At Rumor Central, lobby-ing is intense

JOHN EISENBERG

October 27, 1993|By JOHN EISENBERG

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- "Did you hear?"

"Hear what?"

"They might put it off for two weeks."

"No. Where'd you hear that?"

"Right here in the lobby a minute ago. A guy told me."

"A guy?"

"Yeah. A guy who heard it from another guy he knows."

"Interesting. But I don't think it's right."

"No?"

"Not at all. As a matter of fact, the NFL press guy just told me he'd heard that rumor and that it wasn't true."

"No?"

"Nope. He said to expect a decision within 24 hours, one way or another."

"Interesting."

"Yeah. I don't know what to think. But you know what I heard?"

"What?"

"I heard they're thinking about giving teams to four of these cities."

"No way. They said no way. Where'd you hear that?"

"A radio guy. I think he works in Memphis. Or maybe Chicago."

"So, what'd he say?"

"He said they'll give teams to two cities here. And they're so impressed with all the other cities that they'll move existing teams there within a few years."

"Was this serious?"

"I don't know. That's just what I heard."

"Well, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. The league wouldn't do that in a million years. That's anarchy."

"Well, the guy said it. He sounded like he knew something."

"Great."

"But then did you hear that the expansion committee might just recommend one team?"

"I didn't hear that."

"Yeah. Someone said it. I forget who it was. Someone who knew someone who ate lunch with Al Davis.

"One team? After all this?"

"Yeah. But see, that doesn't mean they're only going to expand by one team."

"I don't get it."

"OK. The expansion committee will recommend one team to the owners. But the owners will still select two teams."

"I see. But then why did they need a committee recommendation in the first place if they aren't going to follow it?"

"I don't know. They'd still follow half of it, I guess, maybe. I'm just telling you what I heard."

"You see that white-haired guy over there?"

"Yeah. Who is he?"

"I don't know. I was gonna ask you. Isn't he the mayor of Jacksonville?"

"No, I think the mayor is taller than that. And has glasses or something."

"Oh. Well. A minute ago he was talking to someone about Baltimore."

"Really? What was he saying?"

"Something about whether they had enough votes. I couldn't hear everything."

"Isn't he the guy on ESPN?"

"I don't think so. Maybe."

"Does Baltimore have enough votes to block any other team?"

"You can't say for sure. It depends on who you talk to."

"Isn't that the truth? Hey, you want to go get some lunch? Looks like there's nothing going on."

"Well. I've already gone to lunch twice."

"Oh. Hey, I remember what I was gonna tell you. You know what I heard a few minutes ago?"

"What?"

"I heard there's a story on the wire about there being a procedural dispute or something. The owners can't agree on how to vote."

"But the NFL guy just came out awhile ago and said that wasn't true. He said he'd heard about the story and categorically denied it."

"Really? I didn't hear him say that."

"Well, neither did I. I wasn't in the room. But a guy I know from St. Louis told me."

"I see. Well, it's probably true then."

"Yeah. I guess so."

"I guess I don't know what to think. I'm hearing a lot of stuff that's floating around."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. What are you hearing? I'm hearing St. Louis and Charlotte right there."

"Well, I just heard Baltimore and Charlotte. A guy told me."

"I don't know."

"Me neither."

"Hey, it just came to me who that white-haired guy is."

"Who?"

"Wait, no, I'm wrong. Forget it."

"You sure you don't want to get some lunch? I heard they're going to be in there for hours."

"I heard 30 minutes."

"Really?"

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