•Television. The league's TV contract, which pays each team $17 million a year, expires after this season. Tagliabue hasn't decided if he favors expanding the cable portion of the package.
•Drug testing. Tagliabue says that this is the one area in which players and management have had "a complete lack of communication." He admits that steroid testing done once a year in training camp is not merely ineffective but a "fraud." Tagliabue points out. however, that legal challenges from the NFLPA have limited the league's powers to test players.
•Expansion. Cities and congressmen are clamoring for new teams, but Tagliabue will wait for a collective bargaining agreement to be signed before appointing an expansion committee. In this area in particular he will find his Capitol Hill connections—made during 20 years as a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling and three as an analyst for the Defense Department—valuable.
Don't expect a slew of new proposals right away from Tagliabue, who for years has passed along his best ideas to Rozelle. He knows the league needs time to recover from the rancorous selection process, but hopes it will emerge invigorated. "When you have this kind of turnover, you have new opportunity." says Tagliabue. "It's like a new administration. It's a clean slate, an opportunity to think bolder thoughts."
GROAN IF YOU LIKE
Tagliabue's hiring means that, for the first time ever, the commissioners of all four major pro sports are lawyers.
BATBOY OR BATMAN?
The players aren't the only graybeards active in the Senior Professional Baseball Association, the league for players 32 and older, which begins its first season this week in Florida. The batboy for the West Palm Beach Tropics is Irving Tuman, the former owner of a local nightclub. He's 72 years old.
In one of the stranger developments of the pro football season, security guards at Cleveland Stadium have begun confiscating dog bones and dog biscuits from fans. The crackdown stems from an incident during the Browns-Broncos game in Cleveland on Oct. 1. In the fourth quarter, fans near the east end zone—including the woofing bleacher creatures who call their section the Dawg Pound—showered the field with eggs, rocks, batteries and dog biscuits as Denver was lining up for a key third down on its own four-yard line. The barrage forced officials to move play to the other end of the field.
Two weeks later the Browns unveiled a 10-point program to reduce rowdiness. The program includes video surveillance of the crowd, restrictions on beer sales, and a ban on potential projectiles, such as eggs, rocks and dog biscuits. At first, guards let fans in with large foam-rubber dog bones—which would be waved, not thrown—but that only stirred resentment. "Other people were saying. "Why is that guy allowed to have his three-foot dog bone, and I'm not allowed to have my little biscuits?' " says Larry Staverman. the stadium's vice-president of operations. The rule now is, no biscuits, no bones—and no bones about it.
Similarly odd security measures have been taken at the University of Michigan, which last week barred marshmallows from its football stadium. During a game against Wisconsin on Oct. 7. Wolverine fans threw several thousand marshmallows onto the field and at each other. Ordinary marshmallows wouldn't have hurt much, but some of these were hardened marshmallow balls—who thinks up this stuff?—made by soaking the marshmallows and packing them together. From now on, anyone tossing a marshmallow will be tossed out of Michigan Stadium.