Super Bowl may move back

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 24, 2001

The Associated Press

Monday, September 24, 2001

The Super Bowl probably will be delayed a week and could remain in New Orleans even under that schedule change, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Sunday.

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Tagliabue made the statement in a series of interviews on NFL pregame television shows.

”I think it is likely we can move the Super Bowl back a week, and hopefully it will be in New Orleans,” Tagliabue told CBS-TV’s ”The NFL Today.”

”We have strong support from everyone in New Orleans, and we would then be able to play our normal playoffs.”

Superdome spokesman Bill Curl said, ”That’s good news. It’s consistent with all of the conversations that we’ve had with the National Football League.

”We’ve been doing all we can to make sure it’ll stay in New Orleans. We’ve been very open and cooperative with the NFL. We understand they have an important decision to make.”

The NFL postponed its second week of games after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. It moved those games to the weekend of Jan. 5-7, which originally was scheduled for wild-card playoff games.

Aside from moving the Super Bowl to Feb. 3, the league has considered condensing a full playoffs, using midweek games, or canceling the wild-card weekend, with only four teams making the playoffs in each conference.

An automobile dealers convention is scheduled for New Orleans for the week following the current date of the Super Bowl, Jan. 27.

David Hyatt, executive director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said Sunday he had not heard from the NFL since two conversations Tuesday and a faxed letter Wednesday.

”If the NFL were to get in touch, if Paul Tagliabue wants to pursue this, obviously we’re not going to say no to further talks,” he said. ”But as of now there’s been no further contact.

”The question then would remain, ‘Can we work out the details of it, some sort of an agreement that makes it a win for the NFL and overcomes the logistical nightmare of switching these events?’ It’s not easy. It’s a lot tougher than it appears on the surface.”

Hyatt said Wednesday’s letter thanked NADA for considering the matter and recognized the decision was not ”just inconvenience and logistics, but the viability of the entire convention.”

But, he added, ”We’ve never had any discussion of potential losses, the need to indemnify us of all liabilities. We’ve got over 600 signed contracts. These are all legal obligations.

”The obstacles are real. I think he’s more aware of just how complicated and complex a matter it is.”