Owners set to consider N.Y. Super Bowl, new OT rule in regular season
The NFL's franchise owners are to begin gathering Monday at a hotel in the Dallas area for their one-day spring meeting Tuesday, at which they could award a Super Bowl to the New York area and might consider extending the sport's new overtime format to regular season games.
New York is bidding to host the 2014 Super Bowl and is regarded by many observers as a strong favorite to get the game. The other bidders are Florida sites, Tampa and the Miami area.
The potential cold-weather Super Bowl would be played in New Jersey at the new stadium at the Meadowlands being built by the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The stadium opens next season.
The 2014 game is the next available Super Bowl without a host city. Next season's game is to be played in Dallas, followed by Super Bowls in Indianapolis in 2012 and New Orleans in 2013.
There appears to be strong sentiment within the league to play the sport's biggest game in the shadow of New York City. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will remain neutral on the topic but he believes it is an idea worth the owners' consideration. Some owners have expressed wariness about playing a Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. But the league waived its usual average-temperature restriction (for prospective Super Bowl cities with outdoor stadiums) to allow the New York bid to proceed, and some observers consider it a foregone conclusion that the owners will vote to award the game to New York.
It also is possible that the owners could vote to extend the sport's new overtime rule to the regular season. The owners voted in March in Orlando at the annual league meeting to approve the new format for postseason games only. The new rule prohibits a team from ending a postseason game with a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, as the New Orleans Saints did in beating the Minnesota Vikings in last season's NFC championship game at the Superdome.
Goodell has said that the owners would consult with the players' union and television networks and have the rule-making competition committee study the issue further before determining whether the owners should vote at this meeting to use the new format in regular season games as well. It's not certain that such a vote will take place Tuesday.
Under the new rule, the team that gets the ball first in overtime can win the game with a touchdown. If it gets a field goal, the other team gets a possession and can win with a touchdown or tie with a field goal. If that team gets a tying field goal, the game is sudden death from there. If neither team scores on its opening possession of overtime, the game proceeds on a sudden-death basis.
Competition committee members say they proposed the new rule because an increasing percentage of overtime games are being won by the team that wins the coin toss to determine possession at the outset of overtime, in part due to the improving accuracy of field goal kickers. Some within the league are wary of immediately extending the new format to regular season games, however, because of the potential for putting an increased burden on players with longer games.
The NFL Players Association has taken the stance that the new overtime format must be collectively bargained with the players. The league has rejected that notion, contending that the owners merely must seek the players' input on the matter and have done that. It's possible that the issue would become increasingly combative if the owners extend the new rule to regular season games.
May 24, 2010; 10:33 AM ET
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