The Legacy of the “Sun King”

Tagliabue Weaver

Orlando TV station apologizes for showing Jaguars


When forced to broadcast the Oakland Raiders – Jacksonville Jaguars game rather than the “Manning” Bowl match between the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants, an Orlando TV station apologized to its viewers on Sunday.

The sorry Jacksonville Jaguars have sunk very low indeed.

The NFL continues to carry the burdens of Paul Tagliabue’s terrible tenure as NFL commissioner. Instead of having a historic franchise in Cleveland, strong organizations in Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Charlotte, a solid expansion club in football mad Baltimore, and a respected organization in our nation’s capital, Paul Tagliabue weakened six NFL franchises during his ill-fated reign as NFL Commissioner.

Events this week served to again remind NFL fans of Tagliabue’s horrible decisions in 1994 regarding NFL expansion. The consequences of Tagliabue’s attempts to favor Jack Kent Cooke’s desire to keep football out of Baltimore are still reverberating among fans and owners alike today. A few of the ramifications that arose from a commissioner who was never able to rise above his K Street training:

1.) Cleveland – A fanatically loyal fan base is crushed by the loss of its beloved franchise a few years before the organization finally wins a Super Bowl in Baltimore. Cleveland’s replacement “expansion” franchise continues to struggle a dozen years later.

2.) Jacksonville – Paul Tagliabue’s expansion winner over an obviously more lucrative Baltimore bid has cost the NFL millions in the years since this sorry franchise came into existence. Jacksonville is a good city with good citizens but it is first and always a college town. Further, its existence weakens franchises in Tampa Bay, Charlotte and even Atlanta.

3.) Tampa Bay – This franchise, currently being drained of profits by Jacksonville, might have prospered, or at least broke even, if Paul Tagliabue had never been commissioner of the NFL.

4.) Charlotte – Another weak “Sun King” project that has cost NFL owners millions.

5.) Washington – The NFL might not have to deal with the rising tidal wave of racial ugliness emanating from the current owner’s refusal to change the team’s mascot. Who knows what may have happened, and who may now own the Washington franchise, if the “Sun King” had not blown NFL expansion so badly way back when…

6.) Baltimore – That the Ravens have emerged as one of the strongest, most respected franchises in the NFL, an organization with two Super Bowl championships in its first dozen years, is proof beyond doubt of Paul Tagliabue’s buffoonery! His arrogant command to the citizens of Maryland to “build a museum” with their expansion funds will ring forever in the minds of every Ravens fan who looks at the banners surrounding M&T Stadium over the next 100 years!


Submitted by Rob Ward

10 Raves on “The Legacy of the “Sun King”

  1. skaughtz on said:

    “The NFL might not have to deal with the rising tidal wave of racial ugliness emanating from the current owner’s refusal to change the team’s mascot.”

    I very much enjoy how a simple Google search confirms that the word “Redskins” is firmly and almost solely implanted in the modern lexicon as referring to a football team and not a racial slur for Native Americans. If you get to throw that little quip into your article, I get to randomly stir up an unnecessary discussion about it.

  2. Luke on said:

    What on earth is this article supposed to be about? Should I look for an article tomorrow reviewing Gerald Ford’s presidency as well? If you look at Tagliabue compared to contemporaries Selig, Stern, Goodell, and Bettman, he comes out smelling like a rose.

  3. James on said:

    The article is poorly written… Paul Tagliabue has a dislike of Baltimore that has never been explained. if the article had focused on that and used the examples above as supporting statements and discovered WHY Tagliabue has done his best to disrespect Baltimore, then maybe there would have been some substance to this article….

  4. Ravcolt on said:

    While your results speak for themselves, the question really is: Who owns the commissioner? It’s the owners of the franchises. It’s also the owners of the franchises who chose Wayne Weaver over any of the three rag-tag Baltimore ownership groups. I was told threw a source in JVille that Weaver was actually offered the Baltimore deal and turned it down to remain in JVille where his company was headquartered. The owners are small elite group who do not want any more Irsay’s than they have to have. While Tagliabue was not the most loved, and less a visionary, he was not ultimately calling the shots IMO. Baltimore lost out because of lack of quality ownership at the time. We see now what a difference it makes.

  5. Middle River Terp on said:

    There are several flaws in this argument. The Ravens were lucky enough to keep the Browns Front Office when they moved. If the Ravens were a true expansion franchise, there is no saying what the FO would look like. And it doesn’t matter if Baltimore got an expansion franchise or not, how does that make the Redskins change their name? Carolina has been to the SB and has an 80,000+ seat stadium, pretty sure they make money for the league.

  6. mark on said:

    according to Bruce Cunningham the Ravens PA announcer and Baltimore sports reporter who covered the Baltimore expansion back in the mid 90′s and was very close to the situation,he gives a little different version of the story..the NFL at the time wanted the Orlando/Disney market..they wanted a team in the Carolinas and were coveting the central Florida market..they saw an opportunity to tap into the revenue of Orlando and that Baltimore in their mind was almost never the number 2 wasn’t until things started to fall through and fall apart in Orlando that Jacksonville seriously came into play as an option with the league figuring that if they can’t have Orlando,they can kind of still put a toe in that market and the closest most viable city,who already had a stadium plan and ownership in place so Jacksonville was awarded that second franchise..Baltimore to my understanding of the story was never an option for the league in terms of expansion.a lot of people put the blame soely on Jack Kent Cooke and his association with Tagliabue and the like but really he is given too much credit because Orlando was always the city that the NFL was interested in..this story was told on Bruce Cunningham’s radio show on 105.7 the fan back in 08-09..

  7. D Enid Strzala on said:

    I remember bitterly the 13 yrs w/o a team. My grandkids just know the ravens. We are a family where the women love football like the men. I now love the Ravens, but I remember sitting in front of tv hoping for a franchise. but no wouldn’t happen. During the time w/o a team I couldn’t attach to another team, just liked certain players. A very sad time. I am 73

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