Carl Peterson For Commissioner

With Paul Tagliabue heading towards retirement later this summer, the NFL is holding off on putting together a search committee for his successor. Names are already starting to roll at the owners' annual meetings in Miami.

There is really only one candidate for the new NFL Commissioner.

Our very own Carl Peterson.

They're all lining up to succeed the man who succeeded the greatest commissioner in the history of sports, the late Pete Rozelle. My vote is for Kansas City Chiefs CEO/President/General Manager Carl Peterson.

Sadly, I can't take credit for the idea of Peterson as NFL commissioner.

That goes to Adam Schefter of the NFL Network, who indicated that Peterson was a ‘dark horse' candidate. In hearing those comments, it dawned on me what a great idea it would be. On the surface, it would be bad news for Chiefs fans.

The organization that Peterson took over after the 1988 season was a lost, rudderless vessel, sinking in a sea of losing. In the 15 seasons prior to his arrival, the Chiefs had one playoff appearance.

Since then the team has arrived as the top sports dog in Kansas City. There is not a day that goes by when you don't hear about the Chiefs in some capacity on the radio or television.

Peterson is the primary reason that the Chiefs are one of the most stable and profitable franchises in the NFL. When he took over the job the Chiefs had a value of $65 million. In 2003, they were valued by Forbes Magazine to be worth roughly $601 million. In 2005, Forbes said the Chiefs were worth $762 million. In 2006, the value of the Chiefs could be worth nearly $1 billion, especially when you factor in the seven years of labor peace on the horizon.

Much of that can be attributed to Peterson, who made bringing the entertainment value back to the organization his top priority. After all, the NFL is big business, and it's all about generating revenue. It's also about parity, competition and presentation.

Peterson is a master of all three. But his best skill is his tough approach to negotiations. I can't think of another human being on this earth that I'd rather have representing me in dealing with the NFL's power brokers.

Just one look at the way he schooled the New York Jets in gaining the rights to Herman Edwards was more valuable than a degree from Harvard Business School.

But the NFL is a staunch old-school club. The leading candidates to replace Tagliabue continue to be NFL chief operating officer Roger Goodell, 46, and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay, 47, who also is co-chairman of the league's rulemaking competition committee.

Both have serious clout. But with two candidates this strong, the NFL owners might reach a split decision, as they have in the past. This creates more consideration for Peterson. But his age (62) is still a major strike against him.

In his favor, the league office has great respect for Peterson. Rumors are already swirling that if Los Angeles gets a franchise, the NFL will insist that Peterson be part of the ownership group.

L.A. officials are in Miami meeting with NFL owners, trying to get a deal done to move an existing franchise back to the Los Angeles coliseum. Rumors suggest that either the Jacksonville Jaguars or San Diego Chargers could end up in L.A. The league will want a solid football man running the team.

Peterson fits the bill and he's already indicated that he won't be with the Chiefs after the 2009 season.

As I write this, it isn't clear if Schefter has heard any concrete evidence that Peterson is a candidate. But he'd get my vote.

Chiefs fans may not admit it, but we'll miss Carl Peterson when he's gone. Those of us old enough to remember the Jim Schaff era truly appreciate the gifts he's brought to this organization.

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