Former Seahawks executive Tod Leiweke has been hired by the NFL to be their new Chief Operating Officer. Leiweke resigned as CEO of Paul Allen's Vulcan Sports and Entertainment back in 2010 to become CEO of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, leaving a post with Vulcan that oversaw ownership of the Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Sounders FC. Lieweke was instrumental in the hiring of Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and both have spoken glowingly of Leiweke for the work he did at the beginning of the Carroll era to put everything together.
In Leiweke, the NFL gets a highly respected executive that has earned praise in every role he's undertaken over the last decade. Also, and I'm not sure if this has any effect for Seattle, but it's noteworthy: as Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith framed it, "Leiweke is a longtime ally of Seahawks owner Paul Allen and has worked for all of Allen's sports franchises."
Leiweke has served Vinik and the Lightning for the past five years as part of an executive team brought to the Lightning by Vinik with the vision of building a world class franchise on and off the ice. During that time, the Lightning has become one of the NHL's top franchises, winning the Eastern Conference Championship and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 while reaching new heights off the ice.
"Tod has been instrumental in our franchise transformation and I am grateful for all his work and dedication," said Vinik upon making the announcement. "During Tod's five years with the Lightning, we have set our franchise on a trajectory for excellence with Steve Griggs and an outstanding management team working beside him every step of the way. Steve is ready for the additional responsibilities that come with being CEO, and, as a testament to Tod, we will not miss a beat moving forward."