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NFL owners might grant Super Bowl to New York and extend overtime rules

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 25, 2010; D03

NFL owners could award a Super Bowl to the New York area when they conduct their one-day spring meeting Tuesday in the Dallas area. The owners also might consider extending the sport's new overtime format to regular season games.

New York is bidding to host the 2014 Super Bowl and is regarded by many observers as a strong favorite to get the game. The other bidders are Florida sites, Tampa and the Miami area. The potential cold-weather Super Bowl would be played in New Jersey at the new stadium at the Meadowlands being built by the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The stadium opens next season.

The 2014 game is the next available Super Bowl without a host city. Next season's game is to be played in Dallas, followed by Super Bowls in Indianapolis in 2012 and New Orleans in 2013.

There appears to be strong sentiment within the league to play the sport's biggest game in the shadow of New York City. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he will remain neutral on the topic, but he believes it is an idea worthy of the owners' consideration. Some owners have expressed wariness about playing a Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. But the league waived its usual average-temperature restriction for outdoor venues to allow the New York bid to proceed, and some observers consider it a foregone conclusion that the owners will vote to award the game to New York.

The four U.S. senators from New York and New Jersey wrote a letter to Goodell on Monday endorsing a possible New York-area Super Bowl.

"As the nation's most populous metro area with more than 19 million people, and as the nation's top media market, the fanfare of the Super Bowl would be uniquely enhanced by the vibrancy that the region has to offer," said the letter, which was signed by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

The owners also could vote to extend the sport's new playoff overtime rule to the regular season. Under the new format approved in March for the postseason, the team that gets the ball first in overtime can win with a touchdown; if it gets a field goal, the other team gets a possession and can win with a touchdown or tie with a field goal. If the team with the second possession gets a tying field goal -- or neither team scores on its opening possession -- the game proceeds on a sudden-death basis.

Goodell said following the March vote that the owners would consult with the players' union and television networks before determining whether to vote on extending the new format to the regular season.

"We will put it to our membership, and we will evaluate it and possibly vote on it," Goodell said during an interview with the NFL Network late last month.

Competition committee members say they proposed the new rule because an increasing percentage of overtime games are being won by the team that wins the coin toss to determine possession.

The New Orleans Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in last season's NFC championship game on the opening possession after winning the coin toss.

Some within the league are wary of immediately extending the new format to regular season games, however, because of the potential for putting an increased burden on players with longer games.

The NFL Players Association has said the new overtime format must be collectively bargained with the players. The league has rejected that notion, contending that the owners merely must seek the players' input on the matter and have done that. The issue could become increasingly contentious if the owners extend the new rule to the regular season.

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