Rozelle chronicles the life and times of the architect of the
modern National Football League, Pete Rozelle, who transformed
football into arguably the most successful sports league in the
world. While he was never considered a serious candidate for the
job of NFL commissioner early on, the position ultimately
catapulted Rozelle into the role through which he transformed the
NFL and became a trailblazer for all sports in the second half of
the twentieth century. When he became commissioner in 1960, the
league had twelve teams playing to half-empty stadiums and was
mired in an outdated business model. Rozelle introduced revenue and
television profit sharing to guarantee the success of small-market
teams and brought every NFL game to national television.
Rozelle’s monumental achievements include the introduction
of the Super Bowl in the ’60s followed by the NFL’s most rapid
expansion and the establishment of Monday Night Football. The ’80s
saw Rozelle presiding over drug scandals, labor struggles, and the
league’s legal battles with team owners such as Oakland’s Al Davis,
who famously won a lawsuit to move his Raiders to Los Angeles.
Jerry Izenberg chronicles the iconic life of Rozelle, who
revolutionized the culture of sports in America and is responsible
for turning the NFL into the preeminent sports league in the world.