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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Quick hits from owners meetings

By Mike Rodak

BOSTON -- While the biggest news out of Tuesday's owners meetings in Boston was Super Bowls L and LI being awarded to San Francisco and Houston, there were a few other nuggets of note:

Kraft stresses value of in-stadium experience. One of the cornerstones of San Francisco's bid for the Super Bowl in 2016 was keeping up with technology inside the stadium that fans are able to use to enhance viewing at home. In recalling his favorite Tedy Bruschi moment on Tuesday -- his December 2003 interception against the Miami Dolphins and the ensuing "snow fireworks" -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft made sure to mention how fans needed to be at the stadium to experience that moment.

"(It was) one of the great visuals and part of what makes it great going to a game in a stadium," Kraft said. "You experience a sense of community and group celebration that you can't do at home no matter how much you like the home viewing experience."

The Patriots recently expanded their WiFi capacity in Gillette Stadium, but Kraft said the team's efforts will extend beyond that.

"We understand with what's going on in the world today, people are concerned about being in an environment where there are large crowds," Kraft said. "At the same time, with the way technology works, we're doing things in quickies and getting quick reactions, and we don't have that sense of community that I think a lot of people long for.

"Going to sporting events, and especially football games that are only once a week, it's a great experience and we're going to keep making them more and more special."

Mara talks potential changes to offseason calendar. On Monday, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that the NFL and NFLPA were "on the verge" of pushing back the draft until May and moving the start of the league year to before the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

It would be a change that would take NFL coaches and front offices out of their routine, and on Tuesday, New York Giants owner John Mara addressed the possibility that it may ruffle the feathers of those on the football side.

"Every time you change something, certain coaches and other football people think it's the end of the world," Mara said. "But you know what? They always manage to adapt."

According to Schefter, the change to the draft could come as soon as 2014.

"If you're moving the draft, there are advantages to it," Mara said. "You bring the (rookies) in for minicamp, and then they just stay. You can look at it a number of different ways.

"I think if we do it, we're going to do it for the long haul."

NFL reaches deal with Microsoft. The NFL announced a partnership with Microsoft on Tuesday that could include more technology being implemented on sidelines.

From the league's news release:

"Coaches and players will soon have access to a variety of cutting-edge Microsoft solutions, including Surface tablets to enhance on-field communications, photo viewing and play calling. Microsoft and the NFL envision a sideline of the future with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles directly from the sideline and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets instead of today's static paper products. With Microsoft technology, NFL coaches, players and other personnel will have the technology they need to improve decision-making and on-field performance."