The battle to host the next available Super Bowl is on and the Big Easy isn’t out of the running.
In his first press conference of the owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore on Monday afternoon, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said New Orleans didn’t eliminate itself from contention for hosting another Super Bowl because of a 33-minute blackout during Baltimore’s victory.
“They’ve been able to source back to where the problem came in some kind of switch quite a ways away from the dome,” Goodell said. “I don’t think it will have any impact at all on the Super Bowl and the New Orleans’ hopes for getting another one. They did a great job.
“I mentioned that this morning to our membership and I think they deserve another Super Bowl.”
Which one is the question.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey in 2014 and Super Bowl XLIX will be at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in 2015.
Among the possible sites to host Super Bowl L in 2016 include Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Tampa, Miami, New Orleans, London and Los Angeles.
Goodell met with the Super Bowl committee Sunday and will be updating the owners in Arizona throughout the meetings, which adjourn Wednesday. An announcement could come in May.
CITY OF (FOOTBALL) ANGELS
The news that AEG owner Phil Anschutz was taking his company off the selling block pushed back the already drawn-out process of bringing an NFL team back to Los Angeles for several more months, Goodell said.
The commissioner said it’s a positive for the NFL that Anschutz isn’t selling and added that the NFL is hoping to restart conversations with Anschutz and his company about building a stadium in the heart of the L.A. Live district of downtown Los Angeles.
“He can count on us stepping up and exploring to see if a deal can happen,” Goodell said. “I think it is a positive that Phil Anschutz is reengaging. He seems that he would like to get a stadium built in Los Angeles that would be suitable for an NFL team. We look forward to working on that.”
Goodell reiterated his desire to bring football back to Los Angeles and said there are several options, included Chavez Ravine, home to Dodger Stadium.
“All of them are on the table for us,” Goodell said. “We want to get back to Los Angeles but we are going to look at every alternative we have to do that successfully.”
QUESTIONING THE QUESTIONS
In the wake of reports about NFL teams indirectly asking players about their sexual orientation, Goodell took immediate action in February and continued to educate teams this week about what is legal to ask.
He has talked to players and their representatives already, and on Monday afternoon the NFL held a session with team officials focusing on what is and isn’t allowed to be asked of potential rookies.
“We’re a professional organization,” Goodell said. “That’s unacceptable. We will do things the right way. We will give them that education and that training. I hope that that will solve the problem.”
DIFFERENT CALENDAR, DRAWN OUT RESPONSE
At the NFL Scouting combine last month in Indianapolis, reports surfaced about the possibility of moving the league calendar that would put the combine in March, free agency in April and the draft in May.
Goodell said he’s discussed an “alternative calendar” with the NFL Players Association, which was expected to present the proposal at a meeting last week. Goodell hasn’t heard back from the NFLPA.
“As soon as I speak to (NFLPA Executive Director) DeMaurice (Smith), I’ll have a better understanding,” Goodell said. “We think that it makes a lot of sense. I think the players saw the benefits of doing that and they wanted to talk to their membership.”
PRO BOWL PROGRESS
Goodell was pleased with the “improved effort” at this year’s Pro Bowl in Hawaii, he said Monday.
“I have spoken to several of the players and I appreciate that [effort],” Goodell said.
The future of the Pro Bowl, however, is still uncertain.
Pro Bowlers and the NFL staff met with the league’s competition committee in February to brainstorm ideas on how to make the game “more attractive, more exciting and more competitive.”
Goodell said there were some “very good ideas” that he will bring to the membership’s attention before Wednesday. He also expects to announce any changes to the Pro Bowl before the meetings conclude.
The NFL has identified issues in expanding the postseason field and will discuss them before talking to the NFLPA but Goodell said the playoffs won’t expand from the current 12-team format in 2013. …
Goodell said the Thursday Night Game schedule will remain intact for the foreseeable future. …
The NFL is working with Major League Baseball on a scheduling conflict that may prevent the Baltimore Ravens from opening the 2013 season at home Sept. 5 because the Orioles are scheduled to play a night game. The option to play Wednesday night was eliminated by the NFL because it’s Rosh Hashana.