2000 – Paul Tagliabue

Paul Tagliabue has been the NFL Commissioner since 1980. Among the issues he has addressed are these: The NFL expanded from 28 to 32 teams, operated under successive long-term labor agreements with the NFL Players Association, secured the largest television contracts in entertainment history, and refocused its efforts in developing public-private partnerships for new stadiums. Tagliabue has presided over the reorganization of the league’s management structure, adopted stringent policies on steroids and other drugs, and expanded the NFL’s presence internationally. He also initiated a series of rule changes to speed up the game, ensure balance between offense and defense, and promote player safety. Under his leadership, the competitive action on the field has flourished, stadium attendance and television audiences have reached record levels, and the value of the NFL franchise has soared. Paul is also a member of the board of directors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the National Urban League, and the board of governors of the United Way of America.

His involvement with the NFL began in 1969 when the merger of the NFL and the American Football League was being implemented and Monday Night Football was being launched. And for the next two decades, Tagliabue represented the NFL as an attorney in important areas, including television, expansion, legislative affairs, franchise, moves, labor and antitrust cases.

In high school, Paul was an honor student and highly recruited basketball player. He received an athletic scholarship from Georgetown University, where he was captain of the 1961-62 basketball team. He was also president of his senior class, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, and a Dean’s List honor graduate in 1962. Tagliabue went on to attend the New York University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review and graduated with honors in 1965. He is a former member of the board of trustees of the NYU Law School.

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