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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues and Governing Bodies

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 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" (, 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" (, 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" (, 10/8).

The NFL yesterday officially announced a third regular-season game in London for '14, building on two this year. There had been one game in prior years since the league began playing in the U.K. in '07. The Raiders, Falcons and Jaguars each will be a home team next year at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars are playing one game a year in London for four years starting later this month. The Falcons' inclusion is somewhat surprising given the home teams largely have been those with some struggles selling out games. The dates and away teams will be announced later this season (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday said that the addition of a third game "is not a test balloon to see if London would support an NFL team of their own." He said, "That’s not our objective here, the objective here is to grow the game internationally" (, 10/8). But YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Edholm wrote, "It's clear the league wants to test the viability of a London franchise." While signals from Goodell and league officials the past few years "make us believe" L.A. is "more likely to receive a franchise sooner than London might, there always exists the possibility of more than one franchise changing cities as the league prefers to stick with the symmetry of 32 teams" (, 10/8).

NEW LEASE AGREEMENTS NEEDED:'s Scott Bair noted in order for the Raiders to play in London next season, the team "must amend a stadium lease that has remained static" despite an '09 renewal, as "no alternate sites are permitted" under the lease agreement at Coliseum. A new lease agreement, which "has yet to be negotiated, must amend that provision if the Raiders are to play in London." The Raiders, fiscally speaking, "stand to make much more from a London game than a typical home game" (, 10/8). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Tim Tucker reports as a precursor to the NFL announcement, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority BOD yesterday voted unanimously to waive for '14 a provision in the Falcons’ Georgia Dome lease that "requires the team to play eight regular-season games in the Dome each season." GWCCA Exec Dir Frank Poe said that issues such as how the "loss of one Georgia Dome game affects season-ticket holders, suite holders and corporate sponsors will be 'managed jointly with the Falcons as we approach the 2014 season'" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/9).

BAY CITY ROLLERS: KGMZ-FM's Mark Kreidler said he was "intrigued by the possibility" that the Raiders could face the 49ers in London next year. The two teams are scheduled to play, and "given some of the history between the two teams, particularly in the stands and the parking lots the last couple of years ... it wouldn't be entirely shocking to see those teams" going against each other in London ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 10/8). The 49ers are playing the Jaguars in London later this month, and's Bill Williamson wrote it is "not out of the question" that they could return in '14. The Raiders-49ers preseason series "was scuttled a couple of years ago because of major game-day fan violence," and keeping the '14 game "out of the Bay Area, which albeit would be sad, would mean less potential problems" (, 10/8). Meanwhile, in San Jose, Tim Kawakami notes of the International Series, "The NFL usually guarantees the 'home' teams the equivalent of the money from a regular home sellout, so teams (like the Raiders) that aren't sure they actually can get sellouts are more likely to accept the cash guarantee." However, late Raiders Owner Al Davis -- "even in the worst ticket-selling days of Raiders history in Oakland -- would've never given up a home date for a cash guarantee, because to Al winning the game was always paramount and nothing else was close." It is "always better and easier to do that on home turf, not flying thousands of miles to play in a soccer stadium just to make sure the NFL's international branding is sufficient" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/9).

The NFL is considering spinning off its event hospitality business into a separate company, sources close to the league said. The NFL has been approached by a company in the hospitality space to form a joint venture with the league’s NFL on Location unit, which provides exclusive travel packages to the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Draft and London regular-season games. If the NFL did spin off the business, it would be a first for the league to take a unit and remove it from the NFL corporate body. The idea is that once removed from the league’s multi-layered oversight, and in conjunction with the other party, NFL on Location could grow quicker than within the NFL. NFL on Location employees would cease to work for the NFL, but instead for the new business. If the league moves on the initiatives, many details still remain to be resolved, including working with the NFLPA on how the revenues are counted toward the salary cap. Sources said the NFLPA has not yet been contacted about the potential move. The NFL declined to comment. Other details would include the joint venture structure with the other company, the identity of which could not be determined, and how NFL on Location interacts with clubs it seeks to align with for new packages.