The Sports Business Journal released its annual top-50 most influential list of the movers and shakers in sports today.
Not surprisingly, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is No. 1 on the list. The SBJ explains why:
Put aside the sheriff of the NFL tag, stratospheric TV ratings and his laserlike focus on the in-stadium experience, Roger Goodell has in part the fate of America's most popular game in his hands. The NFL commissioner must hash out a new labor deal to save the 2011 season — in other words, he has the primary influence in what the entire industry is watching most closely.
I wonder, though: if the NFL finds its season canceled next season, will Goodell still be No. 1 next year?
A few other NFLers on the list:
DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, is No. 5, and this will be a big next six months for him. Can the union outflank the owners, get (most of) what the players want and keep the game going? Or will the owners stick to their principles and make this a tough fight?
Rounding out the top ten is Patriots owner Bob Kraft at No. 9 and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at No. 10. Just think where Jones would be if he didn’t have the Wade Phillips albatross weighing down his ranking.
And finally, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is No. 15, but it’s got nothing to do with how well his organization has performed this season. It’s all about the labor fight.
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