The annual NFL owners meetings begin Monday and the agenda is going to be filled with items that could have an impact on the owners and the players ... and perhaps even the fans.
The NFL owners meetings rarely get the sort of publicity that they deserve. While typically held at a swanky resort that most of us could never dream of affording, the behind-closed-doors meetings often are as important to the state of the game as anything short of the collective bargaining agreement.
When the NFL's 32 owners convene Monday, they're going to have a lot of issues on their plates as well as a lot of lobsters. Eight key issues will be discussed, each with its own priority. Here is a short summary of the agenda items.
Instituting a stronger policy on player conduct. While Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't need owner approval to instate a new, stronger policy, it is expected that the owners will support the new plan and even the players association appears to be on board.
Of particular importance to Vikings fans, coming up with a new stadium borrowing package that will replace the expired G-3 funding program. The G-3 program gave owners loans of up to $100 million toward the construction of new stadiums, but that program expired in 2005 and a new program is needed for those owners (like Zygi Wilf) who will be looking for similar funding for their own stadium projects.
Making instant replay permanent. This one should be a no-brainer because, even with its flaws, if the system changes one bad call, it's worth it. The current vote to keep replay expires in 2008 and a proposal just to keep it and make the system permanent would likely be met favorably.
Calculating the payout level on the revenue-sharing agreement between the owners and players. When the league avoided a potential uncapped year in 2007, they agreed in advance to new salary cap levels for 2006 and 2007. Now the owners must discuss the payout formula for shared revenues like merchandising of jerseys.
Changes to the injury report. This has been a problem for some time and the league is looking at tying in public notification of how much a player practiced instead of listing injuries on something akin to the honor system.
Discussing a proposal to let a defensive player wear a helmet with a microphone similar to that of a quarterback to allow the team to send in defensive signal calls in the same way offenses do.
Look at a proposed change moving the kickoff in overtime from the 30-yard line to the 35. The proposal would make it more possible for teams with good defenses to opt to kick in overtime, pin their opponent on the 20-yard line and hope to make a quick defensive stop.
Vote on a rule that would penalize any player five yards for spiking the ball on a play that isn't a touchdown.
While some of these, like the spike rule and five yards extra on OT kickoffs, won't have a huge impact on the game, the revenue sharing, G-3 and player conduct discussions likely will. While the owners will be behind closed doors, VU will follow up on the discussions and bring you the news as it happens – or at least before the sherbet melts.