Commissioner Vote Was Close

Roger Goodell's election as NFL commissioner never was in serious peril Tuesday, but several people familiar with the owners' voting said late Tuesday night and today that the race was close.

According to several sources, Goodell got 15 votes on the first ballot that the owners took Tuesday in Northbrook, Ill., while Washington attorney Gregg Levy got 13 votes. At that point, outgoing commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the search committee dropped the other three finalists from the ballot, even though the owners had resolved Monday to keep all five candidates under consideration for at least three ballots.

The second and third ballots failed to decide the competition but then Goodell got 21 votes (to 10 for Levy) on the fourth ballot, sources said. That left Goodell only one vote shy of the 22 needed for election, and the outcome was essentially sealed. On the fifth ballot, Goodell got 23 votes and Levy received eight (with Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis abstaining), then the owners made the vote unanimous by acclamation.

By Mark Maske |  August 9, 2006; 1:19 PM ET  | Category:  Commissioner
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