Three for the price of one.
After all the posturing and politicking, after all the campaigning and crooning, that's what Baltimore's bid for an NFL expansion franchise comes down to.
Three potential owners say they have filed applications for one potential franchise, meeting today's written-in-clay deadline.
Bowing out in an 11th-hour decision was the Phyllis Brotman group that included four Baltimoreans. Unable to convince chicken king Frank Perdue to invest big bucks, the Brotman people withdrew from the expansion race, but left the door slightly ajar.
"This doesn't preclude us from filing at a later date," said Brotman, a Baltimore advertising executive.
Brotman's group had been told previously that late applications would be accepted, but the NFL was backing off that stance a bit yesterday.
Spokesman Greg Aiello said only that the league "would consider" a late application, and that bids were not open-ended.
Definitely in the picture for Baltimore now are groups headed by novelist Tom Clancy, Florida businessman Malcolm Glazer and clothing mogul Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass.
Each group was to submit a filing fee of $100,000 by today. Only $50,000 of that will be rebated to the also-rans, however, which means the NFL will make a minimum of $150,000 in unadulterated profit off Baltimore interests no matter what happens.
And already the infighting among the remaining investors has begun. Both Clancy and Weinglass campaigned for local ownership again yesterday.
Weinglass, who lives in Aspen, Colo., but has roots in Baltimore, used Colts owner Robert Irsay and Orioles owner Eli Jacobs as illustrations of out-of-town ownership gone bad.
"Do you want another Irsay? Another Jacobs? Another out-of-towner?" Weinglass asked. "Do they give a crap about the community?"
Despite his Rocky Mountain residence, Weinglass insists he is Baltimore through and through.
"I employ 1,500 people in the state of Maryland," said Weinglass, who made his fortune with the Merry-Go-Round clothing chain. "I still have an apartment in Baltimore. I spend four months of the year there. I give a quarter of a million to charity in Baltimore.
"Why shouldn't I own a team in Baltimore?"
Clancy, who lives in southern Maryland, said the ownership of a team here "has got to be local or it's not worth doing."
He said he was disappointed at the withdrawals of two Maryland groups in the last week, those headed by Brotman and Bethesda real estate developer Nathan Landow.
"Either you have a civic commitment to the community or you don't," Clancy said.
Bryan Glazer, 26-year-old son of Malcolm Glazer and vice president in his father's First Allied Corp., answered the issue of local ownership with a promise.
He said that if Baltimore got a team and the Glazers owned it, "most of my family would be moving to Baltimore."
"We would be Baltimore as strong as anyone else," Glazer said from his office in Chicago. "We feel that's what the NFL is looking for. And we'd be as local as they come.
"You're talking about six children in their 20s, and most of them will be moving to Baltimore."
The chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, meanwhile, said the issue of local ownership could play a role in the awarding of a franchise.
"In my mind, the local issue is a priority because we've been victims of a lost franchise when we didn't have a local owner," said Herbert Belgrad. "But you can define local ownership in different ways.
"To me, local ownership means a strong commitment to the city. It's not necessarily principle residence, but having business connections and you care. That, I would define as local.
"In terms of the NFL, it's certainly not a requirement. [But] all things being equal, the NFL probably would give preference to a local group."