Seventy-three years ago today, the NFL named one of Notre Dame’s famed “Four Horsemen” as its first commissioner.
Then-Notre Dame athletic director Elmer Layden, who coached and played for the Fighting Irish, was tabbed as league commissioner on March 1, 1941.
According to “The Pro Football Chronicle,” Layden beat out two other candidates, including John B. Kelly, the father of actress Grace Kelly.
Before Layden’s hire, the NFL had three league presidents: Jim Thorpe (1920), Joe Carr (1921-1939) and Carl Storck (1939-1941).
Layden held the role of commissioner until 1946, when he went into private business, according to Notre Dame. Layden’s tenure was the shortest of any commissioner in any league history. Bert Bell (1946-1959), Pete Rozelle (1960-1989), Paul Tagliabue (1989-2006) and Roger Goodell (2006-present) have followed in Layden’s footsteps as commissioner.