Much has been made of the fact that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once said her dream job after leaving politics would be commissioner of the National Football League. Her quote from several years ago took on new prominence earlier this year when current Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced he was retiring.
|Amy Trask, CEO, Oakland Raiders
In reality, if the NFL -- or any of the five major professional sports leagues, for that matter -- were to ever name their first female commissioner, it would be Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask.
Of the roughly 80 women who occupy front-office positions in the testosterone-ridden NFL, Ms. Trask maintains the highest profile. She was once an intern with the Raiders. After earning a political science degree at Cal-Berkeley and a law degree at USC, she became in-house counsel for the team and was named CEO by owner Al Davis in 1997. All told, Ms. Trask has been with the franchise for 19 years.
Mr. Davis is known as a "rebel" owner in the league, and some say Ms. Trask, 45, has taken on some of his qualities. The Raiders CEO, who was unavailable for interview by press time, was once referred to in a magazine article as "Al with a law degree." One former NFL executive calls her the "Princess of Darkness" and says "her veins run ice-cold water."
But there's no doubt Ms. Trask has helped soften Mr. Davis while taking on more responsibility. That includes captaining a new ticket initiative earlier this year in which the Raiders abandoned their personal seat license program and actually reduced prices on two-thirds of their seats. She plans to introduce the new setup via a marketing campaign.
And when the Raiders began selling straight tickets instead of forcing fans to first buy PSLs, who was manning the phones and taking orders? Ms. Trask.
Oh, and about the commissioner thing: It isn't hyperbole. Las Vegas odds have her at 75-1 to become the next head of the NFL -- a longshot, to be sure, but not as long as Ms. Rice or former president Bill Clinton (both at 500-1).
"Amy's legit," says a rival NFL team executive. "She has her finger on the pulse of everything that goes on with the Raiders and with the league."