Overtime/ San Diego Stadium Proposal

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue predicted that the league will abandon its current sudden-death overtime format for a new one next season, with each team getting at least one possession in the extra session.

Tagliabue's remarks Friday followed the heels of NFL Players Association director Gene Upshaw who suggested the league overturn its current format because it favors the team that receives the opening kickoff in overtime. To enlighten you, 10 of a record 25 overtime games (40%) during the regular season were decided on the first possession. The only overtime game during the playoffs also was decided on the first possession.

"We are reassessing it with members of the competition committee and our staff," Tagliabue said at his annual state of the NFL address.

"When the kickoffs were moved back (to the 30 yard line), teams have gotten better field possession, and with offenses having improved, it makes it advantageous for the team that receives the ball in overtime," Tagliabue said.

Any changes to the current system would be voted on at the league's March meetings in Phoenix by the NFL's competition committee.

Several different systems will be considered, but the one that is likely to have the most merit is to give each team one possession. If one team scores and other team doesn't on the first possession, then the team that scored would be declared the winner. If the score is still tied after one possession, then a sudden-death format would occur, and the team that scores next would win.

Tags also addressed San Diego in his speech. For San Diego officials, he said that he likes owner Alex Spanos' loyalty in presenting a plan that has $200 million in private funding for a $400 million plus stadium.

"On the Chargers and San Diego, they're working very hard to remain here, to develop a solution to the stadium issue here in San Diego. I think that they have been deliberate and thoughtful in dealing with the public authorities. They deferred the reopener under their lease and we're hopeful the City Council will accept that next week.

"I think the stadium proposal put forth by the Chargers deserves serious consideration. There's a very heavy component, roughly $200 million of private money coming from the team and the League in that concept, so I think that deserves serious consideration. And anyone who knows Alex Spanos knows that one of his great qualities is loyalty. And he and Dean (Spanos) are working hard to try to resolve the issues here."

He also touched upon the LA issue stating, "The timetable for expansion is that there is no timetable because we don't anticipate expansion, with the possible exception that if the opportunity to put a team in the Los Angeles area in a state-of-the-art stadium development, then the ownership might revisit expansion. But I think the ownership made it clear when we expanded to 32 that that was the end of expansion for awhile. As to whether it will be affected by what happens in San Diego, I guess my answer is I don't know. I think that the Chargers' efforts here hopefully can result in a serious dialogue."

Tags did not sound optimistic about the Super Bowl ever returning to San Diego in its current state. "It's hard for me to say, because I don't vote on Super Bowls. And Alex Spanos has been a very persuasive advocate for the city of San Diego and in particular for Super Bowls in San Diego. From my own perspective, I'm surprised that we are here this week. If it weren't for Alex impressing upon the committee and upon the importance of coming back here from his perspective, I don't think that San Diego would have been at the top of the list of most owners who were considering Super Bowl sites. So I don't think the outlook is promising. So although the owners vote, I think it's unlikely that there's going to be a Super Bowl in the immediate future in San Diego."

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