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REPORT INDICATES TAGLIABUE TO RECOMMEND NO ON RAMS MOVE
Published March 10, 1995
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will notify all 30 teams today "that he is recommending a vote against the Rams' proposed move to St. Louis," according to Bill Plaschke in this morning's L.A. TIMES. A league source who spoke to Tagliabue said the recommendation "was not final and could be changed" during the owners' meeting that begins Sunday in Phoenix. If eight owners follow Tagliabue's recommendation, the move would be blocked. But the Rams "will be given a chance to sway" owners by promising to pay a relocation fee and a cut of the $70M raised by the sale of PSL's (L.A. TIMES, 3/10). Tagliabue "concedes" that the Rams haven't shown significant operating losses for over a "sustained period of time," one of the NFL's guidelines in approving a move (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/10). IN THIS CORNER: Plaschke writes that Tagliabue's recommendation "sounds much like a bargaining chip." If he recommended a yes vote, team owners would lose all leverage in collecting financial fees from the Rams. If the team does move, L.A. would become "the leading candidate for an expansion team in four of five years" and owners hoping for better stadium deals will still have "leverage with their local city officials." One NFL exec: "While we are losing a big market in the short run, we are gaining a lucrative expansion market in the long run" (L.A. TIMES, 3/10). Another possible factor in the Rams' favor is the 49ers proposal to reduce the number of votes necessary to pass NFL legislation from 23 to 21, which could be voted on before the Rams vote. The Rams and St. Louis officials have also "laid the groundwork" for suing the league if owners reject the move (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 3/9). SAVE THE RAMS: Save the Rams, the civic group trying to keep the team in the L.A. area, will present their case to NFL owners early next week. Possible speakers include CA Gov. Pete Wilson and perspective team buyers, former Mariners Owner George Argyros and banking executive William Foley (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/10). HELLO PETER, THIS IS AL: The Raiders have been "carrying on a discreet flirtation with Baltimore" according to USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes (USA TODAY, 3/10).