SBD/January 8, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Roger Goodell Voices Support Of Expanded NFL Playoffs, But Shoots Down Reseeding

Goodell says various scenarios are being considered for an expanded first weekend
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last night all but ruled out reseeding the playoffs, calling concerns of teams with worse records than their opponents hosting postseason games a media issue. Speaking at 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Goodell said, "One of the premises we start with every season is you should win your own division." Three of the four Wild Card round games this past weekend featured matchups in which the host team had a worse record than the opponent. Goodell, as he has on many occasions, positively described expanding the playoffs from six teams per conference to seven teams, and said he could see the day when an 8-8 team wins the Super Bowl. Various scenarios are being considered for how an expanded first weekend of games would work, he said, including games on a Friday. Currently they are on Saturday and Sunday. On other issues, Goodell said he could foresee a franchise in London, and sounded more optimistic about the chances there than returning to L.A. He did rule out a London Super Bowl unless a team was already there. Goodell also tamped down any expectations of a wave of outdoor, northern Super Bowls in the wake of the upcoming New Jersey game, saying an analysis would be conducted later. Additionally, he reacted forcefully to a question about the book "League of Denial," which alleged the NFL ignored the warning signs on the issue of concussions. Goodell maintained the NFL, along with the NFLPA, had been a leader on research into concussions and the brain. Meanwhile, asked about the Redskins' name, Goodell cited a poll that said nine out of 10 Native Americans do not view the name as racist. Former White House AP reporter Ben Feller conducted the hour-long interview. Feller currently works for PR firm Mercury, which has worked for the NFL in the past (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).

THIS & THAT: Goodell said of other cold-weather cities possibly hosting a Super Bowl, "I think this is obviously innovative and it's something new, but it's also unique because it's New York" (ESPNNY.com, 1/7). Goodell responded to the question of whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay player by saying, "Yes. There may be. I don't know" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/8). Goodell said that an expanded Wild Card round of the playoffs "could begin on Friday." But PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote it would "make more sense -- and more money -- to stick with the current structure on Saturday, add a night game on Sunday, and place the second extra game on Monday night, with the winner of the Monday night game guaranteed to play on the following Sunday in the divisional round" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 1/7).
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