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Tampa has inside track to land 2014 Super Bowl

ORLANDO — Tampa's chances of winning its bid for the 2014 Super Bowl appear promising based on indications Monday at the NFL owners meeting.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not back down from his prerequisite that Sun Life Stadium in Miami be renovated before the league gives South Florida's bid strong consideration. Unless the league does an about face, South Florida's chances of winning the bid will remain remote.

Tampa's chief competition is New York, with the new stadium shared by the Giants and Jets opening this fall. But that bid faces a big hurdle because it is outdoors, and weather could be a major factor for a game held in the dead of winter. The league had to waive its climate restrictions on Super Bowls for New York to even submit its bid. Officials in the Phoenix area previously withdrew their bid.

Tampa, on the other hand, has nothing significant working against it and performed well in hosting the 2009 game.

In Miami, local officials had hoped to secure public financing to fund upgrades to the stadium. The South Florida committee has until March 31 to address those issues in its final bid proposal, but the host committee now plans to submit its bid without plans for stadium improvements. Goodell said, "It's something we will continue to work with them on. We want to work with the communities because we want to continue to be in South Florida."

A decision on a venue will be reached during the owners' next meeting, scheduled in May in Dallas.

While he was careful not to take sides (he doesn't have a vote), Goodell was supportive of the New York bid and acknowledged what everyone already knows: that New York City would put on quite the show.

"I think it can be very attractive to the ownership and to the NFL in general," Goodell said.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said he felt like New York would get a fair shot in it quest.

"The owners will make their independent judgments as they see fit," Johnson said. "But I am optimistic. We've been approved once already for 2010. The only difference here is that the stadium is not covered. That's really the only element that we haven't looked at as a league."

But that's a huge component in the equation. And Johnson's reference to one-time approval for 2010 isn't completely accurate. New York was encouraged to bid for the game several years ago, but plans at that time called for an enclosed stadium. Those plans subsequently changed.

AT A STANDSTILL: There was a time when the start of the uncapped year was considered a deadline for negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, but that attitude — at least publicly — has changed from the league's standpoint.

"The best thing I can say is we are still at a very early stage," Goodell said. "We are in the first quarter here. We are in an uncapped system, and we'll continue to negotiate."

Earlier in his news conference, Goodell indicated things between the league and union are status quo, saying, "there haven't been any discussions for several weeks."

The league calendar began March 5, and this season will be played without a salary cap for the first time since its inception.

OT DEBATE: The proposed changes to overtime rules in the postseason received mixed reviews, but debate on the topic is scheduled to begin this morning. The proposal would allow a scenario where both teams could possess the ball in overtime.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher, a co-chair of the NFL competition committee, said he met with head coaches Sunday and "was more than pleasantly surprised at the acceptance." But it takes 24 votes for the measure to pass, and many concerns are expected to be raised today.

EXTRA PICKS: The Bucs will have 11 draft picks this year, including four seventh-rounders. Tampa Bay got a seventh-round compensatory pick (253rd overall) for losing players, such as DT Jovan Haye and CB Phillip Buchanon, to free agency.

"It's nice to have one more guy you can go out and pick that you don't have to try and (sign him) as a free agent," GM Mark Dominik said.

In all, 32 compensatory picks were given out, with 19 teams getting at least one.

49ERS: Scot McCloughan is out as general manager in what the team called a "mutual parting." Director of player personnel Trent Baalke will lead the team into April's draft.

STEELERS: Goodell plans to meet with QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is accused of assaulting a 20-year-old woman March 5 in Georgia, about the star's off-field problems.

Times staff writer Rick Stroud contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires. Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@sptimes.com.

Tampa has inside track to land 2014 Super Bowl 03/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 10:46pm]
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