Some things to look for at owners meetings
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The NFL's May owners meetings always include some interesting and key issues for the league. Many times, there are proposed rules changes tabled at the annual meetings two months earlier. Or future Super Bowl sites.
This get-together has those elements. Almost certainly though, any hard news such as changing the dynamics of extra points or revealing how close the league is to returning a team (or two) to Los Angeles will be overshadowed by the latest scandal.
So here are some things to look for when these meetings begin in earnest:
KRAFT'S STRATEGY: Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been portrayed in the last few days as angry, frustrated, even defiant. A few of his fellow team owners expect Kraft, among the most powerful men in the sport and a longtime confidant and friend of Commissioner Roger Goodell, to address the general session early on. If he asks to do so, Goodell is in no position to deny the request given the punishment handed out last week to New England over the use of deflated footballs in the AFC title game: a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady, a $1 million fine, loss of a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017.
Kraft could appeal the team's penalties, perhaps even wind up in a courtroom down the road over the discipline. Or his strategy could be to swallow hard for the betterment of the NFL — something he's often been praised for doing by other owners — and not challenge the punishment.
Talk of a compromise between the Patriots and the league has spread in the last two days, as well. The question would then become whether both sides look foolish by making a deal to lessen the penalties; some could see that as New England admitting guilt and the NFL admitting it doesn't have any valid guidelines for disciplining teams.
MOVE IT BACK: With three proposals on the agenda for moving extra-point kicks back to the 15-yard line, look for the owners to approve one, although possibly on a trial basis. They recognize how automatic (read boring, or fan-unfriendly) the current chip shots are.
More intriguing is which of the suggestions on the 2-point conversion would they fancy?
The Patriots want the 2-pointers from the 2-yard line. So does the powerful competition committee, which adds that if the defensive teams causes a turnover and take it to the other end zone, it gets the two points. The Eagles also want that addition, plus spotting the ball at the 1 on the 2-pointers.
In such cases, the owners often go with what the committee has recommended.
FUTURE SUPER BOWLS: The number of cities interested in hosting the Super Bowl is bound to grow exponentially now that Atlanta is getting a new stadium and the New York game in 2014 was such a success.
Next year's title game is in Santa Clara, California. Then it's Houston in 2017 and Minneapolis in 2018.
The owners will be filled in on potential sites beyond that. Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Washington, Nashville and Carolina all have been mentioned as possible bidders.
Maybe even Los Angeles, which brings us to ...
SOCAL BECKONS: Ah, yes, L.A., which has not had an NFL franchise in two decades. Now, three teams are dickering to relocate there — all of them having already called Hollywood home. The Rams and Raiders both left after the 1994 season, while the Chargers played the first season of the AFL in L.A. before heading to San Diego.
At long last, it seems a solid stadium project has surfaced. Maybe even two.
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is behind a project in Inglewood, California, while the Raiders and Chargers are backing one in Carson. Last month, Goodell said both plans looked "viable."
There won't be any votes taken on how to proceed in L.A. at these meetings, but the owners will hear progress reports about St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego.
None of the teams can apply for relocation before Jan. 1, but that window that runs through Feb. 15 could be moved up, although that wouldn't happen before the October meetings in New York.
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