Sports News

No vote on expanded playoffs till fall at earliest

By Barry Wilner, The Associated Press

ATLANTA - NFL owners tabled any vote expanding the playoffs to 14 teams at their spring meetings Tuesday.

There is strong sentiment among the owners to add a wild-card team in each conference to the post-season, most likely beginning in 2015. Such a setup would eliminate one of the first-round byes, with only the team with the best record in each conference getting a week off at the beginning of the playoffs.

New York Giants owner John Mara, who is against adding more playoff teams, said the topic probably will come up for more discussion in October.

"I don't think it's a sure thing at all," Mara said of going to 14 playoff teams. "It's probably more likely than not, but nothing is set in stone. There was no straw poll taken. ... I think it's good the way we have it."

The players' union says it needs to be consulted on an expanded post-season, and Mara said that would happen at some point if the owners decide to expand the playoff field.

Later Tuesday, the owners will vote on the site of the 2018 Super Bowl, with New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis bidding.

A committee examining the time, length and site of the draft reported to the owners. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is considering several options:

—keeping the draft in May; it drew record TV ratings this year after it was moved back two weeks from its usual late April slot.

—adding a fourth day.

—moving it to a variety of NFL cities, with a dozen already having expressed interest; the draft has been in New York for decades.

"If I was king of the world, I'd put it right back where it was," Mara said, referring to the April dates.

In other matters, new director of football operations Troy Vincent hired three advisers, including Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary. Vincent, a former All-Pro defensive back, also hired former NFL player and coach Jimmy Raye and former player and general manager Mike Reinfeldt.

Among other chores, the three new hires will serve as liaisons to league coaches and front-office personnel.

"These men bring sound wisdom, football experience and insight that helps us support our clubs and coaches, as well as grow and develop our players and game," Vincent said.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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