Short primer on NFL owners voting on Super Bowl sites today

CHARLOTTE – The NFL and its 32 owners are in North Carolina today to vote on hosting duties for Super Bowls LIII (2019), LIV (2020) and LV in 2021.

Los Angeles is front and center, and is on the ballot to host either Super Bowl LIV or LV.

The proceedings are about to begin, but expect a full day process with announcements coming at approximately 6 p.m. Charlotte time – or 3 p.m. back home in Los Angeles.

Here is a quick primer on how the process will unfold:

The candidate cities are Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, South Florida, and Tampa Bay. NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly and his group will open the proceedings by presenting an overview of each city’s bid.

Then, each city will have 15 minutes to make a presentation. In L.A.’s case, presenting duties will be handled by Wasserman Media Group CEO Casey Wasserman.

By the way, the owners and staff members of the teams from the cities under consideration are not present during this phase.

Upon completion of bid presentations, the owner from the team in each of the bidding cities will have up to five minutes to make a pitch for their city. After which, fellow owners will have an opportunity to ask questions.

At the end of the Q&A’s, voting will commence and will be televised live by NFL Network.

Here is the lineup of bids under consideration:

• Super Bowl LIII: Atlanta, New Orleans, South Florida, Tampa Bay
• Super Bowl LIV: Atlanta, Los Angeles, South Florida, Tampa Bay
• Super Bowl LV: Atlanta, Los Angeles, South Florida, Tampa Bay

Here are voting procedures:

Four Cities

• If in the first vote, one city does not receive the necessary 24 or more votes, the list of the eligible cities will be reduced to the top three plus ties for third, or if there are no ties for third, all cities within one vote of third.

• If after the second vote, no city has received the necessary 24 or more votes, the list of eligible cities will be reduced to the top two and any ties.

• There will be a maximum of one vote to achieve the necessary 24 or more vote for an award when the list is reduced to the top two and ties. If after one vote, no award has been made, the requirement to be selected will be reduced to simple majority vote. Voting continues until an award is made.

Three Cities:

• If in the first vote, one city does not receive the necessary 24 or more votes, Super Bowl voting procedures require a second ballot involving all three cities.

• If after the second vote, no city has received the necessary 24 or more votes, the list of eligible cities will be reduced to the top two and any ties.

• There will be a maximum of one vote to achieve the necessary 24 or more vote for an award when the list is reduced to the top two and ties. If after one vote, no award has been made, the requirement to be selected will be reduced to simple majority vote. Voting continues until an award is made.

Rams sign former Auburn WR Duke Williams

With a definite need to assemble offensive weapons around rookie quarterback Jared Goff, the Rams double downed at wide receiver and tight end in last week’s draft.

On Tuesday they took a different route in their quest to identify playmakers, and it landed them one of the most talented wide receivers in this year’s draft class.

Albeit one who went undrafted and arrives with a bit of baggage.

The Rams have signed former Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams to a free agent contract after he worked out for the club recently. Williams, a 6-foot-2, 215 pounder enjoyed a productive junior year for the Tigers in 2014, catching 45 passes for 730 yards and five touchdowns. At the time, ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper rated Williams as the top wide receiver in the 2016 draft class.

But his 2015 season was cut short after a series of off-field incidents resulted in Auburn kicking him off the team in October. Williams caught just 12 passes last year before being banished from the team after a series of suspensions, team violations and getting into a bar-room brawl.

After going undrafted last week, Williams was immediately invited by the Rams to try out.

They obviously liked what they saw.

With Williams in the fold, he joins recent wide receiver draftees Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas on a roster that also includes veterans Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt and Brian Quick.

Williams seemed contrite when explaining, his troubles at Auburn at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“I was late to practice many times. Once I got in the doghouse, it was hard for me to get out. I was already in the doghouse, so everything I did, it was being watched. I just had to grow. And I didn’t grow,” Williams said. “So now I’m working to be a man. I put myself in counseling to really find myself as a person, to address the issue before it even happens again.”

Williams also said he was seeking counseling.

“You know, like attitude, the whole thing, everything. Just overall as a person,” he said. “I want to be able to address it right now to where nobody has to tell me what to do anymore.”

Williams left little doubt he’d be considered a top pick without the baggage.

“If I didn’t get in any trouble, I know I’m a legit first-round pick,” he said. “But God got other plans. I’m a first-round pick no matter what.”

