Although the filing deadline is tomorrow, Baltimore should find out today whether it will have three or four ownership groups vying for an NFL expansion team.
Three groups are committed to applying this week, but Phyllis Brotman, spokeswoman for Maryland NFL Expansion Group Ltd., said her group will decide today whether to become the fourth.
"We've completed the application. It's beautiful," she said.
But the group hasn't decided whether to send it in with a $100,000 check -- only $50,000 is refundable -- because Maryland Expansion Group still is talking to a major Maryland investor who hasn't decided whether to back the group, Brotman said. If he doesn't back the group, the other six members will have to decide whether to go it alone or pull out.
"We've been at this 3 1/2 years, and it's going to come down to the final hours," Brotman said.
The group, which was originally headed by former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr, turned its focus to Baltimore in 1988 after the Cardinals moved from St. Louis to Phoenix, ending their hopes of getting an expansion team in Phoenix. Starr recently pulled out so the group could have more of a Baltimore focus.
The four Baltimore members are Brotman and three Baltimore businessmen -- Henry Knott Jr., Lou Grasmick and Sig Hyman.
The three other groups who are definitely filing are Malcolm Glazer, the sole owner of First Allied Corp.; Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, the chairman of Merry-Go-Round, a nationwide chain of clothing stores; and author Tom Clancy. Weinglass and Clancy are selling the merits of local ownership, and Glazer's selling point is that he can write a check for up to $200 million to get a team. Glazer's is the only group that consists of one family.
Nathan Landow, the Maryland land developer, pulled out last week and threw his support behind Glazer because he said Glazer has the cash to pull off a successful bid, and cash will be the main criterion. The NFL hasn't spelled out its criteria.