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Volume 24 No. 116
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NFL NEWS & NOTES: REALIGNMENT TALK IS JUST THAT, TALK

     Unless NFL owners "are struck by inspiration" Tuesday, theirfinal realignment proposal "appears doomed to the pile of ideastoo good to come true."  Steelers Owner Dan Rooney is theprincipal supporter of the final realignment plan before theowners this week (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30).  ESPN'sChris Mortensen: "Since it makes sense, it probably won't happen"("GameDay," ESPN, 10/30).  The following is reportedly Rooney'salignment 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 "adamantlyopposed 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 fouropponents to his plan, "but a quick nose-count" by the ATLANTACONSTITUTION shows "wholesale objections in the NFC East, NFCWest and AFC West." Falcons owner Rankin Smith "has said if theteam can't be in a so-called Southeast Division, he would stay inthe West" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/30).YES VOTES: Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he will vote for theplan: "I have no problems with it. ... We are relativelyunaffected by the plans" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/28). PackersPresident Bob Harlan: "We'd vote for this in a minute" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE, 10/30). Assuming the Rooney plan is voted down, theJaguars will be placed in the AFC Central and the Panthers in theNFC 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 teamsthat don't necessarily draw well on the road, such as the Packersand Lions, would appreciate adding one of the expansion teams"(CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/31). OTHER NEWS: The Patriots have asked the NFL to plan anAmerican Bowl in Israel in the near future. Patriots owner BobKraft: "I've talked with Dan Rooney about it. I told him wecould go one year to Israel and the next to Ireland. I'm veryinterested in Israel and he has strong ties to Ireland" (WillMcDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).