The most powerful people in the NFL are set to make some big decisions this week when the football league's owners gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their annual spring meetings. Among the expected topics of discussion are the locations of three Super Bowls and the expanded use of replay.
A brief breakdown follows of some of the key issues at hand as the owners meet in Charlotte. One big subject — the Oakland Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas — was left off the official agenda but is reportedly likely to be a popular topic for back-channel talks.
Super Bowl Locations
It's expected that the locations of three future Super Bowls — LIII (2019), LIV (2020) and LV (2021) — will be revealed by Tuesday. To host a Super Bowl, a city/franchise has to receive at least 24 out of 32 owner votes. Next year's Super Bowl (2017) is scheduled for NRG Stadium in Houston, while Minneapolis' new U.S. Bank Stadium secured the 2018 game.
Sporting News reported that Atlanta is expected to win the 2019 game, Miami the 2020 game and Los Angeles the 2021 game. Peter King of Sports Illustrated's MMQB made the same predictions but qualified them by saying the picks represented just a "best guess." The Los Angeles Daily News reported that an anonymous high-ranking NFL official told the paper the Super Bowl was definitely coming back to L.A. as the Rams are set to return to the city next year after departing St. Louis in 2016.
NFL teams could soon get expanded access to replays during games, according to Sporting News. The owners are expected to approve a change what will allow teams to watch replays on tablets on the sidelines during games, instead of having access just to still images.
The league is also expected to let game officials contact the NFL's New York replay center during all games next season as a fail-safe to make corrections on matters like determining correct yardage for penalties or clock operations. The fail-safe was allowed in just the playoffs last year.
Possible Roster Cuts Change
A proposal is on the table that would remove the first round of mandatory roster cuts in August that trims a team from 90 players to 75, according to the Charlotte Observer. That would mean teams would then have to weed out 37 players in one go to get down to the NFL's mandatory 53-man roster.
Raiders to Vegas?
As for the Oakland Raiders' interest in moving to Las Vegas, nothing official is expected to happen during the spring owners meeting. Amid the team's struggles to get a new facility in Oakland, owner Mark Davis has pledged $500 million to help construct a stadium in Las Vegas and met with city officials in April.
Wrote King of MMQB: "There is nothing on the league agenda about the Raiders’ dalliance with Las Vegas. But this is the elephant in the meetings, and it’s likely that there will be at least lobby and backroom talk about it, even if the normally reticent Raider owner Mark Davis doesn’t stand up and bring it to the floor during the general session."
There long have been concerns about creating an NFL franchise in the city that is the heart of U.S. sports gambling, but those fears are seemingly lessening under the weight of the revenue anticipated with a move. Influential Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who helped land the Rams in their new Inglewood, California, home, has come out in favor of a Las Vegas franchise. And with all the owners in one place and Las Vegas a hot topic, it's likely many more owners will soon make their opinions known.