NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he's so concerned about completion of the San Francisco 49ers' $525-million stadium project, he'll travel to San Francisco this week to meet with 49er officials and Mayor Willie Brown.
The NFL may not allow the 49ers to play host to the 2003 Super Bowl if the new stadium isn't built, Tagliabue said.
San Diego and New Orleans are bidding for the 2002 Super Bowl, the only one available in the next six years. If the San Francisco project falters or is delayed, the loser for the 2002 game could be awarded the 2003 game.
"That might happen," said Tagliabue, in Nashville for Sunday's game between the Oilers and San Diego Chargers. "Both San Diego and New Orleans might be in line for Super Bowls if something happened that required us to defer the Super Bowl in San Francisco."
The 49ers' new stadium plan has been on hold since January because projected costs were $175 million above the $350-million budget and because Eddie DeBartolo Jr. gave up control of the 49ers after he became a target of a federal investigation of the awarding of Louisiana gaming licenses.
"We have to take it a step at a time," Tagliabue said. "Obviously, with Eddie DeBartolo having to remove himself from the immediate management of the team and with the planning process moving forward, we'll have to see where we are with the partners in the project, and with the mayor."
The team's new planned stadium would be adjacent to and replace 3Com Park at Candlestick Point.
Tagliabue said a decision on the host for the 2002 game will be made at the NFL owners' fall meetings.
San Francisco hosted the Super Bowl only once--1985 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. Because of cramped conditions, that facility isn't an alternative to host the game in 2003, the NFL has said.
WHAT, AND GIVE UP HIS CUSHY DESK JOB?
Former 49er coach George Seifert said on CBS' NFL pregame show that he doesn't believe he'll be a candidate to coach the new Cleveland Browns.
"Carmen [Policy] is a very close friend of mine," said Seifert, in the first year of his contract as a CBS studio host. "We worked eight years together and we had some great times. At the same time we worked with the 49ers in a very tumultuous period. There were a lot of great players that left the organization. To a certain point, I'd say we wore each other out.
"I'm excited about Carmen's new position. I'm excited about what's in my future. But I don't believe I'll be a candidate for the Cleveland job."
Policy became part-owner and president of the Browns on Tuesday when billionaire partner Al Lerner's $530-million offer for the expansion team was approved by NFL owners. Policy owns 10% of the team and makes all football decisions.
Seifert's name quickly came up as a possible candidate to coach the Browns under Policy, who resigned in July after seven years as 49er president. Policy said in an interview last week that he wanted to meet with Seifert as early as next week in New York to "bounce some ideas off him."
Policy said Sunday that Seifert "looks comfortable behind that desk." Seifert, who resigned last year after eight years and two Super Bowl titles with the 49ers, has a one-year contract with CBS plus an option. But he could be free to consider coaching jobs after working the AFC championship game Jan. 17.
There is speculation that after this season Mike Holmgren might leave the Green Bay Packers to be coach and general manager of the 49ers. That would pave the way for current San Francisco Coach Steve Mariucci--Policy's pick to replace Seifert--to reunite with Policy as coach of the Browns.
Policy has said he was interested in hiring an "offensive-minded coach" who would not also serve as general manager.
Also Sunday, Policy revealed that he and DeBartolo began patching up their 30-year friendship that deteriorated in a feud last year.
DeBartolo called Policy to congratulate him on his new job. The two spoke this weekend for the first time since January.
"He congratulated us, wished us luck and suggested that he was convinced that we were going to be successful," Policy said.
EIGHT THINGS YOU SHOULD REMEMBER FROM SUNDAY
1. Craig Erickson was designated the Dolphins' No. 3 quarterback for the second week in a row, behind Damon Huard.
2. Don't get too excited, Dolphin fans. Miami has started off 2-0 in every season since Jimmy Johnson became coach.
3. Kevin Greene's two sacks in Carolina's 19-14 loss to New Orleans give him 138 and move him past Richard Dent to third all-time.
4. Jacksonville kicker Mike Hollis, who missed seven of 10 field-goal attempts in the preseason, missed two kicks against the Chiefs in a 21-16 victory. His second miss was from 21 yards.
5. Barry Sanders' 67-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of Detroit's 34-28 loss to Cincinnati extended his NFL record for touchdown runs of 50 or more yards to 14. Jim Brown is second with 12.
6. Detroit Coach Bobby Ross pulled starting cornerback Kevin Abrams from the lineup after he missed a tackle that allowed Corey Dillon to pick up a key 23-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
7. Before his 65-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati's Damon Gibson had fielded only six punts in his career. He fair-caught four of them, dropped another, and returned the sixth for seven yards.
8. Tampa Bay played all five of its preseason games on the road along with its first two regular-season games. The Buccaneers will play their first game in their new stadium next Sunday against Chicago.
Compiled by Houston Mitchell
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Player, Team Att Cmp Yds TD NEIL O'DONNELL, Bengals 36 25 303 3 JEFF GEORGE, Raiders 44 25 303 1 TONY BANKS, Rams 45 25 283 1 JOHN ELWAY, Broncos 22 16 268 2 RICH GANNON, Chiefs 37 23 263 0 KERRY COLLINS, Panthers 34 15 251 1 GLENN FOLEY, Jets 32 22 247 1 BRETT FAVRE, Packers 33 22 237 2 BOBBY HOYING, Eagles 35 24 232 0 DREW BLEDSOE, Patriots 29 15 218 1 TRENT DILFER, Buccaneers 36 20 211 1 BRAD JOHNSON, Vikings 31 18 208 1
Player, Team No Yds TD MUSHIN MUHAMMAD, Panthers 9 192 1 ISAAC BRUCE, Rams 11 192 1 DARNAY SCOTT, Bengals 5 130 2 TIM BROWN, Raiders 6 127 1