Playoffs stay put

One of the hottest topics at the NFL Owners' Meeting this week in Philadelphia was the possible expansion of the league's post-season field. Members of the league's Competition Committee Tuesday voted 8-0 against a proposal to add playoff teams for the 2003 season. <P>

"There are a lot of obstacles (to playoff expansion), but I think the biggest obstacle is uncertainty," Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. "We've gotten along really well with the six-team format in each conference. Obviously, we've added some teams and we have four divisions in each conference rather than three. What I'd like to see us do is wait a year or two, see how the playoffs develop, and make some decisions maybe later."

With the unanimous vote by the competition committee, the issue will probably die without being put to a vote of the entire membership.

"I don't know whether we'll vote on it or not," Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. "Normally, when the competition committee unanimously opposes something that has competitive implications, we wouldn't vote. Here, it's kind of a mixture of a matter which has competitive implications as well as business implications.

"But I think it's quite clear there are a number of clubs, in addition to the competition committee, opposed to this, at least at this time. That being the case, a vote would be, I think, mostly going through the motions."

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