CHICAGO, OCT. 16 -- Two NFL owners said today that the league should take a long, hard look at adding new franchises, while the president of a proposed world football league said play will begin in March.
Buffalo's Ralph Wilson and Chicago's Michael B. McCaskey said they still have to be convinced about the need to expand the NFL beyond the 28 current teams.
"I'm probably not one of the pro-expansion owners, but if there are some good reasons, Buffalo will vote for them," Wilson said.
Owners met for more than seven hours about expansion and other topics. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has said he would like two more teams by 1993 and two more in 1995. Cities seeking franchises are St. Louis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Birmingham; Baltimore; Oakland; Charlotte, N.C.; Memphis; and, Sacramento, Calif.
Today's meeting was the third in a series of fact-finding sessions the league has held on expansion. Tagliabue said there would be at least one more meeting before any decisions are made on expansion.
Francis Murray, a minority owner of the New England Patriots and a partner in the St. Louis group seeking a franchise, said he expects more action after the owners meetings in Hawaii in March.
Plans for the World League of American Football were also discussed at the meeting.
Mike Lynn, who was named president of the league last week, said that although coaches and players haven't been selected, the new league will get off the ground in 1991.
"Within the next 72 hours we could have six teams named, but we still have to find out in the next 30 days in which direction we plan to go," said Lynn, the outgoing general manager of the Minnesota Vikings.
"We have already received applications from 350 qualified coaches," he added. "People are already out there scouting and we have lists of prospective players."
Lynn said the league will have at least two European teams.
He also said the league would like to invite the city of Canton, Ohio, to join. The sport originated in Canton and is the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The non-American cities seeking franchises include Barcelona; Frankfurt, Germany; Milan; Montreal, London and Mexico City. U.S. cities include Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio, Birmingham; New York and Sacramento.