In 1960, the NFL faced many financial challenges. However, newly elected commisioner Pete Rozelle changed all of that quickly. Rozelle negotiated with the TV Networks to create long awaited record league revenues. Through the years these revenues would rise to new record levels and help the league grow to what it is today. Rozelle also put together a plan to have the NFL merge with the AFL. This would lead to a NFC and an AFC and a Super Bowl. He was firm with punishment when players walked over the line and respected even by the Coaches of the players that made the mistakes, (even Lombardi!) He had great vision for the League and made it what it has become today. Recognized by Time and Newsweek as one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, the Best Professional Commisioner of any sport of all time!
In March of 1989 it was Pete Rose that was in the headlines and the top story for 34 days straight because of alleged gambling on Major League Baseball. However, Commissioner Pete Rozelle had 2 things left to do on his list. One was to get Instant Replay into the NFL (becoming the first Pro Sport to adopt this) and the other was to resign after 29 years. (nobody knew about the second thing!). At the NFL Owners/Coaches meeting in Palm Desert, Ca. he went out of order and resigned. A Young Nick LaCapria (lwho would later become a Sports Trivia Host) was first on the phones with his voice all over National Radio with reports about this breaking story with sound bites and interviews with the biggest NFL names at the time that this effected (Don Shula, Tex Scrham, Al Davis, etc.) before any other reporter in the country. As a young Sports Reporter for the Major Networks and Major Wire services in the 1980's decade Nick got to know Commisioner Rozelle and the League office over the years.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle told Nick LaCapria on more than one occasion"I've scene and experienced many great things as NFL Commisioner over my 29 years. However, I think even greater things will occur over the next 29 years"! That was in 1989 before the invention of the internet, before draft kings and fan duel (leagalized gambling on Football), before live Big Screen TV's in the Stadiums, before Big Salaries in the NFL! Also, before today's NFL Commssioners Salary has grown to 45 Million dollars per season! Yes, Mr. Rozelle was right, it has not even been 29 years and now that the NFL is the 3rd biggest business in the United States behind only the U.S. Government and the U.S. Postal Service, it's time to realize that Pete Rozelle made one of the biggest impacts on the development of Sports in American history!
Nick LaCapria 2020