NFL Nation: Jack Straw

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

DANA POINT, Calif. -- Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke was among those with a question for Condoleezza Rice after the former Secretary of State shared her geopolitical and philosophical views with an enthusiastic audience at the NFL owners' meeting.

Leiweke wanted to know where Rice thought the NFL might succeed overseas. Rice's father was a minister, football coach and athletic director in Alabama. He raised his only child to love the game after acknowledging she wouldn't be playing it.

"I think we have to find countries where there is a strong mass sports culture," Rice said. "Clearly, Great Britain is a great possibility. Germany is a strong possibility. I would think that actually Australia might be a place that could be interesting. Places with a mass sports culture and where they play either rugby, Australian rules football or soccer are certainly good. Places where they only play cricket, I would not go. It's not in the genes."

Rice, who weaved humorous asides into her narratives, told a story of the time she joined British leader Jack Straw to participate in the pregame coin toss at an Alabama-Tennessee game. After Alabama won the toss, Rice said their quarterback at the time, Brodie Croyle, turned to her and said in a thick Southern drawl, "Nice flip."

While NFL officials in attendance roared at Rice's Croyle imitation, the former diplomat and current Stanford professor made a broader point.

"The story is that I found it not that hard to explain to Jack football," Rice said. "He is a huge rugby fan and also because I told him one thing: 'Jack, the only thing you need to know about football is if you keep taking territory, you'll win.' "

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