NFL looks to add two teams for '93 season

January 26, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla. -- The National Football League has a "realistic target" of expanding by two teams for the 1993 season, commissioner Paul Tagliabue said yesterday.

"We don't have a concrete timetable. We do have a target, which is to see if we can put two teams on the field by the 1993 season. I've said before and I'll continue to say that's a realistic target for the National Football League," Tagliabue said at his annual Super Bowl news conference.

He added there's a possibility the state of the economy could delay expansion.

"I think the economy is a question. I think the recessionary condition of the economy raises a question, but at the moment we're proceeding with that [1993] as our target," he said.

When Tagliabue was asked when the league would name the teams, he said: "In the past, we've had a need for roughly a two-year period for planning and implementation before you put expansion teams on the field. We're looking at that to see whether it can be shortened in some way so we can make a decision closer to the 1993 season, but we don't have any deadlines at this point."

If the teams are to be named two years in advance, the NFL would have to make a decision by this fall, but could delay it to spring 1992.

The realignment and expansion committee is expected to have its next meeting next month and then report to the owners at the annual March meeting.

The representatives of several potential expansion cities, including Bob Tisch, the New York businessman who is one of the potential owners of a Baltimore team, are attending the Super Bowl.

Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, planned to attend, but had to cancel because he's attending a memorial service for a family relative. He said he plans to represent Baltimore at the March meetings in Hawaii.

* The balloting for this year's Hall of Fame class will be conducted today by a 31-member panel of writers and broadcasters. No more than seven of the 15 finalists can be inducted.

John Hannah, the New England Patriots guard who is on the ballot for the first time, is considered the one virtual automatic candidate.

Washington Redskins running back John Riggins will be making his first appearance and has a good chance, and Baltimore Colts tight end John Mackey is back on the ballot. The only tight end who has been inducted is the Chicago Bears' Mike Ditka.

* While addressing an Athletes in Action Super Bowl breakfast Thursday, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs publicly discussed for the first time a bad investment he made early in his coaching career.

Gibbs always had declined to discuss it on the record, even after Joe Bugel talked about it with Phoenix writers after he became the Cardinals' head coach.

Gibbs said he lost $1.2 million "for an apartment complex that had fallen down."

"It was my second year as a head coach [1982], and I was looking for financial security. I got involved in some things and made some questionable judgments. I had gotten into a partnership and other people had been signing my name is what it amounted to. It was so complicated that nine banks were involved, and I just got down on my knees and said, 'Hey, God, it's in your hands.' "

* A ticket agent in Florida said that New York Giants lineman Jumbo Elliott and several teammates scalped their tickets to the Super Bowl in violation of state law and National Football League rules.

The National said it purchased two tickets Thursday from Miami businessman Dick Jacobsen of the Jax Travel Agency for $950 each. In a tape-recorded transaction, Jacobsen said he bought the tickets from the Giants players for $850 each -- $700 above face value.

Elliott denied selling the tickets, and Jacobsen later said he didn't get them from Elliott. "They are Giants tickets, but I don't know if they came from players," he said.

Tagliabue said yesterday the league would review the matter.

"Our policy is not to have tickets sold above face value," Tagliabue said.

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