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Analysis: Patriots-related items from Annual Meeting

All the NFL's "bigs" are in the desert southwest city of Phoenix this morning for the league's most important annual business meetings.


PHOENIX – All the NFL's "bigs" are in the desert southwest city of Phoenix this morning for the league's most important annual business meetings. It's here that such items and rules changes and the 2013 schedule will be discussed, debated, and in some cases voted on for ratification.

Among rules change proposals, there are several that aim to improve player safety, but by far the most noteworthy would be the elimination of the so-called "Tuck Rule." As New Englanders well know, the play made famous in the 2001 playoffs against Oakland catapulted the Patriots to the first of their three Super Bowl victories in the Kraft-Belichick-Brady era. If this year's proposal passes, that now-famous play would be ruled a fumble. Needless to say, we will be following this with great interest over the next few days.

Team owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft will be busy over the course of the meetings, as both are influential members of some very important league committees. Robert Kraft sits on five committees: Management Council Executive Committee (labor issues), Finance, Compensation, Broadcasting, and NFL Network. Jonathan is involved with the Digital Media and Business Venture Committees.

In conjunction with Patriots Today, we will be looking to speak with the Krafts about their dealings this week, as well as the team's most recent free agent signing activity. There are no designated media interview times for the various owners and general managers, so, it's catch-as-catch-can with regard to cornering these gentlemen for Q&As.

On Tuesday, the AFC coaches gather for a media interview breakfast here at the Arizona Biltmore. That's when we hope to see head coach Bill Belichick to get his reaction to the goings-on here and back home in Foxborough since free agency began. NFC coaches hold their breakfast talk on Wednesday morning.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will also address the gathering later today and on Wednesday at the conclusion of the meetings. There's also a Competition Committee press conference this afternoon, where the Tuck Rule will likely dominate discussion.

The Annual Meeting kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Pacific and runs through Wednesday afternoon.

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