Football embraces the concept of the throwback. And in recent years nothing had been more throwback for the league office than business attire at 345 Park Avenue.
It’s been a daily jacket-and-tie convention during business hours for Big Shield, with the only casual days being (if that) Saturdays and Sundays. But that recently changed.
As explained by Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the league decided last month to ditch formal business attire in the workplace, for the first time ever. Technically, it’s now business casual — a term that NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined to define to Kaplan.
“We continue to evolve policies to better reflect workplace practices,” McCarthy told Kaplan.
There’s a caveat to the No Fun League’s no jacket, no tie reality.
“In essence if you [are] meeting with partners or people from outside it is anticipated you would wear business attire,” McCarthy said.
Former NFL spokesman Joe Browne provided some historical context to Kaplan.
“My first boss was Pete Rozelle,” Browne said. “He always wore a jacket and tie in the league office. One day the air conditioning wasn’t working so I begged him to take off his jacket. The funny thing was he didn’t know where to hang it because he had never removed it before. My second commissioner was Paul Tagliabue. His idea of a casual-attire policy was to wear only a blazer and tie when he worked in the office on a Saturday during the offseason instead of wearing his normal dark suit and tie.”
That attitude lingered for decades, even though the rest of the business world dramatically changed. The NFL is now catching up — as long as there are no meetings with partners or people from outside the league office.