Roger Goodell Says NFL Open to Expanding Playoffs for 2015 Season
There's an old cliche that says you can never have too much of a good thing. When it comes to the NFL playoffs, Roger Goodell seems to subscribe to that sentiment.
On Tuesday at the league's owners meetings in Washington, Goodell laid out the NFL competition committee's plan to propose the addition of two more teams to the current playoff format, beginning in 2015.
Here is Goodell on the proposed changes, via ESPN:
How do we continue to make sure the regular-season games are incredibly important each week, but also, how can we create more interest, and does expanding the postseason allow other teams to get into the dance with the potential of going on and winning the Super Bowl? That is a good thing for fans. It is a good thing competitively.
What has happened is our league is so competitive right now. The games are so close that it is realistic to think that a team can have a great second half, get into the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. We have seen it.
He added the following details, including his acknowledgment of "scheduling issues":
First, we have to make the recommendation. It would probably be the 2015 season because there are a lot of scheduling issues in the spring of next year. I don't think we have everything resolved, including talking to the NFLPA and making sure that is done the right way.
According to Goodell, the proposed changes shouldn't affect the length of the playoffs or push the Super Bowl back on the calendar:
What we're talking about is adding two teams. So you might have three games on the first weekend, and this is probably more of the issues that need to be addressed.
How do you schedule that? Do you have three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday? Do you have two on Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday? Do you go into Monday? There are competitive consequences in there and television consequences.
Based on the idea of having three games on the first weekend, the format would be set up with just one team in each conference earning a bye, rather than the current system where the top two teams per conference don't play on the first weekend.
In essence, that would keep the playoff structure as a four-round system and shouldn't push the Super Bowl back any length of time.
The concern for fans will be that the quality of the postseason will be diluted with two additional teams entering the fray, or that the chase for a wild-card spot may lose some intensity if another team is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
On the other hand, with just one bye week up for grabs, the likelihood of teams resting their starters down the stretch will diminish.
According to the ESPN report, the preseason will thus be condensed to a three-game schedule, though Goodell said those changes would not be applied in 2014.
It's certainly been a busy week for the NFL, as Goodell also announced on Tuesday that the league would have three games in London next season, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post. The Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have been pegged as the "home teams" for those games.
With the league growing ever more popular and Goodell looking for ways to actively capitalize on the excitement, the idea of expanding the postseason will remain a huge topic for the league and its fans.
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