SBD/March 26, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Owners Meeting Notes: No Decisions Yet On Expanded Postseason

Katz said the NFL usually aims to release its schedule around the third week of April
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell concluded the NFL owners meetings in Orlando this morning with a press conference that addressed many issues facing the league, including an expanded postseason. Goodell said the owners had a "good discussion" about expanding the playoffs "on several fronts," but no decisions were made. He said, "We had a full discussion on the floor with the owners and other executives this week. There's a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support. But there are also things we still want to (examine to) make sure we do it right" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/26).

SCHEDULE ON HOLD: NFL Senior VP/Broadcasting & Media Operations COO Howard Katz yesterday said that it is "too early to target a completion date" for the release of the league's '14 regular-season schedule. Katz: "We’re not far enough along in the process. We always try to shoot for the third week or so of April. Whether we can get there or not, I don’t know." In Chicago, Brad Biggs reports there are "so many factors in building the league’s 512-game schedule -- including stadium conflicts, climate issues and off weeks -- that thousands and thousands of schedules are produced until the league finalizes one" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/26). In Denver, Mike Klis reported the league is not close to finalizing the ’14 regular-season schedule “because of complications that include a third game in London” and the Vikings sharing the Univ. of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium this year (DENVER POST, 3/24).

A BETTER WORKPLACE
: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league will meet on April 8 with the NFLPA to "discuss improving the workplace environment." The AP's Barry Wilner reported in the wake of the Dolphins' bullying scandal, NFL reps "have met with some 40 players in the last three months" regarding workplace environment issues (AP, 3/26).

ULTERIOR MOTIVES? In DC, Thom Loverro writes the NFL "threw a Hail Mary pass Monday when its charitable foundation donated a whopping" $45M to USA Football to expand the organization’s Heads Up Football program, which "attempts to teach a safer way to play the violent game." Nobody "spends that kind of money unless they are desperately afraid of the fear in the heads and hearts of parents about football." The money also will "be used to increase NFL flag football leagues -- for those parents who still might believe real football is not safe enough for little Johnny -- for boys and girls from ages 5 to 17." All of this is "about perception, not results." This "is about addressing the real fears of parents who are now telling their children that they won’t sign permission slips for them to play football -- not as long as they keep reading about lawsuits from football players who hear voices in their heads" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/26).
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