wednesday afternoon’s news that someone within the league saw the tape of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee in April, his or her election will undoubtedly be the most discussed topic in sports throughout the fall.
Here are a list of candidates:
Condoleeza Rice: The odds-on favorite. In order to distance itself from the Ray Rice situation, the NFL could very well look outside its league office. The former Secretary of State told the New York Times in 2002 that she would “absolutely” want to be commissioner of North America’s most successful sports league one day. She’s said to be a huge football fan and is actually on the college football playoff selection committee.
Liberals would obviously be outraged by this. She couldn’t even deliver a commencement speech at Rutgers this past May without massive protests due to her role in leading the U.S. into Iraq over a decade ago.
Frederick R. Nance: A regional managing partner for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP, Nance helped bring the Browns back to Cleveland and was hired as a “General Counsel & Special Counsel to the Browns President” in 2009. How’s that working out?
Gregg H. Levy: A Washington, D.C. – based lawyer who has handled NFL cases in the past and a finalist for the job in 2006. The court of public opinion would likely reject this guy in a heartbeat, but you never know.
Robert L. Reynolds: President and CEO of Putnam investments, he was also a finalist in 2006.
Brian Rolapp: Current Executive VP of NFL Media and President and CEO at NFL Network. He’s the guy that loves Thursday Night Football and continues to put more games in London. The NFLPA would go on strike immediately.
Michael Strahan: If owners are truly worried that the Rice situation could be the beginning of a slow decline of league revenue, why not put an ex-player like Strahan in office? He would be nothing more than a figure-head … but who cares!? He could still do “Live! with Kelly and Michael” every day, being in New York, and it’s a guarantee that he’d be more in touch with what’s really going on the league and its players than Goodell, even if he only shows up in the office once a week.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS