Shattuck is just utility man NFL needs as commissioner

Commentary

The Kickoff

August 07, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

The NFL could have a new commissioner by the end of the owners meeting that begins today outside Chicago, and who in Baltimore won't be happy to bid farewell to Paul "Build another Museum" Tagliabue?

The list of candidates is down to five and a final decision could be made by late tomorrow, barring a small-market mutiny that could delay the expected coronation of in-house favorite Roger Goodell.

Personally, I'd like to see the NFL go outside the box and choose Constellation Energy chief executive Mayo Shattuck III, but maybe I'm just being provincial - or campaigning for a cushy underling job in the central office, where I hear you have to climb over big barrels of $100 bills just to get to your desk.

I can understand why Mayo might want to be commish. The last time NFL prices were frozen at 1993 levels was in 1993, and do you ever recall the state legislature being called back into session because somebody raised the price of football tickets?

Of course, he'll have to learn that special form of NFL diplomacy that Tagliabue practiced with such flair during the period when Baltimore was trying to reclaim its football heritage. I can just see Mayo telling the next also-ran expansion city that it would be better off using all that stadium money to build another power plant.

Did you know they actually set odds on that sort of thing? One oddsmaker, according to the Associated Press, has posted Goodell as a 2-5 favorite, with the NFL's Washington lawyer Gregg Levy viable at 2-1. The other three candidates, Shattuck, Cleveland attorney Fred Nance and Fidelity Investments vice chairman Robert L. Reynolds, all are listed at 10-1.

Heeee's back! I hope that the rest of the world's top golfers enjoyed the year or so that Tiger Woods was not dominating golf, because it may not happen again for a while.

His amazing 66-66-66-66 performance in the Buick Open, which made him the youngest player to reach 50 tour victories, served notice that he is back at the top of his game.

Tiger, sporting a new goatee, held off an impressive final-round charge by Jim Furyk and followed up his British Open victory two weeks ago with a scary 24-under performance.

In a shocking development, Mark McGwire reportedly has declined to cooperate with the steroid investigation being conducted by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

The New York Daily News reported over the weekend that Big Mac has refused to talk to Mitchell's people and is discouraging those close to him from cooperating. There also is talk on the street that a battle is brewing between Mitchell and the players union over an attempt to get McGwire's medical records from the years he played with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Presumably, McGwire's medical privacy is protected by the federal HIPAA law, which means that the Cardinals may be prohibited from divulging any such information without his written permission.

I managed to carve out a couple of hours from my grueling schedule to see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby this weekend, and it turned me into an instant NASCAR fan.

Can't say the same about some of the serious movies about stock car racing, like Days of Thunder (1990) or The Last American Hero (1973).

Days of Thunder, wasn't that the movie where Tom Cruise played that cocky young guy?

Hey, and who says that NASCAR has no social conscience? The sport has been experimenting with unleaded gasoline and appears ready to switch to the more environmentally friendly type of fuel in 2007 - a year ahead of schedule.

What's next, hybrids?

Can't keep up with all the e-mail I've been getting since I wrote on Friday that the Orioles are not that far away from being able to compete with the Yankees.

The comments ranged from "Are you insane?" to "What have you been smoking?" but I'm convinced that it is possible for the Orioles to acquire enough talent during the coming offseason to be competitive in 2007.

I'm talking about the kind of shopping spree that put the Toronto Blue Jays in contention until they lost seven of their past eight games. If the Orioles are willing to make that kind of financial commitment, anything is possible.

Former Orioles catcher Javy Lopez made an out in a pinch-hitting appearance yesterday for the Boston Red Sox. He now is hitless in 10 at-bats since being traded for minor leaguer Adam Stern.

Somehow, my USC Trojans tied for third in the USA Today preseason coaches poll, despite being dramatically depleted by graduation and the NFL draft. What, did the NCAA change the rules so that Arizona Cardinals holdout Matt Leinart can come back for a sixth season?

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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