So much controversy is swirling this year that Roger Goodell could probably extend them by a week instead.
The owners listened to a opening-night address from former President Clinton last night, and there was no word on whether Clinton would stick around to play peacemaker amid the fallout from the Saints’ Bountygate scandal and the penalties handed down on the Cowboys and Redskins for salary-cap violations.
Dallas and Washington have filed grievances against the NFL and the players association for agreeing to penalize the Redskins $36 million in cap room and the Cowboys $10 million in cap room over the next two seasons. Their supposed crime: Spending too much in an uncapped year, which the league now claims was a violation of the spirit of the rules.
NOT ON SIDELINE: Saints head coach Sean Payton (above), suspended for the season, is allowed to attend NFL meetings.
Both teams have signaled an interest in suing the league and union, too, but Giants co-owner John Mara said his two NFC East rivals actually got off light.
Mara, who is chairman of the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee, said the teams were lucky they also weren’t forced to forfeit draft picks for violating “the spirit of the salary cap.”
“I thought the penalties imposed were proper,” Mara told reporters upon arriving at the palatial Breakers Hotel. “They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they’re lucky they didn’t lose draft picks. They attempted to take advantage of it knowing full well there would be consequences.”
The massive penalties imposed on the Saints and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, meanwhile, will be a big topic of discussion — especially since the league still plans to suspend ex-Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma and other players for their roles.
According to a league source, suspended Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis plan to attend the meetings in a move that could cause some awkward moments.
Payton was suspended an entire year by Goodell for his role in the cash-for-injuries scheme, but is allowed to attend because his suspension does not officially begin until April 1. Loomis was suspended for eight games — a ban that does not start until the regular season.
The owners also will vote on several proposed rules and system changes, including the prospect of making all replay reviews the responsibility of the booth official, reviewing every turnover, making the trade deadline two weeks later, overhauling injured reserve and giving temporary roster exemptions to teams that lose a player to a concussion.
Roger Goodell, NFL, Sean Payton, NFLвЂ™s Management Council Executive Committee, Redskins, President Clinton, John Mara, the Cowboys, Saints coach Sean Payton, the Saints, the Saints, Jonathan Vilma