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ORLANDO — It’s 2021, and Browns quarterback Sam Darnold runs on the field, his offense given the ball at its own 25-yard line after Pittsburgh drove for a touchdown. As everyone does after the other team scores in the post-kickoff NFL, Cleveland has 75 yards to navigate and endless possibilities for how this will go, and a few for how it’ll end.

You’re sitting in Section 137 at FirstEnergy Stadium, a long throw away from the line of scrimmage, and what’s in your hand makes you feel even closer. Right there, on your phone, is the Browns Bets app presented by Caesars. You scroll down and see 3-to-1 odds on Cleveland getting a field goal out of the possession, 7-2 odds that the Browns will score a touchdown, and 3-2 odds they’ll wind up punting it away.

You put $50 on the field goal. Then, you throw down $75 on 5-1 odds that veteran kicker Zane Gonzalez will score the game’s next points. And so you settle in, having bet $125 to win $600.

This is how the NFL sees the future.

And this week, here at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, the process formally began of pulling the perfect sport for gambling—football—out of the shadows and into the brave, new, modern world of gaming. Owners and team executives have been quietly looking forward to this for years now. But it wasn’t until Monday that the formal discussion began.

They’re all taking baby steps for now. The gambling session, run by league EVP of business operations Eric Grubman, was to inform the owners on what’s out there, and what the NFL is doing to prepare for the new reality that just about everyone believes is inevitable.

“We’re so early on in this process. I don’t have a clear understanding as to where we’re going to go,” Giants co-owner John Mara said during a break the other day. “But we’re having discussions that we’ve never had before.”

The timing’s not a coincidence either. The Supreme Court is expected to rule soon, maybe next week, on whether or not to legalize sports betting in New Jersey. If it goes through, the floodgates could open nationwide. The NFL knows it has to be ready.