2014 not goal for expanded playoffs
ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn't slam the door Wednesday on the possibility of expanding the league's playoff field for the 2014 season, but he said there is more work to be done and that getting it done for the upcoming season is not the goal.
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"It's not out of the question, but we didn't make that decision at all," Goodell said. "We have more work to do. I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't say that's the direction we're heading right now."
The commissioner made his remarks on the last day of the NFL's owners meetings. The league's competition committee has supported the idea of expanding the postseason field from 12 to 14 teams -- seven in each conference -- for the past two years.
Goodell said owners and other team executives discussed playoff expansion this week and may take up the topic again at the league's meeting in May.
"I think there's a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but we want to make sure we do it right," Goodell said. "We've been very incremental when trying to do this. But we believed it could make our races toward the end of the season even more exciting, [with] more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans.
"But we still want to do some additional work, including talking with the players' association. We have a meeting scheduled for April 8, and this will be one of the things we'll probably discuss. And then we'll also have to talk to broadcast partners, and there's some scheduling issues we still need to work through."
Too Much Of A Good Thing?
If the NFL expanded to 14 playoff teams, that would mean nearly 44 percent of the league would play in the postseason. That figure still would be less than the NBA and NHL.
Percentage Of Teams
To Qualify For Playoffs
|*- Proposed 14 teams
**- Includes wild-card teams
--ESPN Stats & Information
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who is co-chairman of the competition committee, said much of the discussion that remains surrounds scheduling an extra game in the opening round if only one team gets a bye in each conference.
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"We deal with a six-day schedule at this point if you play in the first game on a Sunday and play in the next round on a Saturday," Fisher said. "The question is, you want to make sure how road games fit, and if we have a Monday game to go on the road that next week, [it] can be difficult. It's just part of the things we're discussing."
"There are some questions," Denver Broncos coach John Fox said. "Is it tripleheaders? Different days? I think there's support, but people want to know how it's going to work."
Goodell also said Wednesday that when he meets with NFLPA reps in April, they will discuss several other issues, including workplace behavior in the wake of the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal. Goodell said he's met with 40 players from nine teams in recent weeks.
"They want a professional workplace, and we owe it to them," he said. "And we're going to work with them to try and create that. Locker rooms are unique, so there are unique things we have to think about. We want them to be professional, we want them to be comfortable for everybody in that locker room, and that they can focus on doing their job. That's what we all owe them."
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