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Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sizing up the Seahawks' new president

By Mike Sando

The Seattle Seahawks' new president, Peter McLoughlin, lacks NFL experience, even though he comes recommended by commissioner Roger Goodell.

It's that lack of football background that could, in theory, make McLoughlin a good fit now that CEO Tod Leiweke is leaving the organization. Leiweke also was not an NFL guy. He spent his time focusing on reconnecting with fans and the business community, with impressive results. He did not pressure any of the football people on football-related matters.

The Seahawks have a new coach and general manager. The last thing they need is a team president with strong opinions on football matters. McLoughlin should therefore fit into the organization without making many waves, particularly in the short term. He'll influence the longer-term direction of the franchise, the tone the franchise takes publicly and those types of things.

Leiweke oversaw the Seahawks, Seattle Sounders MLS team and Allen's Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, which included the Portland Trail Blazers. McLoughlin will oversee only the Seahawks and Sounders.

McLoughlin's experience in brokering major sports business deals means he's already familiar with NFL power players, including Goodell. That should help Seattle at the league level.

One concern could be navigating and managing the gap between team owner Paul Allen and the football operation. Allen is not directly involved in day-to-day operations or league matters. The team's previous football leadership sometimes felt as though Allen's inner circle at Vulcan, Inc., had too much influence. How might those dynamics come into play now that someone without Leiweke's profile and feel for the team has taken control?