Owners Meet- 03/27/2001
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Wouldn't it be great to have your boss call a meeting, and not have to go? Sure, you say, "I can do that now" - only now you would have to suffer the consequences. Life as a NFL owner is exactly that. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue had called a meeting for this weekend. The NFL owners were supposed to meet this weekend, but eleven pretended it was high school ditch day.

Ironically, most of the topics the meeting covered involved listening to authority. The owners, or shall I say, the owners that bothered to show up, addressed the problems the NFL faced last season with players constantly in the media with court cases. The NFL naturally wasn't impressed with the image put forth by these lawsuits. It thus decided that it would increase the severity, and the amount of penalties given for un-sports-man-like conduct. Yes, that's right, penalizing players for spiking the ball, or going to midfield to bask in the glory of a touchdown will (according to the NFL) reduce domestic violence or the chance of a huge outburst on the field. The latter I can agree with, but the reasoning behind the former makes about as much sense as preventing players from wearing bandanas under their helmets. Of course, we all know that the bandana is for style, it has nothing to do with the comfort of having sweat absorbed off your head (particularly if you have a shaved head). Can you sense the sarcasm?

Has the NFL completely lost it? How can they expect players to abide by these rules, or further still fans to want to see them put in place. While the XFL is admittedly suffering, at the very least they can provide entertainment. The NFL on other hand doesn't want to entertain their audience with anything other than football. Hence the popularly coined phrase "No Fun League". While it isn't necessary to go to the extent the XFL has in providing entertainment other than the actual football game, preventing players from exhibiting their own personality takes away from the game. I as a fan want to see the players playing with their hearts, and I fear that the NFL is taking that away from the game. In addition, who really wants to see more penalties? As if the salary cap didn't make the sport a big enough business, the NFL had to take the emotion away too.

49ers fans will be happy to know that Denise Debartlo York did indeed attend the meeting. I guess that's a good thing, but then again, she may have voted in favor of some of these no fun rules.

Other than the above, the owners also discussed realignment of the league, scheduled for 2002 when the Texans join the league. The new divisions should keep the 49ers in the NFC West, with the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks. At the very least, it should cut down on some of the miles the team has grown accustomed to traveling. The new alignment will most likely bring a new tie-breaking format for the playoffs, giving a larger emphasis to common opponents.

The owners also discussed extending the current instant replay system for three years, rather than the one-year at a time process that has become the norm. Obviously, this would be a good move, as video replay has been one of few recent rule changes that have actually enhanced the game.

The next time your boss calls a meeting, remember what it would be like as a NFL owner - living the tough life, having to deal with five star hotels, hot tubs, and sandy beaches. At that point, it will be perfectly safe to walk into the boardroom, if you're lucky, there may be a window in it. NFL owners don't know how good they have it. Worse, yet they are slowly ruining the game we have all grown to love.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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