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What We Learned at the 2022 NFL League Meeting

The wildest NFL offseason in recent memory continued with this week’s annual League Meeting — and Boardroom has you covered on all the developments you can expect from here to Week 1.

NFL coaches, executives, and owners descended upon Palm Beach, Florida, this week for the league’s annual League Meeting. Nearly two months removed from the Los Angeles Rams topping the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI, the NFL is wasting no time in revamping for the 2022 season.

Along the way to Super Bowl LVI was the semi-controversial AFC Divisional Round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills — an instant classic that revived the conversation around overtime rules when Josh Allen and the Bills lost after not having the opportunity to touch the football in the extra period.

But that was one of several key issues addressed at The Breakers.

Below is Boardroom’s recap of all the essential happenings as we pivot toward the 2022 season.

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Postseason Overtime Changes (“The Josh Allen Rule”)

When the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes won the overtime coin toss in their AFC Divisional Round matchup against the Buffalo Bills, the game appeared to be a foregone conclusion. The teams had combined to score five times in the final 2:33 seconds of regulation, but Allen never got a chance to touch the ball and match what was ultimately the game-winning touchdown pass from Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce. The Bills’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion by a 42-36 final score.

Beginning next season, both teams will have the opportunity to possess the ball in overtime playoff games.

If the score is tied after each team has possessed the ball, then the next score wins. There is still one catch, however: if the team that kicks the ball off scores a safety on the receiving team’s initial possession, that scoring team is the winner.

NFL Reveals Diversity Advisory Committee Members

As the NFL wrestles with increasing diversity on all fronts outside of players, the league has created a diversity advisory committee that will review existing diversity and hiring policies and provide recommendations. The committee consists of six members:

  • Springboard founder and President Pamela Carlton
  • Former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey
  • Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila managing partner Patricia Brown Holmes
  • University of Colorado-Boulder associate professor Stefanie K. Johnson
  • Former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith
  • Cleveland Avenue CEO and former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson

The panel will give their perspective on industry best practices and will evaluate league and club diversity as well as equity and inclusion strategies and initiatives.

Buffalo Bills Get a New Home

The Buffalo Bills are moving out of Highmark Stadium and into a new facility with an estimated $1.4 billion price tag. The spending on the stadium will be divided into four parts:

  • The state of New York’s taxpayers will cover $600 million
  • Erie County taxpayers will cover $250 million
  • The Pegulas family that owns the Bills will pay $350+ million
  • The NFL will pay $200 million

The $850 million publicly-funded portion is the largest taxpayer contribution ever for a pro football stadium.

NFL and Ticketmaster Renew Partnership

The NFL and Ticketmaster extended their partnership. The four-year deal will continue to provide secondary ticketing services on behalf of the league and individual teams, and also includes the option for club primary ticketing services.

Rooney Rule Enhancements

There were nine head coaching vacancies available to begin the 2022 offseason, and only one was filled by a Black person or person of color. It again highlighted the NFL’s need to increase diversity. And while the Rooney Rule has been in place for over two decades, it has not aided in helping people from diverse backgrounds get into front office positions. One of key new Rooney Rule improvements will mandate that every team has either a female or individual that is a member of an ethnic or racial minority serving as an offensive assistant coach.

Hard Knocks Takes on Detroit

In the 17th edition of HBO Sports docuseries Hard Knocks, the 30-person NFL Films crew will travel to the Detroit Lions’ training camp at Allen Park to capture 1,750 hours of footage.

“We are excited about the opportunity to showcase the City of Detroit and the amazing culture we are building at the Lions,” said Detroit Lions Team President and CEO Rod Wood in a release. “HBO Sports and NFL Films are the best of the best and we know they will be excellent partners in sharing our story with football fans around the world.”

…And the 2024 NFL Draft Also Hits Detroit

The 2022 NFL Draft will take place during the last days of April in Las Vegas, and next year’s festivities will be set in Kansas City.

The NFL announced its plan for 2024, too: the three-day NFL Draft will take over downtown Detroit. As part of the event, the NFL’s Draft Experience — an interactive football theme park — will give fans a litany of opportunities to experience much more than the draft itself.

“The Draft has become a prominent offseason event across the country, and we are excited to work with the Lions and their partners to bring the 2024 NFL Draft to the Motor City,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a release.  “With the help of Visit Detroit, the Detroit Sports Commission, and the City of Detroit, the Lions’ passionate fan base, and all visitors will be treated to an incredible three-day experience.”

Diversity and Ownership

The Denver Broncos are expected to sell at a record price this summer. An unprecedented DAO is trying to raise $4 billion in cryptocurrency to purchase the franchise valued by Forbes at $3.75 billion. With that in mind, the NFL released a joint statement to its 32 clubs:

“The NFL member clubs support the important goal of increasing diversity among ownership.  Accordingly, when evaluating a prospective ownership group of a member club pursuant to League policies, the membership will regard it as a positive and meaningful factor if the group includes diverse individuals who would have a significant equity stake in and involvement with the club, including serving as the controlling owner of the club.”

All this means is that if an ownership group has more diversity within it, the league will take this into consideration as it looks for the Broncos’ next owner(s).

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