NFL OWNERS MEETING HAS FULL PLATE OF STOCKING AND REALIGNING
NFL owners meet tomorrow and Thursday in Dallas to vote on a
stocking plan for the two expansion teams and to continue
discussions on realignment.
STOCKING PLAN: The executive committee of the NFL
Management Council is scheduled to meet tonight to finalize its
stocking plan for the Panthers and the Jaguars. It is expected
that the 28 existing teams will have to expose only 5-7 players
each in the expansion draft. And, instead of getting "as many as
21 additional draft picks over the next three years, as was
originally considered, Carolina and Jacksonville may get only 10
to 14 extra picks apiece over that span." Mark Richardson,
Director of Business Operations for the Panthers, "fears the
Panthers will field a poor product not because of any front-
office shortcomings, but 'we're not going to have access to
talented players.'" The exposed lists will probably consist of
older players with higher salaries, or players with injury
problems (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/27).
REALIGNMENT: There probably will be no resolution on
realignment, but it is beginning to look like the Panthers and
Jaguars will be "plugged into the four-team division," with the
Panthers in the NFC West and the Jags in the AFC Central (Gary
Myers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/27). In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas notes that
because of the Jaguars and the Bucs overlapping TV rights, the
two teams most likely will not be placed in the same conference.
There has been talk that the Bucs and Colts might switch
divisions so that the Dolphins and Bucs could play twice a year.
Bucs VP Rich McKay said last week the team would like to develop
the in-state rivalry but it is not "displeased" with the NFC
Central. However the NFC Central may be "displeased" with the
Bucs. Lions VP Chuck Schmidt: "Clearly, we want Carolina
replacing Tampa." Schmidt noted that the Panthers would bring in
more than double the division's average in visitor's shares.
Schmidt said the NFC Central has the league's lowest average
visitor's share -- $525,000 -- and the Bucs are part of the
reason. NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello: "Financial
benefits are a consideration that will be a part of the analysis
for realignment" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/27). USA TODAY's Gordon
Forbes notes that the NFL might wind up with two moves: Atlanta
and Arizona (9/27).
CHARITY: Christmas in April USA, the nation's largest
volunteer home rehabilitation initiative, will honor the NFL on
September 30 at its national conference in San Francisco. NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will accept the award on behalf of
the league (THE DAILY).