PHOENIX - Giants president and co-owner John Mara said Sunday that he believes that pro football will return to the Los Angeles market by 2016.
Owners will be updated on the progress of the Los Angeles market when they gather this week for their annual spring meetings, but Mara thinks the NFL will be back in the country's second-biggest market sooner rather than later.
"I think there's going to be one or two teams playing in LA next year -- 2016," Mara said. "Maybe a temporary stadium [next year], but I think -- and this is just my opinion -- that one or two teams will be playing somewhere in L.A. next year. But we'll see."
Mara declined to identify which teams might be playing in Los Angeles, and he said no vote would be taken at this week's meetings. In recent weeks, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has sparked speculation that he is ready to move his team back to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that Kroenke has a stadium plan that could house two teams.
The Times reported last month that the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have partnered in a venture that would bring those teams to Los Angeles with a similar stadium-sharing arrangement.
Mara, a member of the NFL's Competition Committee, said he didn't think any major rules changes would be enacted this week. That includes the possibility of adding penalties to the list of plays that are eligible for replay review. The Lions have proposed a rule that would add all penalties to the coaches' challenge system, and the Patriots have submitted a rule that would allow every play in the game to be subject to review.
"I don't expect there to be any significant changes to replay," Mara said. "I don't think there's enough support, with the possible exception of reviewing the time on the clock. There are something like 13 proposals out there, and other than that one, I'd be surprised if any of them passed."
Mara said the Competition Committee is "pretty unified" on not adding officiating calls to replay.
"We just don't think that expanding [replay] is going to help the game at all," he said. "You're adding a new level of review of the officiating, and things look different when you slow it down frame by frame. I just don't know that we want to add that layer. [Penalties] are a much more subjective thing, and I don't think we're ready to go into that area. That's where we draw the line."
Mara said he thought owners would approve a measure that would make it a penalty to strike defenseless receivers on an interception. The current rule does not penalize defensive players for striking a blow to the head or neck area of receivers when a pass is intercepted.
Mara also said there was insufficient support for a Patriots' proposal to have fixed cameras installed at the goal lines and sidelines for all stadiums. Mara cited cost and inconsistent configurations of different stadiums.