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League deftly changes the subject with talk of playoff expansion

Roger Goodell AP

With former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue issuing a stunning rebuke to his successor on Tuesday via the scuttling of the bounty suspensions (along with a subtle, passive-aggressive scolding on how Commissioners should handle cultural changes) and with Commissioner Roger Goodell facing the media on Wednesday at the conclusion of the quarterly ownership meetings, the folks who craft the media message for the NFL had a challenge.

How do we get people to quit talking so much about the outcome of the bounty case?

Enter the topic of playoff expansion.

Dormant for years, Goodell offered the subject unprompted at the outset of his press conference, ensuring that some of the questions would focus on that subject — and possibly pushing the issue to the top of the stack for TV, talk radio, and the Internet.

That’s not to say the discussion about expanding the playoffs during the ownership meeting wasn’t legitimate.  The fact that the possibility found its way into Goodell’s brief opening remarks suggests that the league wanted us to be talking about something other than one of the most embarrassing moments in Goodell’s six-year tenure.

So we’re talking about it.  And based on the early returns in the poll question, it looks like most of you are against it.

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20 Responses to “League deftly changes the subject with talk of playoff expansion”
  1. dmartin17 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:23 AM

    Or I mean they can negate the whole regular season by giving more or less byes…

  2. flowadelph says: Dec 13, 2012 9:32 AM

    Well can you make it 32 teams so that my team, the Eagles can qualify.

  3. armchairqb says: Dec 13, 2012 9:33 AM

    Please do not turn the NFL into the NHL. If half the teams make the playoffs, what’s the point of the regular season?

  4. bmorepositive123 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:35 AM

    Yeah cause the NBA & NHL are doing it right, where multiple teams get in with .500 or worse records every year…

  5. sfbla says: Dec 13, 2012 9:39 AM

    I vote for 16 teams. The players may not like it at first, but it would be great for the fans (and obviously would make lots of $$ for the NFL which would mean more $$ for players). I’d love to see the top two teams in each division play for a true division championship, then seed the winners for conference playoffs before the Super Bowl. More teams in the hunt = more meanignful late season games = happier fans. As for dropping byes for the top 2 seeds, who cares? If they are that really good then they should be able to win another game against a lesser opponnent. In fact, everyone could have a bye week after the regular season & the playoffs could start on Thursday.

  6. jimmyhaffa says: Dec 13, 2012 9:43 AM

    Teams with no business being there already get in. No more. Please.

  7. neer music says: Dec 13, 2012 9:46 AM

    the playoffs should be hard to make. they should be more exclusive..

    i think the majority populace truly want to see the strongest duke it out, and not include all these bubble teams.

  8. hamiltos777 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:47 AM

    If there was ever an example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” this is it. Knock it off, Rodger.

  9. hardrockfootballfanatic says: Dec 13, 2012 9:50 AM

    This is a horrible idea driven by pure greed. First, the league is medicore enough as it is. Honestly how many good teams are there in the league that have any consistency? If you go by record, Houston and Atlanta are the two best teams. Does anyone believe that?

    Second, though I prefer pro football so many of the games are boring. College football has a certain “bigness” to many of their marquee games because every game is important. In the NFL, the regular season doesn’t mean as much until the end.

    Third, you are going to have teams with losing records make the playoffs. You already occasionally see an 8-8 team make the playoffs with only 12 teams getting in.

    This strikes me as sour grapes because players and fans don’t want an 18 game season, so the logic is sneak another game in at the playoffs. The league needs to worry more about how bad they have sissified the game. They need to concern themselves with the fact there is a lack of atmosphere at so many stadiums.

    If they want to make a few changes, try finding a way to lower ticket prices so real fans can come to a game. Allow defenders to bump the receiver for 10 yards instead of five. The passing numbers have gotten ridiculous. Go back to a 15 minute half-time to allow for more strategy, more time for fans to get back in their seats, and access injury. Make all 53 players eligible to play. Keep a 16 game schedule but have two bye weeks instead of one. Do something about the tired piped in music which is the same at all stadiums and go for more live music. Allow teams to celebrate as a team, the celebration rule is a joke. Make it fun to go to games again.

  10. crankybiatch says: Dec 13, 2012 10:13 AM

    I think they should expand the playoffs to 32 teams, then have a Super Playoffs with 12 teams, and then have a Super-Duper Super Bowl at the end. And the Super-Duper Super Bowl will start with a I, negating all Pitt and Dallas championships.

