The NFL’s owners were at it again, making more headlines on Wednesday. Among them: Super Bowl LXI was awarded to Southern California. There could be as many as four more international games in a couple seasons. And São Paolo will host Brazil’s first NFL regular-season game next year.
The NFL meetings, hosted at a resort in Irving, Texas, yielded progress on multiple topics before the owners boarded their private jets — minus Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — and headed home.
The league’s international push, which could eventually lead to a four-team European division, continued to gain momentum as owners voted to nearly double the number of league-operated games played outside the U.S., to eight. That’s not counting the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have played regularly in London for a decade and who will continue through at least next year.
“If you’re serious about international growth, you’ve got to have more [games played abroad],” Jags owner Shad Khan told Front Office Sports. “It’s a step in the right direction, and there’s a huge amount of demand for them.”
As the NFL expanded outside the lower 48, owners awarded another Super Bowl to another West Coast venue, unanimously agreeing to play Super Bowl LXI in 2027 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The schedule now looks like:
- 2024: Allegiant Stadium (hosted by the Las Vegas Raiders)
- 2025: Caesars Superdome (New Orleans Saints)
- 2026: Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco 49ers)
- 2027: SoFi Stadium (L.A. Chargers/Rams)
Super Bowl LIX in New Orleans is the only Big Game over the next four years outside the Pacific time zone.
What Wasn’t Decided
- There was no vote on Tom Brady’s bid to purchase a minority stake in the Las Vegas Raiders, a source told FOS.
- Owners artificial vs. grass fields was discussed during the meetings, two sources said. The league is still working on guidance as it continues to compile injury data.
- Rules-related issues — including kickoffs, hip-drop tackles and the so-called Tush Push — were discussed, but votes to amend the rule book will have to wait until the next owners meeting, in March.
“I think we all should work to get that out of the game,” commissioner Roger Goodell said about hip-drop tackles.
As the NFL showed improved diversity stats on everything outside of head coaches, Goodell was asked about another leg of the inclusion effort: When will one of the league’s 32 clubs hire a woman as GM?
“I believe that day will come, and it will come soon,” Goodell said at a news conference to close out the meetings.