Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Dec 2005

Tagliabue Second Most Powerful in Sports

Paul Tagliabue comes in at No. 2 on the Sports Business Journal's list of the most powerful people in sports. (George Bodenheimer, president of ABC Sports and ESPN, is No. 1.) Other NFL names on the list include Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, Pat Bowlen, and Malcolm Glazer. As Deadspin.com and BlackAthlete.net have pointed out, players union head Gene Upshaw is one of only two African-Americans on the list (NBA players union head Billy Hunter is the other.)

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 20 Dec 2005

9 comments, Last at 21 Dec 2005, 10:06pm by dCalla


by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Tue, 12/20/2005 - 11:54pm

So if Tagliabue beats Bodenheimer in Mortal Kombat and steals his soul ala Shang Tsung, does he become the most powerful person in sports?

I'm confused.

by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 12:43pm

No, he has to beat him in a sword fight and cut off his head. Then comes the Quickening...

by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 4:56pm

I remember Jerry Reinsdorf, who has always preferred a low profile, being at the top of these kinds of lists during the Bulls championship days. When he finally hired a marketing manager in the early 90s, Jerry's first directive was to, "get me off those stupid lists."

by jebmak (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:16pm

I thought about reading the names, then I decided that reading 25 rows of 2 names apiece would make me sick and vomit. What poor formatting.

by Kevin (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:23pm

re: 4I second that.

by DNL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 5:55pm

LeBron James should really be on that list, and near the top 10.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:25pm

LeBron James? He may have more dough than any of us will ever see but he's not relevant to the things that people on this list do.

He can't negotiate a labor deal, a TV deal, or an arena deal. He can't establish or abolish a dress code or an age minimum. He can't allocate sponsorship dollars or set the schedule. He can't hand down suspensions or fines. His opinion on any of these matters is not sought, and if offered would be ignored.

Do you think that any of the people on this list, when confronted with a big decision, think "Hmmm, I better check in with LeBron and get his take on this"?? Because that's what influence is.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 6:56pm

I completely fail to see why Ebersol of NBC is at number 4. When I think NBC sports, I think Notre Dame, Olympics and Arena Football. Now, the Olympics are high-profile and all, and I'm sure some people out there follow the Fighting Irish, but after that, we drop to AFL, which has very, very little interest. More powerful than Bud Selig? More powerful than Upshaw? I just don't see it.

by dCalla (not verified) :: Wed, 12/21/2005 - 10:06pm

re #8

I can see him being this high on the list. It tracks influence, and Ebersole does have a large impact. Whether that network shows or even bids on a package is huge. And, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but NBC picked up the NFL for next year for Sunday night, and got flexible scheduling for it, so they can essentially rearrange other networks schedules, as well as game times - up to to a point. MNF cried for this for years.

This year, they also had NASCAR part of the season.