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NFL Considering Tweaks To Draft Process; Teams Prefer Usual April Date
Published April 28, 2014
PLAYOFF EXPANSION: Goodell said of a proposal to expand the league's playoffs, "We have 12 teams out of 32 that make our playoffs now. This would only take us up to 14. The competitiveness of our league, that's the difference to me. It's not just adding two more teams that didn't have a chance to proceed in the playoffs. That wouldn't be something that we're interested in. I think what we're seeing now is such a competitive league that a team that got in on the 13th or 14th spot has a chance to win it all." Goodell, on whether there is support for the proposal: "What we're doing now is talking to partners, our networks and our players, and making sure that, when we do it, we do it right" (ESPN.com, 4/25). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell noted Goodell during the NFL fall meetings in DC indicated the '15 season "was the earliest that an expanded playoff package could be implemented." However, Goodell is now "trumpeting faster action, sounding so game for this to be implemented" in '14. When Goodell "gets 'excited' about an issue, it usually gets pushed through by owners who have demonstrated such tremendous faith his leadership" that last year they paid him more than $43M in salary and bonuses. Bell: "Why rush this through now? See dollar signs" (USATODAY.com, 4/27).
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? Goodell said of criticism that the NFL is saturating the TV market with Thursday night games, "We're sensitive to that. We've been very calculated and careful in the way we manage our content. Thursday nights started with 6-8 games, then extended to 13, and now we'll be playing 16 games. This has all been responding to the fans. Football season is really four months. It's pretty focused. We normally play 16 games on a weekend. Thursday night is a platform for us. We're confident … this will be an extraordinary hit. We're comfortable we're not saturating the market" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/26).