Friday, November 19, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Commissioners - How Do They Rank?

There's no mystery regarding the names on this countdown. Still, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the commissioners in the 5 big U.S. sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLS) and see how they stack up. So I did.

5. David Stern - I wish that I was alive during the 80s to see what basketball was like. Because right now, it's absolute crap. David Stern has done a few good things, like help the NBA expand internationally and implement a rookie salary cap. But the game itself has shifted to revolve around the "star," and as a result, the quality of basketball has suffered immensely. I don't even think Stern himself could explain what a foul is these days.

4. Gary Bettman - Bettman sure had the deck stacked against him, having to go through some tough years that included the only full-season lockout in American sports history. But ultimately his legacy will be remember for two things: over-expanding into unprofitable cities like Phoenix and Carolina and choosing money over exposure by signing with Versus instead of ESPN. Both of these were huge mistakes, and it's easy to see why many NHL teams are struggling to turn a profit.

3. Bud Selig - Steroids. Need I say more? OK, instant replay.

2. Roger Goodell - Goodell runs a tight ship, and it can't be easy with all those owners behind him. The NFL is, from a fan perspective, the most successful league in America. Goodell handles disciplinary matters in a unique, well-informed, meticulous way. His legacy will ultimately tie to the current labor disputes.

1. Don Garber - That's right, the best commissioner in the country works for the MLS. He's kept the job since 1999, and for good reason. Garber is faced with the very difficult task of implementing fair playing compensation (compensation that's enticing enough for top talent to come to the league) while keeping costs under control. So far, he's done a good job. In the next few years, the MLS will be adding 3 new teams, expanding to 19 (and probably more after that).

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