You can call this the ‘Not Yet’ owners meeting.
The Commanders’ sale process isn’t quite there yet, so we won’t get any vote on whom Dan Snyder is selling to until at least the May meeting in Minneapolis. Ditto on plans to award Super Bowls LX and LXI, with only two future Super Bowl sites (Las Vegas in February 2024 and New Orleans the year after) set in stone.
But there are other pieces of business for the 32 owners, all the team presidents, GMs and head coaches to get to in the next couple of days here in the Valley of the Sun …
• Commanders fans, don’t take there not being a Washington buyer ready to present to the finance committee yet as a bad sign. There was a point where people were skeptical that Snyder would go through with the sale, but we’re past that now. As it stands, there are a handful of bidders still alive, with Broncos runner-up Josh Harris’s group probably most prominent among them.
The owners surely will discuss all that in their privileged sessions, limited to principal owners and family, Monday (4 p.m. local time), Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) or both. It’ll be a big topic of discussion in general—they just haven’t crossed the goal line yet.
• The Thursday Night Football resolution that’ll be voted on Tuesday in the 1 p.m. hour should prompt very healthy debate. As it reads, the league will be allowed to move games off Sunday into Thursday for Weeks 14 through 17, with flex candidates given 28 days’ notice and a final decision due 15 days ahead of time.
I’ll say this: It’s wild that this is happening the year after the Tua Tagovailoa concussion story ignited, after the quarterback was cleared to play four days after sustaining an apparent (but undiagnosed) head injury. It also sends a clear message that broadcast partners are well ahead of fans and players on the list of people the league takes care of. You probably already knew that, but this makes it crystal clear.
• The rules changes are, as they have been in recent years, centered largely on health and safety. Owners will vote on rules that’ll mandate fair catches inside the 25-yard line on kickoffs will put the ball on the 25, and that touchbacks on punts will go to the 25 as well, further removing those plays from the game. They’ll also vote to extend the ban on launching into another player, make tripping a personal foul, tighten rules on spearing and ban split-flow blocks.
There are a few others that’ll spark conversation. One will be the Eagles’ continued idea of replacing onside kicks with a scrimmage play—this year, they’re proposing putting a fourth-and-20 from the kicking team’s 20-yard line in its place. Another is to allow players to wear No. 0, as they have been able to in college the last few years. And then there are proposals to expand the review system to include personal fouls, further incorporate the replay official and allow for it to be triggered by officials on failed fourth-down attempts.
• As we mentioned, it’s time for the NFL to award a couple more Super Bowls, but there’s no vote on that on the agenda. And the plan is to have that buttoned up by May.
What should you be looking for then? It’ll be a good tell on who’ll be in the NFL’s regular rotation going forward. The league doesn’t have a new stadium boxing it in on these two Super Bowls—Nashville will eventually be in that category, but since the new stadium there won’t open until at least 2026, the earliest a Super Bowl could be there would be after the ’27 season—so these two will almost certainly be repeat hosts.
It’ll be too soon for New Orleans or Las Vegas to get another one, so expect Los Angeles, Miami, Arizona and San Francisco to be jockeying for position here.
• Owners will vote on a resolution that would formalize revenue sharing on local gambling money (a fairness thing, since some teams can’t legally turn on that spigot yet) and also allow teams to have sportsbooks in stadiums open on game day. As it stands now, teams can have sportsbooks in their stadiums, they just can’t be operable on gameday.
It’s a fair bet (no pun intended) that’ll change in the 2 p.m. hour Monday, when the owners’ votes are tallied.
• Health-and-safety topics on the agenda: concussions, Guardian Caps, hip-drop tackles, playing surface as they relate to lower-extremity injuries and the preseason acclimation period.
• And on the diversity front, owners and execs will discuss the most recent hiring cycle results, owner diversity data, and plans and recommendations for the new future.
• The future of NFL Media, and NFL-plus is on there, too.
• The owners will vote on funding for stadium renovations in San Francisco and Cincinnati.
As always, we’ll have all this covered from the ground for all of you. Keep it locked on the site, and social media, for everything from out here.