Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has called off the lawyers, he hasn’t called off the dogs.
A Saturday editorial in the Wall Street Journal takes direct aim at the Commissioner, tracing the league’s current problem to a failure to oust Roger Goodell in the immediate aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle. Some in league circles suspect that the op-ed bears the fingerprints of Jones, who seems to believe that the door remains open to block Goodell’s new contract and, in turn, bring his tenure to an end.
But here’s the problem Jones and the other owners would have to confront: Who would replace Goodell?
It’s similar to the question that emerges when a fan base wants to dump its favorite team’s coach or quarterback. It’s easy to get rid of the guy who have, but it may be hard to find someone as good or better.
As one source explained it to PFT, no one currently in the league office is regarded as a capable, immediate replacement for Goodell. Tod Leiweke and Brian Rolapp are possibilities, in time. For now, though, there’s no one who could easily and seamlessly take over.
Which means that the owners would have to go outside the building, hiring someone from a team or from some other line of work. Some have argued that the size of the league justifies the hiring of a CEO from corporate America — someone who may not know anything about football but who knows everything about helping make a successful business even more successful, by surrounding himself or herself with the right people, knowing what he or she doesn’t know, delegating aggressively, and providing real leadership, direction, and motivation.
But who would that be? With both a looming CBA fight and multiple network negotiations on the horizon, dumping the current Commissioner without a clear plan for his successor could make a bad situation even worse. Which means that, no matter how bad Jones tries to make it for Goodell, the worst-case scenario likely isn’t coming for the Commissioner.