SI Vault
 
An Overdose Of Problems
Paul Zimmerman
September 01, 1983
The strike is history, but for Pete Rozelle the headaches keep getting worse, chief among them the NFL's increasing drug troubles and not just one but two rival football leagues
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 01, 1983

An Overdose Of Problems

The strike is history, but for Pete Rozelle the headaches keep getting worse, chief among them the NFL's increasing drug troubles and not just one but two rival football leagues

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

"It's strictly a business decision," DeBartolo Sr. says. "Our corporation owns the Pittsburgh franchises in the NHL and in indoor soccer, plus control of the Civic Arena. I just felt that owning the football franchise would be conducive to an eventual all-encompassing cable-TV package. It's not a matter of being in competition with the 49ers or Steelers or anyone else. I see no conflict of any kind."

But as president of the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., won't Eddie Jr. have a business interest in both an NFL and USFL team?

"On the surface it would seem so," Eddie Jr. says. "But the USFL team will be strictly under my father. It's complicated."

It might get a lot more complicated if Jr.'s backup quarterback, Matt Cavanaugh, plays out his option in '84. As an ex-star at the University of Pittsburgh he'd be a good catch for Sr.'s team.

In sum, the situation in the NFL is that salaries are shooting through the roof; drug use is rampant; and there seems to be a rival league on every corner. Furthermore, attendance was off in the exhibition season. All 12 games in league cities on its first weekend drew smaller crowds than the preseason openers in those cities last year. The Jets and Giants sell some 125,000 season tickets but drew only 60,232 to their August 7 game at Giants Stadium—14,332 fewer than in 1982.

The NFL has so many headaches that now's the time to go after the Establishment with my FFL. February Football, here we come.

1 2 3