Can you give us an idea of who attends these annual meetings and what takes place?
DS: “There are two main meetings every year. The first one is the Spring meeting, which we just had; and the second is the Fall meeting, which takes place later in the year. Typically the Spring meeting is a state-of-the-league address, which is given by the Commissioner. We discuss every aspect of our business and what’s happening with it. We talk about what transpired the year before and how that relates to years past. We look at a lot of different trends around the league and what we might expect for the upcoming season. Basically, it’s an update on where the league stands. There are specific issues addressed. Labor is a current issue that’s a topic of discussion. There are always other issues relevant to potential big sponsorship deals, different rule changes, television network and digital media updates, all kinds of issues. These meetings get everyone up to date on what’s going on.”
Overall, do you feel a lot was accomplished this week and are you happy with the outcome?
DS: “We got a lot accomplished. It was a very productive week and I think everybody left feeling pretty good about the week as a whole.”
The Chargers voted in favor of the modified overtime format for the postseason. What are your thoughts on the new format?
DS: “It’s an interesting concept. It’s something that has been studied for a long time and the sentiment of the owners, at least 28 of them, was that it was time for a change. The team that won the coin toss won the game in overtime 58.9% of the time. With the new rule change, there’s anticipation this will deemphasize the coin toss and not give one team such an advantage over the other team based on just a coin toss. There has been a lot of support from the fans and the media. Overall, it’s a good change and it was something that was needed. There are a lot of people that don’t like change, but when you look back at the implementation of the two-point conversion, there was a lot of controversy about that. You look back at the use of instant replay and there was a lot of controversy about that. Now you almost can’t remember when there wasn’t the two-point conversion or instant replay. This was a good decision for the league.”
Are you in favor of expanding the new overtime rules to the regular season?
DS: “I would be in support of that.”
What can we expect on the agenda when team owners meet again in May?
DS: “There will be a follow up on a lot of the current issues, including the possibility of expanding the overtime rule to the regular season. There will be more business venture-related issues that will be coming up relevant to sponsorships and future business. There will be discussions relevant to the international games and what the league is planning to do internationally.”
Can you give us an update on where the league stands on the talks surrounding the collective bargaining agreement?
DS: “We are committed to doing what is necessary to get a deal that is fair to players and owners and that allows the game to grow. This is an opportunity to create a better system for everyone. A healthy, growing business is good for everyone.”
A lot of the young players are already set to start their offseason program on Monday. How does it make you feel to have the offseason program start in preparation for the new season?
DS: “It’s always great to see the players come back and get started. There have been a few players around here over the last month or so. It’ll be nice to see a big group of players come back.”
The team has placed the highest-possible contract tenders on some notable free agents, including
DS: “You never know for sure, but we’re hopeful that they’ll all be here playing for us next year.”
Can you give us an update on how preparations for the draft are coming?
DS: “The draft is less than four weeks away and the scouts will be coming in here over the next several weeks and they’ll be getting started. Coaches are still looking at tape right now. Our draft meetings will get geared up in the next couple of weeks. “And I feel even better about it now that we have two of the top 40 picks in the draft (28 and 40 overall) after making that trade with Seattle (sending QB