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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Giants President & CEO John Mara on Thursday said he will "try to have an open mind" when the idea of expanding the NFL Playoffs is discussed at owners meetings, but he noted he has "always been against it." Mara, appearing on WFAN-AM's "Francesa," said, "I look at the games that we had last weekend and it's pretty tough to imagine a better weekend for the National Football League. ... Three of those four games were just outstanding -- went right down to the wire. When you start talking about playing games on Friday nights or Monday nights, I just don't know how excited I get about that. I like the system we have now, but I'm willing to listen to the discussion and the reasons for and against." Mara also noted he has "always been opposed" to an 18-game regular season and said preseason games are "necessary in terms of preparing your football team." Mara: "It gives you a chance to get younger players an opportunity to play." However, he did acknowledge preseason games are "pretty tough to sell as an entertainment property." Host Mike Francesa wondered if there may be a point where team owners "don't treat these like they're games anymore and just treat them like what they are, which are exercises so that you can analyze talent, and not worry about the bottom line on these games." Mara replied, "Maybe we can get to that point. That's something that has been discussed and will continue to be discussed among the teams in the league because we all recognize that we have an issue to deal with there." He added, "I would be opposed to playing anything less than three" ("Francesa," WFAN-AM, 1/9).

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: In Phoenix, Bob Young writes players are "likely to favor" playoff expansion because "there is a better chance to get a cut of the playoff pie, and they don’t have to worry about playing those two extra regular-season games." Coaches also are "likely to favor it because two more of them are going to be able to tell the owner and general manager, 'Hey, we were 8-8 but I got us in the playoffs.'" Finally, the owners "will love it because of the potential for increased revenues" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/10).