<
>

Closing Patriots' notebook on NFL meeting

PHOENIX -- Closing the book on the NFL’s annual meeting with a few leftover thoughts and notes:

1. The league’s rule change to restrict the usage of eligible receivers as ineligible was obviously a direct result of Bill Belichick’s strategy from the playoffs. I look forward to seeing what Belichick has up his hoodie sleeve in the 2015 season that forces the NFL to make another change. Arguably no one knows the too-big-for-its-own-good rule book better than Belichick, who it sometimes seems is operating on a higher level than his coaching peers. He’ll come up with something else, there’s little doubt.

2. One thing that's easy to forget: While the eligible/ineligible strategy worked well against the Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Colts stopped it decisively in the AFC title game. So when I see words like "trick" used to describe the strategy, it strikes me as a bit over the top.

3. A sign of the increasing media interest in the NFL: The league issued 305 media credentials for the meeting, according to a spokesman.

4. Belichick left the owners meetings on Tuesday, one day before they officially ended, and was spotted on campus Wednesday for Central Florida’s pro day. That was a quick get-away.

5. When commissioner Roger Goodell was asked the status of the Wells report on underinflated footballs, and if he'd like it finished before the draft in late April, he said: "We have not put a timeframe on Ted Wells. We’ve asked him to be thorough, complete and when he’s finished then he’ll give it to us and to the public in general." Goodell was asked a follow-up question on if he felt the league handled the matter appropriately and said, "I made it very clear at the Super Bowl that we were not making any judgments and that we were obligated, as part of our role, to make sure we understand the facts whenever there is a charge, potentially, of a violation of our rules. We take it very seriously and that’s our obligation. It’s our obligation to the other 31 clubs. Ted Wells will be going through the report, and if there was anything that we as a league did incorrectly, we’ll know about it in that report."

6. The league didn't announce any of its opening-week prime-time games, leaving us in suspense a bit longer on who the Patriots might face to open the 2015 season.