The Rams are giving him a chance to prove it.

Goff Excited about possibility of being Rams QB

CHICAGO – Cal quarterback Jared Goff promises the Rams haven’t told him anything official yet about being the top pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday.

“Honest truth.” he said today at a Chicago-area event for local kids, hosted by the National Football League.

That said, it goes without saying Goff would embrace the chance to be the quarterback to lead the Rams back to Los Angeles.

“It would be great. It’s a great place,” Goff said. “The city has been waiting for a professional football team for a long time now. I think the fanbase is still there, so it’ll be a great situation.”

Goff is also excited about the possibility of going first overall.

“It would be awesome. An honor,” Goff said about being the fist pick. “Something to be really proud of and something I’d take and really own and make them proud they made the right decision.”

The Rams haven’t shown their cards, but the consensus is they’ve settled on Goff over North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz.


Are the Rams open to trading to No. 2? (why it pays to be flexible)

So after canvassing some league executives it looks like the Browns have zeroed in on one of the top quarterback prospects available in next week’s draft.

It’s not important right now whether it’s Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

What’s important is how much the Browns really like the quarterback they covet, and if they willing to pay a price to make sure they get him.

When the Rams traded up from 15 to No. 1 last week it didn’t just shake up the top of the draft and create a ton of buzz in the Rams’ new home in Los Angeles.

It put the Rams in absolute control of the top of the draft relative to the quarterbacks.

Here is the thing: The Rams really like both Wentz and Goff. A lot. Like, equally a lot. The whole objective of moving all the way to No. 1 was making sure they can secure one or the other. There was no way they could guarantee that staying at 15, or even if they moved into the top 10 or 5. Too many teams like both Wentz and Goff, and too many teams were interested in trading to No. 1.

They had to get to No. 1.

Now that they are there, they are mulling whether to draft either Goff or Wentz.

The key being, they like them both.

Which brings us back to the Browns.

If, say, the Browns are desperate for Goff or Wentz – or vice versa – and can live with only one and not the other, you would think they’d be on the phone right now with the Rams working a deal to make sure they get their guy.

Would the Rams be willing to trade out of the No. 1 to No. 2 to accommodate the Browns?

I’m going to say yes, considering their like for both of the top prospects.

Why not? It would mean recouping at least one or two draft picks to make up for the picks they parted with to move from No. 15 to No. 1.

But are the Browns willing to pony up to get their guy if, as some suspect, they have zeroed in on either Wentz or Goff?

That remains to be seen.



Rams: What to make of the Wentz, Goff debate

After doing a ton of radio interviews across the country in the aftermath of the Rams trade for the No. 1 pick in the draft, one of the more consistent questions I get is how could the Rams part with so many future draft picks to move to No. 1 if they haven’t yet decided between North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz or Cal’s Jared Goff?

The implication being: You don’t give that much up without knowing already who you want to pick.

I agree to an extent. And if you’re asking me today who the Rams are leaning toward I’d say it’s Wentz. There is a reason they moved all the way to No. 1 – and ahead of the Browns, who have been linked to Wentz. They obviously wanted to beat the Browns to the punch.

That said, I think the bigger factor is that the Rams wanted to control the process.

In other words, they wanted to be the team that decided who the best quarterback in the draft is – the quarterback they want to stake their future on – rather than wait on the Browns or anyone else who might have moved into the No. 1 slot to make that determination and force the Rams into a reactionary position.

Had, say, the 49ers moved to No. 1 and taken Goff and the Browns taken Wentz at No. 2, the Rams would have been completely shut out of the two quarterbacks they believe can be Day One starters in the NFL.

They were not going to sit back and allow that to happen. They could not afford to, given how solid the rest of the roster is and the need to plug in a quality quarterback to elevate the Rams from a competitive team to a playoff contender.

By making the unprecedented jump from the 15th spot in the draft to No. 1, they eliminated all uncertainty and hope and chance of the process. And whether they are leaning toward Wentz or Goff or still undecided, they can now spend the next two weeks with the singular focus of reaffirming their position, or being convinced otherwise, or simply deciding who the best prospect is between Wentz and Goff.

The point being, this is the Rams decision to make, and the Rams decision alone. And while it cost quite a bit to take control of that process, having possession of it far outweighs the cost when you consider the long-range implications.