SBD/October 9, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell: NFL Focused On Postseason Expansion, With Possible Preseason Reduction

Goodell defended the Redskins' name as being part of the franchise’s tradition
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that the "possibility of adding two teams to the postseason is one of the 'priorities' for the competition committee in 2014," according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Goodell, speaking after the league's one-day owners meeting in DC, said, "If expanding the postseason would allow other teams to get into the dance, and they have the potential of going on and winning the Super Bowl, that's a good thing for fans, that a good thing competitively." Wesseling reported the new rule if adopted "won't be put into place until the 2015 season because there are scheduling issues next season." Rather than "two games apiece on wild-card weekend, each conference would expand to three games." One possibility for "squeezing in extra playoff teams is to reduce the preseason from four weeks to three, although the two issues are not necessarily related" (NFL.com, 10/8). Goodell said that there are "many factors, including discussions with players and broadcasters, that must be considered before a decision is made" regarding shortening the preseason and expanding the postseason (N.Y. TIMES, 10/9). Colts Owner Jim Irsay said of the possibility, "We're looking at it and continuing to try to see what the best course to go is. But there wasn't anything significant talked about in this meeting" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/8). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes, "Now would be a good time to expand the playoffs." People "will watch, accompanied by TV hype and TV ratings." With expanded playoffs, "more of the games later in the regular season will be meaningful." However, the "biggest issue" might be figuring out how "to schedule two more playoff teams." Goodell said that it was "possible two games would be played on Friday night" during the first postseason weekend (USA TODAY, 10/9).

HARD NUT TO CRACK: Giants President & CEO John Mara said he "voted against" the resolution in which the league can force certain teams to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks" if no other team volunteers. Mara said, "I have nothing against the show. It may not be for us, but I understand why teams would want to appear on it. I just think that participation should be voluntary, not compulsory." Giants DE Justin Tuck said, "The NFL is trippin'. How are they going to pass a rule to force you to be on Hard Knocks?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9). ESPN's Mike Golic said, "I love the show and I’d love someone to step forward and say, 'We’ll do it,' but I’m not a fan of forcing.” Still, ESPN's Mike Greenberg said, “If you don’t force it, it’s not going to happen" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 10/9). CBSSN's Allie LaForce said, “If there’s a team that they know people are going to want to see, they're going to put them up to it.” CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb: “This year’s season with the Bengals was the worst season. The team was just kind of boring. ... You've got to give me something. You've got to give me the Raiders, the Cowboys, the Steelers, the Patriots, the Giants -- a team that I care about and that most of America cares about” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 10/8). FS1's Peter Schrager said, "Any time you get to see these guys and get a look behind the curtain, it's fantastic." FS1's Brian Urlacher said, "It's a good show to watch, but I would hate to be on there. ... It doesn't seem very appealing to me as a player" ("Fox Football Daily," FS1, 10/8).

KEEPING AN OPEN MIND: In DC, Mark Maske notes Goodell "believes the league and team must be respectful" of the different views people have on the Redskins' name. But Goodell also "defended the team’s name as being part of the franchise’s 'proud tradition' and history." He said, "By no means, growing up in Washington and being a Redskins fan, have I ever considered it derogatory as a fan. ... But whenever you have a situation like this, you have to listen and recognize that some other people may have different perspectives." Maske noted the NFL has "scheduled a meeting for next month with a Native American group that has expressed opposition to the Redskins' name." Goodell said that he is "not certain at this point who will participate in that meeting with representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation, which is scheduled for Nov. 22 but potentially could take place sooner." Goodell believes that the Redskins "are mindful and respectful of opposing views on the issue" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/8).
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