  11. shlort says: Dec 13, 2012 10:54 AM

    Really, it should be division winners only. The “wildcard” teams shouldnt even be in the mix. If you arent good enough to win your division, too bad.

    It would have to be 16 teams in order to make it work out. No more first round byes and whatnot. Everyone would play wildcard weekend. Of course the NFL Network would be given 1st round games to air. Nothing like trying to monopolize the broadcast of NFL games.

    On the other hand, someone mentioned “division championship games”. Not a horrible idea, but these teams already play two times a season. A third game? The NFL would have to reduce division games to one, instead of the 2 they currently have.

    When it is all said and done, the NFL is looking to make more money through TV and tickets. I think changing or expanding the playoffs would make the NFL less marketable in the long run. Once the novilty of the new system wore off, the fans would probably not bother watching an inflated playoff schedule unless their team were in the mix.

    We would probably see the first 6-10 team make the post season though. Imagine going 6-10 and winning the Lombardi. hahaha

  12. mactimo says: Dec 13, 2012 11:03 AM

    Roger Goodell is setting up to be the worst commissioner in the history of the league. I used to love this guy, liked his discipline. But now its clear its all about the money. Fining players for bs football plays, absolutely looking foolish over the bounty gate, forcing teams to play in canada and europe just to generate more money, facing huge liability and then, and only then, responding with asinine rule changes, pushing for 18 game schedules, getting push back from the players over 18 games so now talking about expanding the playoffs, just so the league can sell more ad revenue. This guys gotta go! The league is perfect as it is, let them hit each other, no more playoff teams, drop at least one of the preseason games and you have a perfect product. quality over quantity roger.

  13. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Dec 13, 2012 11:40 AM

    Instead of adding more playoff games, make the playoff cross conferences. The first round would have AFC 3 seed vs NFC 6 seed, etc. This would allow the two best teams to reach the super bowl even if they come from the same conference. Too many super bowls have been mismatched blowouts, where the real competition was in a conference championship.

  14. ravensgrl says: Dec 13, 2012 11:46 AM

    The only thing I like about this idea is giving all division winners a week off… expanding the playoffs would extend the season, unless they did finally cut down on the preseason games.

  15. gbwally says: Dec 13, 2012 12:19 PM

    Wow do I hate Goodell. Can you just leave things alone? No kickoffs, messing with the perfect playoff system… Ugh, the owners need to get this dunce outta there

  16. unncleal says: Dec 13, 2012 12:24 PM

    Let’s see, we’ve got a playoff system where:
    1.) Everyone wants, and fights for, home-field advantage to the bitter end of the regular season.

    2.) Week 17–with the tweak to the schedule that pits divisional foes against each other across the board–often gives us de-facto playoff games to conclude the regular season, and always gives us games that matter.

    3.) For many cities it’s a privilege just to get a team to the playoffs, and makes the season memorable.

    4.) 9-7 can win it all. 15-1 can go home.

    Pretty dang perfect as is. Don’t even think about expansion, please, until we’ve got 36-40 teams. Then, and only then, maybe, possibly, add two.

  17. alewatcher says: Dec 13, 2012 1:25 PM

    Are they trying to make this like hockey?

  18. hamiltos777 says: Dec 13, 2012 2:21 PM

    At the end of this season, someone should compile what terrible sub .500 teams would get into the playoffs under these various scenarios. That should end the discussion.

  19. jprcox says: Dec 13, 2012 4:28 PM

    Not expanding the # of teams qualifying for playoffs when the NFL expanded the divisions, means we have less wildcards. That doesn’t make sense to me. At least put back the number of wildcards we had before -3 per conf.

    4 Div winners, and 3 wildcards per conf = 14 total playoff teams.

    16 is too much, but 14 is more like we had before. I don’t think people realize we lost a wildcard spot durning the last expansion.

  20. DesertEagle1776 says: Dec 13, 2012 4:57 PM

    I am definitely in favor of eliminating the bye week for the top four teams. Just give every playoff team a bye week after the end of the regular season and start the playoffs on the following Thursday night.

    Then the first round would be the Thursday night game, Saturday and Sunday tripleheaders, then a Monday night game.

    I would find this coincidental sine the new TV deals call for a playoff game for the four letter and NFLN.

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