Image left: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, rear, looks on as his wife talks with Expedition 8 Commander Michael Foale.
NFL's Tagliabue Chats With Station Crew
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue chatted about life in space, the view from orbit and -- of course -- football during a telephone call to the International Space Station today.
Tagliabue is in Houston for this weekend's Super Bowl, where a pre-game tribute will honor the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia on the one year anniversary of its loss.
Tagliabue dropped by Johnson Space Center to make the extreme long-distance call, shaking hands and signing footballs for NASA employees in Mission Control.
During the brief call, Tagliabue thanked Expedition 8 Commander Mike Foale for inspiring young people, and said the NFL would use its experience with NASA to do the same.
| "Millions of young Americans have better things to do than playing football, and the two of you are doing some of those things" |
| --NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to ISS crew|
"Millions of young Americans have better things to do than playing football, and the two of you are doing some of those things," Tagliabue said, referring to Foale and his crewmate Alexander Kaleri.
Foale described the crew's unique view for Tagliabue, pointing out that they had clear views of Mt. Everest in the Himalayas as well as Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro earlier in the day. Tagliabue's wife, Chandler, talked with Foale about the crew's ability to follow weather patterns from the Station.
When Tagliabue asked the crew if they were "tethered," Kaleri and Foale both did flips to demonstrate that they weren't, before Foale explained how the crew used foot loops to stay in place.
Image right: Expedition 8 Commander Michael Foale tosses a toy football during the call as crewmate Alexander Kaleri looks on.
Floating a toy football toward the camera, Foale called the Super Bowl a "very American phenomenon," and said it was probably the "grandest and greatest sports event on the planet."
And, Foale said, they'll look forward to following the game from above.