The most pressing business facing the NFL today is realignment, which, when completed in the next several months, will spread 32 pro clubs through eight separate but hopefully equal four-team divisions.

Only one uncertainty remains: the precise membership of each division.

Although a new arrangement of teams is obviously necessary, many ownerships are resisting any change in their present traditional rivalries.

So how should the NFL proceed?

I'd say there are two things to do:

• Name a committee of club owners to compile the 10 or 12 best proposals for a competitive eight-division league.

• Hire independent auditing experts to (a) toss the proposals in a hat and (b) draw out the winner.

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No Agreement on Realignment

In the days when Pete Rozelle was the league's commissioner, he accomplished realignment by asking his private secretary to haul the winning proposal out of a hat--but these are more suspicious times.

Hall of Fame and Academy Awards leaders are among those now preferring independent auditors.

In any case, a hat lottery of some kind will be needed to realign the NFL because the 32 rich, proud owners are unlikely ever to agree on any single proposal.

Their extraordinarily diverse interests preclude agreement.

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Small Divisions, Fewer Losers

The history of pro football suggests that most traditional rivalries aren't born, they're created.

For one example, the Dallas-Washington game was just another game until a Redskin coach, George Allen, made it into a rivalry in the 1970s.

The key to a successful sports league is competitive balance--which over time will produce plenty of traditionals.

Nor are geographical groupings important.