Rozelle was NFL innovator
Jan. 26, 1960 - In a shocking switch that ended seven days of bitter fighting among the 12 NFL owners, Los Angeles Rams general manager Pete Rozelle was a compromise choice and elected the league's new commissioner on the 23rd ballot.Until the announcement, the 33-year-old Rozelle's name had not even been mentioned among the candidates. Through most of the voting, the leaders had been Marshall Leahy, a San Francisco lawyer, and Austin Gunsel, a former FBI agent who had been acting commissioner since the death of Bert Bell 3½ months ago. When it appeared there was no hope of breaking the stalemate between Leahy and Gunsel, Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom proposed Rozelle. The Californian received eight votes, Leahy got one and three teams abstained. "I would be silly to consider myself anything but a compromise commissioner," said Rozelle, who received a three-year contract at an annual salary of $50,000.
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