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Sports Law Advisory Board Member: Mike Tannenbaum

Mike Tannenbaum

Mike Tannenbaum joined ESPN as an NFL Front Office Insider in April 2019. A former NFL executive with more than two decades of experience in team front offices, he appears on a variety of ESPN platforms, including  Get Up, First Take, SportsCenter and NFL Live. Tannenbaum has also contributed to ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft since 2019, serving as an analyst on ESPN Radio. 

In addition to his ESPN role, Tannenbaum is the founder of football think tank The 33rd Team, and he teaches Football Business Management: The Inner Workings of the NFL at Columbia University. 

Prior to ESPN, Tannenbaum worked for several NFL franchises, most notably as executive vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins (2015-18), and executive vice president and general manager for the New York Jets (2006-12). 

Under Tannenbaum’s leadership, the Dolphins made the playoffs in 2016 for the first time in eight seasons, and the Jets advanced to the playoffs in three seasons, won four playoff games and made two AFC Championship game appearances. Tannenbaum’s tenure as general manager of the Jets marked the most successful seven-year period in franchise history. 

Between executive roles with the Jets and Dolphins, Tannenbaum represented head coaches Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), David Blatt (then with the Cleveland Cavaliers) and others serving as an agent and principal at Priority Sports and Entertainment from 2013-14. 

Tannenbaum began his NFL career as an intern for the New Orleans Saints in 1994. He went on to the Cleveland Browns as a player personnel assistant in 1995, then returned to the Saints for the 1996 season. 

In 1997, then-New York Jets head coach Bill Parcells, now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, hired Tannenbaum as director of player contracts, launching his 16-year career with the team. From there, Tannenbaum advanced to director of pro player development/player contracts in 2000, assistant general manager/director of pro personnel in 2001 and general manager/senior vice president of football operations in 2006. 

Tannenbaum graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in accounting and then, while working for the Saints, earned his certificate in sports law, graduating cum laude from Tulane University Law School. 

In 2008, while serving as a member of the American Bar Association in the sports and entertainment division, Tannenbaum was appointed to the Sports Lawyers Association board of directors. In the same year, he was also appointed to the NFL General Managers Advisory Committee. 

Devoted to philanthropic endeavors and helping young people get their start in sports, Tannenbaum remains true to one of his core values that education and knowledge will always pave a successful path. In keeping with these beliefs, the Tannenbaum family instituted scholarship programs with Tannenbaum’s alma maters, UMass and Tulane Law School, as well as a New Jersey YMCA to afford young professionals the opportunity to pursue their passion in the sports industry without the burden of living expenses. 

A native of Needham, Mass., Tannenbaum resides in Boca Raton, Fla., with his wife and their two children.