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Key Issues to Be Discussed During NFL Owners Meeting

March 15, 1987

Television

The league's five-year $2.1 million television package expired after 1986 season. Commissioner Pete Rozelle may announce the new contract at the meeting. Currently rumors have CBS and NBC locked into a Sunday television contract, cable giant HBO holding the rights to Thursday night, Friday night and Sunday night games and either ABC or Fox Television taking the Monday Night contract. Insiders say contract should be near the same amount of money, meaning each team would make $14 million a season.

Collective Bargaining

The league's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Player's Association came to an end after last season. The major points of discussion between the league and the players center on free agency, severance and retirement benefits. Union will hold its first-ever convention for players and agents in Los Angeles week of March 22nd.

Instant replay

The use of instant replay on a one-year experimental basis was approved before the 1986 season by a vote of 23-4-1, Denver, Kansas City, N.Y. Giants and St. Louis opposed. Pittsburgh abstained. League will vote on whether to keep replay, 21 votes needed to pass, and also what form it will take. One proposal wants to assign 14 currently active officials to the replay booth and make them a part of the traveling crew.

Overtime

Currently, regular season games go into a 15-minute overtime period if the game ends in a tie. The first team that scores wins. If at the end of the extra period the game remains tied then the game ends in a tie. Under current proposals: 1, overtime would be changed to allow both teams to possess the ball at least once or 2, the game would go on until a winner is decided.

Injured Reserve

Currently teams are allowed five free regular season moves from the injured reserve list without placing the player on waivers. The teams are allowed just one such free move for a player placed on IR during training camp. Current proposals would increase the free moves during the regular season and eliminate the training camp provision.

Public Stock Options

There is no debate scheduled for a bylaw that would allow teams to go public with stock offers similar to the Boston Celtics lucrative $47 million stock offering this year. There is a proposed bylaw, which has been debated and defeated before, by the St. Louis Cardinals to allow publicly-traded corporation to own a percentage of an NFL franchise.

Crowd Noise

Experimentation with radio helmets to combat crowd noise seems to dead at this time. However, the league is looking at a rule similar to the NCAA where the home team could lose a timeout or be penalized because of continuous play stoppage.

Protecting Quarterbacks

The competition committee is looking at ways to increase the protection of the passer after he has released the ball.

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