- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla. If NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has his way, Washington and New York will both play host to Super Bowls.
"I don't think it's one or the other," Tagliabue said at the NFL's annual spring meetings yesterday. "If [we decide] to play the ultimate game in open-air stadiums, the likelihood will be that we would have Super Bowls in both New York and Washington. It's not just a short-term reaction to the terrorist attacks on those cities. It's not just an emotional reaction. It's not just a short-term economic decision. It's a feeling that having Super Bowls in those two cities would be very positive for the cities, for the nation and for the league. [Many of] the larger metropolitan centers are in Northern-climate cities. We have an interest in serving our fans in those markets."
Only two of the 36 Super Bowls have been played in Northern climates and both were in domed stadiums. That will also be the case for the Super Bowl in Detroit in 2005.
"There's still a lot of interest in the idea," said Tagliabue, who first broached the concept in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. "We're continuing to have discussions with the business communities in both cities."
However, while New York Giants owner Robert Tisch has formed a committee to help lure the Super Bowl to his stadium, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been more private about his plans. Yesterday, he characterized Tagliabue's comments as "good news."
The Super Bowl is scheduled through 2006. To have the game at FedEx Field or at Giants Stadium would require a waiver of the league rule that prevents the Super Bowl from being played in a locale where the average January temperature is below 50 degrees.
"We've come through the warmest winter in the Northeast since 1931, but we have to be mindful that we could have cold weather and snow," Tagliabue said. "[However], we're already dealing with the logistics of travel [to and from] and team practices in Detroit."
The talk of Super Bowls in Washington and New York was a major topic during Tagliabue's news conference, though he said the idea of Super Bowls in Washington and/or New York won't be voted on before the league's next get-together in October, if then.
Meanwhile, Tagliabue doesn't envision the NFL moving more games to cable TV even though the broadcast networks claim to be losing money because of declining ratings on football. Despite the heat-related death of Minnesota's Korey Stringer last August, Tagliabue said he didn't anticipate any changes in how teams handle extreme weather conditions. Tagliabue also said that the current instant replay system is "set in stone" for the next two years.
Notes San Diego's Marty Schottenheimer is the only head coach among the league's 32 teams not expected to be here. A Chargers spokesman said last year's Redskins coach is on a scouting trip.
Co-chairmen Jeff Fisher of Tennessee and Rich McKay said the competition committee will offer eight or nine rules changes to the owners today. Among them are: a loosening of the now-infamous tuck rule; not allowing teams a second onsides kick if the first goes out of bounds; players not being ruled out of bounds if they touch an end zone pylon; the clock continuing to run after sacks in the final two minutes of a half or a game; and penalizing players for helmet-to-helmet hits on quarterbacks even after a turnover. The committee is divided on liberalizing the tuck rule with Fisher in favor and McKay opposed. Tagliabue said that he doesn't see any reason to change the rule which played a big factor in eventual Super Bowl champion New England's playoff victory over Oakland.
NFL executive vice president Harold Henderson outlined a five-year plan under which players will be paid small bonuses based on playing time with those making the lowest salaries likely to earn up to 75 percent of the $500,000 per team. Henderson anticipates the pool accumulating to a league-wide $250million through 2006. The money will come out of mandated player benefits but won't count against the salary cap.


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