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SUPER BOWL QUICK HITS

Roger Goodell says Los Angeles has a shot to host 2016 Super Bowl

The NFL commissioner says league will take a hard look at it, regardless of whether Los Angeles has a team by then.

January 31, 2009|Sam Farmer

TAMPA, FLA. — In his annual Super Bowl news conference Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would take a hard look at bringing the Super Bowl back to Los Angeles in 2016 -- the 50th anniversary of the game -- whether or not the city has a team.

The first Super Bowl was held in L.A., at the Coliseum, and 2016 would also mark the 70th anniversary of the 1946 L.A. Rams, the first integrated major professional sports team. L.A. businessmen Casey Wasserman and Tim Leiweke are trying to position L.A. to play host to Super Bowl L and the Pro Bowl that precedes it, either in the Coliseum or Rose Bowl -- or in a new stadium, if one is built by then.

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Overtime changes?

Goodell said the NFL is going to take a hard look at how overtime games are decided, including the possibility of ruling out games being decided by a field goal on the opening drive of the extra period.

"It's been considered before, and I'm sure it will be considered among the alternatives," he said. "There are other ways of addressing the field goal on the first drive, and I think it's something the competition committee needs to consider."

He said that while historically about 30% of overtime games are decided when the team that wins the coin flip scores on its opening possession, that number has recently risen to roughly 47%.

"I think that's significant," he said. "It's something our committee needs to look at. When you couple that with the fact that our field-goal kickers are much more accurate than they have been in the past, that's a danger.

"We have talked about different concepts, and the committee will discuss this."

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Ward on schedule

In their final true practice before the Super Bowl -- they have a walk-through today -- the Steelers looked sharp, according to pool reporter Peter King.

Receiver Hines Ward, coming off a knee strain, practiced without restriction, and Ben Roethlisberger looked crisp in red-zone situations, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Heath Miller.

"I feel great about our preparation," Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said. "Of course, you evaluate your preparation by your performance in the game. But I think the guys understand everything they have to do entering the game."

Pittsburgh has had its game plan in place for two weeks, this week replicating what it did at home in practices last week.

"This week was a redo," Tomlin said. "We didn't have the sense of urgency we might normally have in a practice week, but that's because the guys have seen it all once."

As for Ward, Tomlin said his availability was "never a question."

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Warner is sharp

In their last practice of the week, the Arizona Cardinals were impressive, according to pool reporter John Czarnecki, with Kurt Warner misfiring on only three passes in more than two hours of work.

"Kurt looked like he's been looking," said Coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team used the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' outdoor training facility. "He was consistent and made some good throws. He looked sharp."

One of the highlights of the session was when kicker Neil Rackers bounced three consecutive 20-yard field goals off the second-floor window of the Buccaneers' facility.

"It seemed to fire up a lot of the guys," Whisenhunt said. "I think some of them wanted to see" a window shatter.

Starting defensive end Antonio Smith participated in all of the Cardinals' practice and was listed as probable for Sunday's game. Smith had been limited in practice because of a sore knee.

Running back-kick returner J.J. Arrington, defensive end Travis LaBoy and punter Ben Graham were limited in the workout and were questionable for the game. Arrington has a sore left knee, LaBoy an injured biceps and Graham a sore groin.

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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