SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

THE ANTI-BLOWOUT RULE? NFL TO DISCUSS NEW PLAYOFF FORMAT

     "In the wake of a fourth straight blowout" by the NFC over
the AFC in the Super Bowl, the NFL "will soon begin internal
discussions on the feasibility of changing the playoff format,"
according to Leonard Shapiro in this morning's WASHINGTON POST.
One top NFL exec:  "It's clear that we can't continue with
sustained blowouts in our biggest game of the year."  The exec
stressed that any plan "almost certainly would not be presented
to club owners for a vote at their annual winter meeting next
month in Phoenix.  However, he indicated the subject would be
discussed by the league office and by team owners in Phoenix,
adding that 'whether it happens in the next year is
problematic.'"  NFL sources said the "likely scenario" is for NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to have his staff report to the
Competition Committee, which would then make a recommendation to
the full ownership.  One system discussed would seed the 12
playoff teams (still six from each conference) from 1-12, with
No. 1 and No. 2 placed in separate brackets.  Any playoff format
change would require at least a 3/4 vote of the NFL's 30 owners,
and be "satisfactory" to the NFL's network TV partners
(WASHINGTON POST, 2/1).
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