League meetings not expected to yield big news
Updated: Thursday March 22, 2001 4:52 PM
By Peter King, Sports Illustrated
There will be no front-page news out of the NFL meetings in Palm Desert, Calif., which begin Monday -- unless the Rams and Chiefs complete their long-anticipated deal for Trent Green, or unless Troy Aikman lands with a new team. Neither piece of business, however, is expected to get done in the desert.
One thing the league wants to do is to make the current instant replay system permanent. The latest replay rule has been passed on a year-to-year basis for two seasons, and now it'll likely pass into permanent policy. That would mean in any future season the league would need three-quarters of its membership to vote it down.
The long-awaited realignment plan will be discussed at the meeting but will not come to a vote. With Houston coming into the AFC in 2002 as the 32nd team, current sentiment is for Seattle to be the one team that has to change conferences to balance the NFC and AFC at 16 teams apiece. Unlike prior realignment fights, no team will be paid to switch divisions or conferences, and though a three-quarters vote will be needed to approve the new division format, only 21 teams will need to vote for approval.
That's because commissioner Paul Tagliabue has four proxy votes -- from recently transferred Baltimore, St. Louis, Tennessee and new Houston -- which will be used as automatic yesses for the NFL proposal. The revised format will be in place by June 1 but teams will not play it until the start of the 2002 season.