NEW ORLEANS – The first meeting of NFL owners under new commissioner Roger Goodell's watch could feature the first move to have a regular-season game played overseas.
But it also figures to have more frustrating news on the chances of playing in Los Angeles or the surrounding area any time soon.
The league's owners will hold a one-day meeting Tuesday at the Loews New Orleans Hotel, only blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River and near where some of the worst flooding in the city occurred more than a year ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said last week that the meetings would be brief, featuring more committee reports. The main topic on the agenda is expected to be a report from the committee charged with examining how to put a team back in Los Angeles.
That committee is headed by Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, who visited Los Angeles and neighboring Anaheim in August. Bowlen met with business and political leaders from both cities and discussed building sites for a new stadium in both places. However, making a final decision on where a stadium could be or, more importantly, which team ultimately might move to Southern California seems well into the distant future.
"I wouldn't expect anything to be finalized for quite some time," Bowlen said in September. Among the most important factors to consider is the cost of a new stadium, which has been estimated at $815 million by a company that was hired by the league to study the situation. Bowlen is dubious of that estimate if the league were to build at the Los Angeles Coliseum spot.
About the only thing that figures to be finalized is a plan to move two regular-season games to another country in the near future. In 2005, San Francisco and Arizona played in front of more than 100,000 fans at Aztec Stadium in Mexico City.
Based on that success and the desire of many owners to increase marketing in other countries, the league could move two games to countries such as Canada, Mexico, Great Britain or Germany. There also is some discussion of playing in Japan.
Moving games overseas remains unpopular with coaches and players, but the league likely would have teams that play outside the United States get a bye week after traveling.
Among other items the owners are expected to discuss is opening a trading period in February, which would allow the movement of players before free agency begins in March.
- Pat Bowlen
- Roger Goodell