PHOENIX -- The NFL won’t be adding playoff teams for 2013, and the champions of last season, the Baltimore Ravens, could open on the road because of a conflict with the Orioles.
As the owners meetings opened Monday, scheduling was a main topic.
Traditionally, the season has opened with the Super Bowl winners playing host on the Thursday night after Labor Day.
The Ravens won’t have that opportunity unless baseball’s Orioles, who share parking lots at Camden Yards with the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, will move their night game Sept. 5 to the afternoon.
So far, there’s been no progress, and Sept. 4 is not an option because it’s the first night of Rosh Hashanah.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell twice has spoken with his MLB counterpart, Bud Selig, seeking a solution.
"Unfortunately, the only [other] option is to take the Ravens on the road," Goodell said. "We think that is wrong for the Ravens’ fans. We would not want that to happen.
"We are working on parallel tracks for a couple more weeks. Clearly, we are getting to a point where we have to make that decision."
Last year, the NFL moved the opener to a Wednesday night to avoid conflicting with President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.
Goodell also said the playoffs will not expand this season, but it will be discussed for the future. Last December, Goodell spoke
"The competition committee looked at some of the issues," said Goodell, who added the league needs to discuss expanded playoffs with the players’ union, too.
"Now, we have a little bit of work to do before we can advance it. It clearly won’t be happening for this year if there was any doubt about that."
Surrounded by six Pro Football Hall of Famers at a news conference, Goodell and Jim Brown announced that the league will pay $42 million as part of a settlement with a group of retired players who sued over the use of their names and images without their consent.
"We have a common good fund in our agreement that will allow us to reach out and help a lot of our players who really need help," Brown said, "and not only that, but to help their spouses who some are suffering. We have individuals who are homeless.
"Today is like a coming back together because we can publicly say that we are doing something together that is going to be a landmark happening for people who truly need it."
Moments later, Goodell came down hard on teams that consider asking questions about a player’s sexual orientation at the scouting combine.
Michigan quarterback-turned-receiver Denard Robinson, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa and Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell indicated they were asked about it last month in Indianapolis.
"We have been following up with the players and their representatives directly," Goodell said. "We are also this afternoon working with all of our executives that lead in that position to make sure they understand what you can’t ask and what you can ask. We’re a professional organization. That’s unacceptable. We will do things the right way. We will give them that education and that training. I hope that that will solve the problem."