News  

 

Catching up with league's power brokers at the owners meetings

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
More Columns >

ORLANDO, Fla. -- On Tuesday afternoon, at 2:55 p.m. ET, I was sitting at the NFL Annual Meeting with a team owner who said, "I don't think Roger Goodell will even let overtime come to a vote because it will not -- pass but it should by the May meetings."

An hour later, Competition Committee co-chairs Rich McKay and Bill Polian were addressing the media to announce the new overtime rule.

Of course, many of the coaches were on the golf course at the time, taking part in in the annual coach's tournament. But they were not the only ones in the dark. I had a GM sit with me while the news conference was going on and I asked him if he knew what was going on across the hall from us. He did not. When I told him it was the announcement that overtime had passed 28-4, he immediately texted his head coach -- in a state of disbelief -- to let him know.

As for the new rule, Falcons owner Arthur Blank felt it was good for the game and felt there was enough evidence as to how much fans wanted a change in overtime to pass it. And I agree, the majority of fans wanting a change.

McNair takes his shots

I had a very interesting conversation with Texans owner Bob McNair on subjects ranging from the free-agent loss of cornerback Dunta Robinson to his role in the organization and the decision to retain Gary Kubiak as coach to luxury boxes. On Robinson, he said: "It was time to let him go. We made a fair offer and he thought he could make more money elsewhere."

On his evolving role with the club: "When I first owned the club, I thought it wise to sit back, listen and learn. Then I learned who to listen to and not listen to. Now I have a clear vision of how things should operate and I extended coach Kubiak because I believe in continuity." With three head coaches in the league operating as lame duck coaches this season and a looming lockout in 2011, a number of owners would not extend their coach right now. McNair didn't let that factor in as he tries to build his franchise.

On luxury boxes, McNair actually took a shot at the Commander-in-Chief. McNair recognizes these are tough economic times, but he pointed out that businesses don't disappear in hard times -- instead, they must work harder to do business. And he's not a fan of those who think companies shouldn't be spending money to entertain clients. "President Obama, that was his idea," McNair said. "That’s not how business works."

Personnel business

A few nuggets of information after talking to some of the GMs and personnel executives at the meetings:

» Kevin Colbert, director of football operations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, told me Ziggy Hood -- last year's first-round draft pick -- was ready to make a bigger contribution in his second year with the team. He said receiver Limas Sweed was working at the facility and still is very much a part of the Steelers' plans. Like many Steelers faithful, Colbert is very happy to have Antwaan Randle El and Larry Foote back with the team. Even after Randle El left in 2006 to join the Redskins, Colbert said, he always was a Steeler.

» Rams GM Bill Devaney will be a very busy executive the next two weeks, with quarterback workouts with Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen. In regards to Bradford, the Rams will let the Oklahoma QB orchestrate the first part of his workout and then "jump in" and get the work they want done. Also, expect the Rams to sign a solid veteran running back like Willie Parker in the near future.

» Thomas Dimitroff of the Falcons is very comfortable with his team's corner situation right now, noting two solid veteran starters in Dunta Robinson and Brian Williams, along with youngsters Brent Grimes and Chris Owens as backups. Now, as Dimitroff said, "I can look at the draft board and stay true to the grading system."

» Jerry Angelo, GM of the Bears, feels the Rod Marinelli factor is going to really help Julius Peppers. Peppers, who signed as this year's marquee free agent, will be pushed hard by the Bears' defensive coordinator and he may reach and sustain his potential. Marinelli will have Peppers in fantastic shape and so keyed into formation tendencies and all the tips he will teach him about the game. As for Angelo's new offensive coordinator, I was surprised to hear him say that Mike Martz doesn't want a lot of receivers on the roster even though Martz works them hard every day.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15