Q: What's next?
A: The owners are tentatively scheduled to meet Nov. 30 in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., to try to pick the second of two expansion teams. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he is considering shifting the meeting to an earlier date after J. Wayne Weaver, head of the Jacksonville group, asked him not to prolong the process that much.
Q: Will they make a decision at that next meeting?
A: The owners said they will make a decision before leaving the meeting, no matter how long it takes.
Q: Will the owners vote on the second team?
A: If the owners follow the same procedure as Tuesday, the 12 members of the two committees, finance and expansion, will make a recommendation and then bring it to all 28 owners, who are likely to rubber-stamp the recommendation. The 16 owners who are not on the committees won't even have the option of voting for the three cities that aren't recommended.
Q: Why the delay?
A: The owners on the committees were split. Even though the league office was pushing St. Louis, there were enough owners concerned about its unstable ownership situation that they refused to back it. Once Tagliabue saw he couldn't get a consensus, he pushed for a delay instead of letting all 28 owners vote to pick a team. Tagliabue hopes that St. Louis can solve its ownership problem before the next vote.
Q: Is the delay good for Baltimore?
A: No. The city's delegation is expected to improve its package, but that probably won't change Baltimore's standing substantially as far as the NFL is concerned.
Q: Is the delay good for St. Louis?
A: Yes. The delay will give St. Louis time to persuade Fran Murray to drop out of the picture. The perception around the league is that Murray doesn't have enough money to finance a team. Murray has his name on the stadium lease -- it's valid until St. Louis finds out whether it gets a team or not -- and would be in position to file a lawsuit if the NFL gave the team to the new St. Louis group. St. Louis' best solution is to find a way to pay Murray to disappear. The question is how much money it will take. Murray has a good negotiating position, although the NFL downplays his leverage.
Q: Will Baltimore pursue an existing team if it doesn't get an expansion team?
A: Yes. Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass already has promised to go after a team if one is for sale, but the city may not have to do much pursuing. Baltimore may be courted because there are likely to be teams eager to get the city's deal. It's better than the deals most existing teams have. The New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and both Los Angeles teams, the Rams and Raiders, would be candidates to move.
Q: Can Baltimore overcome its geography problem?
A: It's going to be difficult. You can't pack up a state in a moving van and ship it to the Midwest. It appears the NFL simply doesn't want to put a team between Philadelphia and Washington.
Q: Is the NFL likely to expand again soon?
A: Tagliabue has talked about expanding again before the end of the decade, but don't count on it. The NFL last expanded in 1976 and the owners always are reluctant to expand because they don't want to dilute the TV revenue.
Q: Is there any chance the NFL will expand by four instead of two teams?
A: No. The NFL owners weren't that thrilled about expanding by two teams, much less four, because they don't want to share their TV revenue with more owners.