Now for some other stories of the week:
On the overtime reform vote that could happen at the one-day NFL spring meeting in Dallas Tuesday: The modified overtime system, which guarantees a possession for both teams in overtime barring a touchdown or safety on the first possession, was approved for the playoffs-only at the NFL meetings in Florida two months ago. Now there's a push to get the system in for the regular season in 2010 too.
I'm told if the vote doesn't happen, it'll be more because Roger Goodell doesn't want to inflame passions with the players as negotiations for a new CBA hang in the balance than because of all the other reasons being floated. I've heard them all over the past few days -- that a vote may not be called because the Competition Committee and Goodell don't have the votes to pass it, that the network TV partners aren't enchanted with the possible delays, especially in the Sunday afternoon games (there's some truth to this), and that some teams feel they're being rushed into something (there's less truth to that).
What I hear is that if a vote is called, the measure could get the necessary 24 votes for passage. It should, really, because non-passage could make for some awkward moments in the playoffs if teams hadn't seen how it actually worked in the league during the regular season. And given that less than one game per week goes to OT on average, the modified system isn't going to revolutionize the game.
But if Goodell gets a vibe (and he may have already) that the players association would seethe over having more snaps forced on players, that could hamper talks for a new CBA. And regular season overtime reform may not be that important if it's going to tick off DeMaurice Smith and his negotiating committee.
On Brett Favre undergoing ankle surgery Friday that will facilitate him playing in 2010: Did you expect anything different? I mean, really? After seeing Favre emotionally hug so many teammates and coaches after the NFC Championship game loss at New Orleans four months ago, you had to figure it was either a long goodbye or convincing himself he couldn't live without the game and his new team.
Favre wasn't loved by his mates with the Jets, who felt he set himself apart from them. Favre was loved by his mates in Minnesota, and he loved them back; all you had to do was see him and wideout Sidney Rice embrace for 45 seconds after the title game and whisper sweet nothings into each others ears and then dab their eyes when they let go of each other. Favre loved the Vikings. The Vikings loved him. I fully expect, as does any thinking person, Favre to rehab his ankle for the next couple of months and be in camp (not on time) sometime in August, ready to play his 20th NFL season.
If he completes another season as a starter, he'll push his record of consecutive regular season starts to 300. And if Favre then retires, Peyton Manning, who is 34 and second on the list with 192, will have to start every game for the next seven years to pass Favre.
On the New Jersey/New York Super Bowl: Notice I put New Jersey first. That's because the 2014 Super Bowl would be played in New Jersey. The teams would fly into Newark. The teams would stay in New Jersey. The teams would practice in New Jersey. The parties would be in Manhattan, and the media would stay in Manhattan, but so what? It would be a New Jersey Super Bowl through and through.
Now that that's out of the way, NFL owners will vote on the site of the '14 Super Bowl Tuesday afternoon. Three locations are in play -- Tampa, south Florida and New Jersey. I'm like everyone else: I think the Meadowlands will win. I think there's little doubt of it. Then, despite what the league says now about "this is a special, one-time thing,'' I doubt Pat Bowlen, who has wanted a Super Bowl for years in Denver, or Dan Snyder in Washington or Jeff Lurie in Philly or Bob Kraft in Foxboro would sit idly by while one northern city gets a Super Bowl, simply praising New Jersey as a wonderful place to spend a week in February four years down the road. In their words of praise will be a message: We want the game in 2017. Fair warning. I won't think of this as the 48th Super Bowl or Super Bowl XLVIII. I'll think of it as the Precedent Super Bowl.
On the Super Bowl vote: A venue needs three-quarters majority to earn the Super Bowl nod -- with an asterisk. Here's how it works. All three sites will be in the first vote. If none gets 75 percent, there is a second vote, with the three sites still involved. If no venue gets 75 percent in the second vote, the one with the lowest total is eliminated. Then there's a third vote between the two remaining candidates; a winner there still needing 75 percent. Failing that, there will be a fourth vote between the final two, and only a simple majority is needed to clinch the bid. So there could be one vote or four. Got that? I'm not sure I do.
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