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 to OTB Sports

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Can you imagine, though, if she left the Secretary of State job to be the Comissioner of the NFL? What does say about the importance of the NFL?

    I figure she expects she’ll be waiting a long time, if she gets the job at all.

  2. flydiveski says:

    I think you’ll find that 1960 to 1989 is 29 years, not 39 years.

  3. McGehee says:

    I suspect this will encourage those who want her to run for president. She can be football commissioner later. :-J

  4. James Joyner says:

    flydiveski: So I would. Correction made.

  5. Now if she DID go for this job and get it, that would put the whole “Condi for President” rumors to rest, at least for this cycle.

  6. akdfjo says:

    A fair question, although the commissioner�s job is not about football so much as about business.

    Ok, what business experience does she have? None–other than being a token minority placed on corporate boards of directors.

    She is a mediocre academic and an ineffective secretary of state, however–let her start out as the commissioner of NFL Europe, or something.

  7. McGehee says:

    None�other than being a token minority placed on corporate boards of directors.

    Documentation for this charge would be appreciated.

  8. akdfjo says:

    Documentation for this charge would be appreciated.


    She was on the board of directors of Chevron from 1991-2001 until she joined the Bush administration in January 2001 and was the only African American on the Board. Guess who the politically correct folks at Chevron picked as her replacement?

    Carl Ware–a Coke Executive who just happens to be black!

    Ware took Condi’s token African American spot and remains the only “brother” on the board.

    Condi made more than half a million dollars for her efforts in 2000!

    Tokenism apparently pays!

    Condi’s Financial Disclosure forms are worth a read:

  9. McGehee says:

    And this proves both she and Ware are tokens?

    I’m curious — did you think Sandra Day O’Connor should have been succeeded on the Supreme Court by a woman?

  10. akdfjo says:

    And this proves both she and Ware are tokens?

    It looks pretty suspicous to me. Cheveron had at least 5 openings on their board during Condi’s 1991-2001 reign and always filled the seat with whites. She leaves in 2001 and they fill it with Ware. Coincidence?

    I�m curious � did you think Sandra Day O�Connor should have been succeeded on the Supreme Court by a woman?

    Of course not–this is the game that Affirmative Action supporters like Bush play. Remember his first choice for the O’COnnor vacancy was Harriet Miers. Bush, of course, claimed that she was the “best qualified” person for the job..sure Georgie.

    He learned it from his old man who had to fill Thurgood Marshall’s seat with a legal lightweight like Clarance Thomas.