NFL has no plans to expand expansion beyond 2 PRO FOOTBALL

September 23, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Despite the wishful thinking of some expansion candidates, it is unlikely the NFL will add more than two franchises next month, league officials said yesterday.

Owners of the league's 28 teams voted in 1991 to expand by two. The deadline has been pushed back several times, but an affirmation of the two-team format was passed again this spring.

Despite that, there has been some speculation that the league may do what the NBA did when it expanded in 1987 -- surprise the contestants by taking four cities instead of the announced two.

It dramatically would improve the odds of the five NFL finalists, including Baltimore.

"I don't think that's going to happen," said Norman Braman, Philadelphia Eagles owner and a member of the NFL expansion committee.

"I think we will proceed with what we started. I think there will be another expansion, and I think it will be shorter --the time between this one and the last one," he said.

The NFL last expanded in 1974, with the teams commencing play in 1976.

Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, a member of the finance committee, said there has not been any discussion of more than two teams, and he didn't think it would happen. Atlanta Falcons owner Rankin Smith concurred.

Robert Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants, said: "We're locked into 1995 and two teams at this point."

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he had raised several months ago the possibility of having the expansion teams take the field in 1994, a year earlier than planned. But that idea has been rejected because of logistical and other factors, he said.

He said an expansion by more than two teams was also unlikely, although he would like to see further growth by the league before the end of the decade, he said.

"I could see expansion beyond this in the 1990s," Tagliabue said.

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