HONOLULU, FEB. 5 -- NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle today blamed the lopsided score for the Super Bowl TV ratings, worst in 14 years.
Super Bowl XXII, won by the Washington Redskins, 42-10, had a 41.9 rating and 62 share nationally, 16th on the list of title games.
"It shows that close games are what interests the public, be it a Super Bowl or some other game," he said at his pre-Pro Bowl news conference. "Before halftime, of course, it was pretty well decided with the 35-point blitz in the second quarter.
"I think it still remains the top television show in the ratings for the whole year."
He did not dismiss the possibility of a relationship between the player strike and the number of TV sets tuned to alternate programming.
"There could be some connection," he said. "I felt we were as lucky as hell because I thought we'd, myself included, all be brooding about the strike way after the season ended. I still don't like it, but I think with the performance the players came up with and the coaches on the field after the strike, including the playoffs, I know I got my mind off the strike faster than I thought I would.
"My impression is that the strike wasn't hurting us too much, but it could've been a factor. I really don't think it was a big factor, though."
Appearing with retiring Chicago Bears star Walter Payton, he said the league will expand soon after a collective bargaining agreement is signed and threw a damper on Honolulu officials' hopes of hosting the 1992 Super Bowl.
"We'll have two new teams on the field within two years of the signing of a collective bargaining agreement," he said.
Among those pushing for an expansion franchise is Payton, who will be honored before Sunday's game.
"Any city would be extremely fortunate to have Walter behind it," Rozelle said. "Walter first came to me a year ago and said he'd be interested in obtaining a team."
"It doesn't matter about the city," Payton said. "The same amount of work needs to be done." He reiterated his intention to retire, but said certain conditions could coax him back to the playing field.
Hawaiian politicians are pushing Aloha Stadium as a Super Bowl site, but Rozelle said the seating capacity of only 50,000 would eliminate it from consideration.