NFL OWNERS MEETINGS END WITHOUT RESOLUTION OF KEY ISSUES
NFL owners "don't have a lot to show for their four days of
meetings at the plush Breakers Resort and Beach Club," according
to Paul Domowitch of the PHILA. DAILY NEWS. NFL Commissioner
Paul Tagliabue did approve the experimental use of instant replay
during the '96 preseason, and "the league will experiment with it
unofficially during the regular season." Domowitch notes if they
are "satisfied," replay could return in '97 (PHILA. DAILY NEWS,
3/14). But Thomas George of the N.Y. TIMES notes some owners and
coaches understood if the pre-season experiment worked, it could
be implemented in '96 by a special vote. Tagliabue "insisted"
that was not the case (N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).
LOOSE ENDS: The "hot-button issues" of franchise free-
agency and revenue sharing were left unresolved, and Tagliabue
noted he would convene a special meeting in April to vote on the
Oilers move. In Washington, Leonard Shapiro notes the owners did
"virtually nothing." Bills Owner Ralph Wilson: "I'm exhausted
and we didn't do anything." Asked why the league had yet to
address franchise relocation, Tagliabue said -- "somewhat
testily" -- "It's like [Giants GM] George Young says, 'You want
me to have peace in Bosnia, but you work out the details'"
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/14). A "disgusted" Bucs GM Rich McKay:
"This was a typical NFL owners' meeting" (Tim Panaccio, PHILA.
INQUIRER, 3/14). Wilson: "Call us the National Floating League"
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/14). Asked if he was going to
Cincinnati to lobby for the tax increase before Tuesday's vote on
a new facility for the Bengals, Tagliabue said, "Not that I'm
aware of." This "fueled speculation" the league wouldn't mind
seeing the Tuesday sales-tax vote fail, allowing the Bengals to
move (Bart Hubbuch, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 3/14).
TALK TURKEY: Chiefs Owner Lamar Hunt "unexpectedly re-
opened" the issue of the Thanksgiving Day game, including the
discussion as part of his bid to have conference championships
played at neutral sites and to expand the playoffs from 12 to 16
teams. A questionnaire was given on the Thanksgiving contest,
asking owners their thoughts on rotating or adding a game. Lions
COO Chuck Schmidt was "upset" with the timing (Mike O'Hara,
DETROIT NEWS, 3/14).
NEWS & NOTES: NFL spokesperson Joe Browne said the league
expects to house Browns' records and memorabilia in a trust at
the Hall of Fame, while the team awaits a new owner (Akron BEACON
JOURNAL, 3/14)....The Cowboys are likely to play the Chiefs in
the American Bowl in Monterrey, Mexico, this August. The Cowboys
will also play the Oilers in Orlando during preseason. The
Citrus Bowl is paying each team $1M for the appearance (DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 3/14).... Dolphins Owner Wayne Huizenga "cleared a
major hurdle" on cross-ownership when the Finance Committee
recommended changing the policy. The Committee suggested owners
be allowed to control more than one pro franchise as long as the
teams compete in the same market (MIAMI HERALD, 3/13). ....San
Francisco's "pullout" as host of the '99 Super Bowl is expected
to be finalized this week. S.F. Mayor Willie Brown is expected
to ask for 2002 (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/14).