In an attempt at further involving the fan base in its "massively popular product, the NFL is offering 250 fans an opportunity to be in the Lucas Oil Stadium stands next weekend for a portion of the NFL Scouting Combine," according to Mike Chappell of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Individuals can register "at 1iota.com, which is handling the beta test for the league." Indianapolis-based National Football Scouting Dir Jeff Foster said, "They've been asking us to put fans in the stands for the last four years. Obviously this is important to the NFL, so we're excited to partner with them on the opportunity." Chappell noted it is "debatable whether the NFL's legion of personnel types and executives will embrace the marketing venture" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Doug Farrar wrote while putting fans in the stands for Media Day during Super Bowl week was "actually a great idea," the scouting combine is "just a different animal." It is a "serious event, and concentration is a premium asset." Farrar: "I'm not saying that putting fans in the stands would automatically mess that up; it's just hard to see what the mutual advantage would be" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/18).
STILL TALKING ABOUT 18-GAME SCHEDULE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week discussed an 18-game schedule during a radio interview in N.Y., saying, "I appreciate the enthusiasm for it and I hear it from the fans consistently. People want more football. I think they want less preseason and more regular season and that's the concept we are talking about here. ... We are going to make changes in the offseason and during the preseason and during the regular season to make the game safer. If we can accomplish that we'll look at the idea of restructuring the season and taking two preseason games away and the potential of adding regular season games, but I don't think that will happen until at least 2013 or '14." SI.com's Peter King writes, "Unless there have been some double-secret-probation meetings between the commissioner and leadership of the NFLPA, I am missing something here. Just who exactly is the commissioner hearing from 'constantly?' And if you're out there, I'd love to hear from you." King: "There is no good reason to subject NFL players to two more games that count. The only reason is greed. The idea of an equal exchange -- two regular season games in, two preseason games out -- between games that don't count and those that do is folly. ... I've asked fans, by Twitter poll, if they'd like to see 18 regular season games, and the overwhelming answer was no" (SI.com, 2/20).
NO PAY FOR PERFORMING? NFLPA Dir of Communications Carl Francis said that there will be "no performance-based pay pursuant to" the '11 season. Francis wrote in an e-mail that money has "been allocated elsewhere to overall salaries and benefits following the lockout and the agreement on a new" CBA. Francis indicated that performance-based pay is a "part of the new CBA and will be paid out in the future, though the league and the union are 'still negotiating the language'" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 2/18).