Roger Goodell says expanded playoffs still possible for 2014
Despite a decision this week from NFL owners not to expand the playoff field starting next season, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the idea is still not entirely out of the question, according to a report from Lindsay H. Jones from USA Today Sports.
The news comes as owners and league officials convene this week in Orlando for annual meetings to discuss possible reforms to the game. Goodell said that while the owners have expressed an interest in keeping the field in its current format of 12 teams rather than going to a possible 14 or 16-team field, he will still do more work to weigh the pros and cons of more postseason games.
"It's not out of the question, but we did not make that decision at all," Goodell said. "We have more work to do. I wouldn't rule it out but that's not the direction we are headed right now."
One change that's already been decided for next season is to ban any kind of dunking of the ball over the field goal post after scoring a touchdown. The league already prohibits the use of a prop during touchdown celebrations, and now officials consider the ball as a "prop."
The league is also looking at possibly making the extra-point attempt slightly more difficult; on Tuesday, it was reported that the NFL will experiment during the first two weeks of the preseason with putting the ball on the 20-yard line for extra points attempts and effectively make it a 38-yard attempt. The owners had voted down a proposal to make it a 43-yard attempt by placing it on the 25-yard line.
With regards to the playoff field expansion, Goodell said there's a "tremendous amount of interest" in the idea, but added there's still a lot to be discussed before owners and league officials can say one way or the other whether they're in favor of the idea. Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh has already expressed his support of the idea, saying the expansion is a win-win scenario for players and fans alike, according to the report.
"It's going to be good for the game. It's good for players, good for fans. It's going to be exciting."
One aspect of the proposal yet to be ironed out is how the expansion would affect existing television contracts to broadcast league games. That particular angle, and other aspects of the proposal, will be discussed at an NFLPA meeting on April 8 and then more broadly by league officials when it's put on the agenda for meetings in May.
Goodell echoed Harbaugh's sentiment, saying games toward the end of the season will be more fun with additional teams possibly jockeying for position in the playoffs, according to the report:
"We have been very incremental in this, and we believe competitively it could make our races toward the end of the year even more exciting, with more teams vying for playoff position. We still want to do some additional work."