Rozelle, Pete

Ground-breaking NFL Commissioner 1960-89, entered Football Hall of Fame 1985

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Description:
(1926-1996) National Football League commissioner Jan. 1960-Nov. 1989, credited with making the NFL into one of the most successful sports leagues in the world. He graduated from Compton High School in California in 1944, with Duke Snider, lettering in baseball and basketball. After Navy service, he went to Compton Community College in 1946 and was student athletic news director and a part-time public relations assistant for the Los Angeles Rams. Rozelle enrolled at USF that year and worked as a student publicist for the USF Dons athletic department and marketed the 1949 Dons' National Invitation Tournament championship basketball season into a national media event. In 1952, he re-joined the Rams as PR specialist until 1955 then held a series of marketing and PR jobs. In 1957, he became General Manager of the Rams and in 3 years, turned a disorganized, unprofitable team, lost in the growing L.A. market, into a business success even as they struggled on the field. IN 1959, he was the surprise choice to replace Bert Bell as NFL commissioner after 23 ballots. When he took office there were 12 teams playing a 12-game schedule to frequently half-empty stadiums, and only a few teams had TV contracts. The NFL was following a business model that evolved from the 1930s. Rozelle brought in concepts such as gate and television profit-sharing, already in place in the rival American Football League. He negotiated large TV contracts to broadcast every NFL game played each season, deftly playing one network against another and persuaded team owners to share revenues. In 1962, he was re-elected to a 5-year contract. On Nov. 24, 1963 the NFL played a full schedule of games (untelevised due to coverage of the assassination) 2 days after JFK's assassination while the rival AFL postponed its games out of respect; Rozelle would frequently publicly state that it was his worst mistake. His "aptitude for conciliation" with the league's owners and his work in expanding the NFL, led to his receiving Sports Illustrated Magazine's 1963 "Sportsman of the Year" award. When NFL owners achieved the merger with the AFL without his initial knowledge of talks, he also agreed to the creation of the Super Bowl and Monday Night Football. The terms of the merger stipulated that he be retained as commissioner of the post-merger National Football League, and following Oakland Raiders' owner Al Davis' resignation, he was recognized as de facto CEO of professional football. In the 1970s, he presided over a decade of league expansion but by the end of the decade, labor unrest and litigation with the NFL Players Association and team movement to new markets foreshadowed his decline as commissioner. The 1980s saw drug scandals and further struggle with powerful owners (like Al Davis) over team movement. Under him, the NFL thrived and became an American icon, despite 2 players' strikes and 2 competing leagues. He retired Nov. 5, 1989, the number of teams in the league having grown to 28, and team owners presiding over sizable revenues from broadcasting networks. While commissioner, Rozelle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. On Jan. 27, 1991, at Super Bowl XXV, the NFL awarded the 1st Pete Rozelle Trophy to the game MVP. 3 x 3/4 x 6 1/2 Canadian philatelic envelope with unrelated unused 1965 Canadian stamp at top left, signed by Rozelle in center. Sold for signature value only.

Condition: Very good
Type:Signed Envelope






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