Goodell Indicates Changes To Schedule Likely Won't Happen By '14, Still Feels Time Is Right
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday said that it is "extremely unlikely" the NFL will make changes to its season structure in time for '14, but added that the "timing for altering the calendar of games is right," according to Judy Battista of NFL.com. Goodell said that there "haven't been any recent conversations" about going to an 18-game regular-season schedule. Battista noted while the idea "is not dead ... there haven't been any internal talks nor talks" with the NFLPA. Any changes would "have to be discussed at the league's annual meeting in March, and Goodell said there still is a lot of work to be done on the possibilities." However, the league is "considering myriad scenarios ... to improve the preseason." Goodell said that he "has not decided if expanding the playoffs beyond the current 12-team format is best for the league." Critics of the idea "fear adding another layer of playoff games will dilute the importance of the regular season." But more playoff teams "keeps interest in the season alive in more areas of the country and would provide another lucrative TV package of games." The Steelers play the Vikings Sunday in London in the first of two games scheduled for the U.K. this season, and the NFL next year is "considering playing a third game in London as part of its evolving" Int'l Series. Goodell said that a "final decision hasn't been made, nor is there a timeline for deciding if a franchise will be permanently placed in London." Meanwhile, Goodell said that his comment two weeks ago regarding the Redskins possibly changing their name "should not be interpreted as a shift in his position from a letter he sent to several members of Congress in June." He also said that he considered the $765M concussion lawsuit settlement a "victory for the players and their families" (NFL.com, 9/26).
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? ESPN's Mike Golic wondered if adding teams to the playoffs would be "watering it down" some. Golic said with more playoff teams, "sometimes it would look ugly," as teams could make the playoffs with a .500 or losing record. ESPN's Jonathan Coachman said the 8th seed in the NFL would have a chance to win the Super Bowl, "unlike the NBA" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/27).
NFLPA CHALLENGER HAS PROS & CONS: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes former NFLer Sean Gilbert, who is intending to run for the NFLPA's Exec Dir position, demonstrates in his new book a "keen sense of NFL economics and the inner workings of the league." He "makes a powerful argument about how the NFLPA gave up its legal position to sue owners for collusion by agreeing to penalties imposed" on the Redskins and Cowboys for "violating salary-cap rules during an 'uncapped' year" in '10. But Gilbert "has never held an executive position," and "isn't a lawyer." Gilbert "wasn't even active in NFLPA matters" when he played. He "could have a tough sell with one pillar of his proposals: the 18-game season" (USA TODAY, 9/27).