Tagliabue replaces Rozelle as NFL commissioner

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:34 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Oct. 26, 1989

Seven months after Pete Rozelle announces he's stepping down as NFL commissioner after 29 years, the owners elect a new boss. There have been search committees and more than 50 hours of debate on the subject before today's vote for the NFL's seventh commissioner.

Finally, on the 11th ballot, they select a man who grew up in Jersey City rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers and dreaming of playing for the Boston Celtics. He's Paul Tagliabue, a 48-year-old Washington-based lawyer who gets the nod over Jim Finks, the choice of the longstanding owners. Tagliabue, a former Georgetown basketball player, has worked with Rozelle for two decades as an antitrust specialist.

"Do I think it's going to be a bed of roses?" Tagliabue asks rhetorically. "No."