Goodell Talks Future Of London Games, Super Bowl Contingency On ESPN Radio
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" this morning to address several issues facing the league, including the increasing number of regular-season games in London, a potentially expanded postseason schedule and contingency plans for Super Bowl XLVIII in case of bad weather. Goodell noted ticket sales for the three games in London during the '14 season were "going incredibly well." He said, "We put a large number of tickets on sale a week ago, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. If we can execute on the three games this year, we'll have to then sit down and say, 'What's next in London?' because the fans keep responding with incredible enthusiasm. They have a great understanding and passion for this game and we want to keep feeding that." Goodell acknowledged there is an "opportunity for us to continue to grow our game" in the U.K., but any further plans depend on the "success of these three games behind us." He said the increasing the number of playoff teams from 12 was first looked at by the Competition Committee last year, and the group felt it "could be done in a very positive way from a competitive standpoint ... to even create more excitement around our playoffs." Goodell said adding teams "could really add even more competitiveness to the postseason." Goodell: "That's what we're trying to do: create more excitement, more competitiveness and make the drive for making into the playoffs even more exciting than it is now. I believe we can do that with adding two more playoff teams and I think this is something that not only the committee, but also the membership, will fully look at this offseason."
SAFETY FIRST: There has been a lot of talk about Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday being the first time the game has been played outdoors in a cold-weather city, and Goodell said, "Whenever we do an event like this, you have to have contingency plans." He added, "If you look at the weather across the country over the last week, we would have difficulty playing in a lot of cities because of the weather. ... We're asking a lot of fans to come in, travel, and you just have to make sure that you keep all of your fans safe and you have a safe event, and that's what we're really focusing on." Goodell noted the issue the NFL "will not cross is compromising public health or safety." Goodell: "If we were going to compromise that in any way, we would not play. We don't see that as being an issue right now" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 1/27).