SBD/31/Leagues Governing Bodies

NFL NEWS & NOTES: REALIGNMENT TALK IS JUST THAT, TALK

     Unless NFL owners "are struck by inspiration" Tuesday, their
final realignment proposal "appears doomed to the pile of ideas
too good to come true."  Steelers Owner Dan Rooney is the
principal supporter of the final realignment plan before the
owners this week (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30).  ESPN's
Chris Mortensen: "Since it makes sense, it probably won't happen"
("GameDay," ESPN, 10/30).  The following is reportedly Rooney's
alignment plan.  Teams that would join new divisions are in CAPS:

AFC EAST
AFC CENT
AFC WEST NFC EAST NFC CENT NFC WEST
BUCS PANTHERS OILERS FALCONS JAGUARS CARDINALS
Dolphins COLTS Broncos Cowboys Packers SEAHAWKS
Bills Steelers Raiders Redskins Vikings 49ers
Jets Browns Chargers Giants Lions Rams
Patriots Bengals Chiefs Eagles Bears Saints
STUMBLING BLOCK: Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell is "adamantly opposed to separating from Dallas and thinks the plan is dead. ... If anyone should be in favor of new rivalries, it's Bidwell. And just think if the Los Angeles Rams move to St. Louis. Wouldn't a Cards-Rams NFC West matchup sell?" (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30). Rooney claims he knows of only four opponents to his plan, "but a quick nose-count" by the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION shows "wholesale objections in the NFC East, NFC West and AFC West." Falcons owner Rankin Smith "has said if the team can't be in a so-called Southeast Division, he would stay in the West" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/30). YES VOTES: Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he will vote for the plan: "I have no problems with it. ... We are relatively unaffected by the plans" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/28). Packers President Bob Harlan: "We'd vote for this in a minute" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30). Assuming the Rooney plan is voted down, the Jaguars will be placed in the AFC Central and the Panthers in the NFC West (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). Dave Anderson: "Just hope that kids don't follow the NFL to learn geography" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). Adding an expansion team to the NFC Central "would mean more lucrative paydays for visiting teams, so teams that don't necessarily draw well on the road, such as the Packers and Lions, would appreciate adding one of the expansion teams" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/31). OTHER NEWS: The Patriots have asked the NFL to plan an American Bowl in Israel in the near future. Patriots owner Bob Kraft: "I've talked with Dan Rooney about it. I told him we could go one year to Israel and the next to Ireland. I'm very interested in Israel and he has strong ties to Ireland" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).
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