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164.1 million: Viewers who watched regular-season NFL games on CBS during the 2013 season

Why he matters: McManus, 59, always will be known as the executive who brought the NFL back to CBS in 1998 after a five-year absence. Deals for the network's most-watched sports properties, the NFL and the NCAA men's basketball tournament, are locked in through 2022 and 2024, respectively. When the NFL began shopping an eight-game Thursday night package in late 2013, it's safe to say all four of the league's media partners -- ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS -- were eager to snap up even more of a sure ratings thing. CBS won out, paying nearly $300 million plus production costs for one season of games to be simulcast on NFL Network. "We're going from a position of strength to strength," says McManus, a married father of a daughter, 14, and a son, 12.

Proudest accomplishment this year: "Working with [CBS Corp. president and CEO] Leslie [Moonves] to acquire Thursday night football for CBS. The NFL is the No. 1 property in America."

Goal for next year: "Convincing the NFL that Thursday Night Football should remain a property on CBS." Will he succeed? "I wouldn't be in this job if I didn't think I'd be successful in that."

How his peers view him: Asked if the commissioners of the major pro sports leagues would call him a tough negotiator, McManus allows: "I've had a lot of excellent mentors in this industry, starting with my father [sportscaster Jim McKay], and the one lesson I've learned is it's important to be very tough at times. But it's just as important to be fair all of the time. Winning one negotiation because you're tough and leaving the other person wounded might be beneficial in the short term, but long term it's not going to serve you very well."