NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sounds like a man who wants to see more teams in the playoffs.
“We currently have 12 teams qualify for the playoffs, as you know. We are looking at the idea of expanding that by two teams to 14,” Goodell said at his State of the League press conference. “There’s a lot of benefits to doing that. We think we can make the league more competitive. We think we can make the matchups more competitive towards the end of the season. There will be more excitement, more memorable moments for our fans. That’s something that attracts us. We think we can do it properly from a competitive standpoint. This will continue to get very serious consideration by the Competition Committee and then the ownership will have to vote on it.”
The decision on expanding the playoffs, however, is not up to Goodell. It will be decided by a vote of the NFL’s owners, and the owners aren’t necessarily in agreement. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is all for it, but Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie sounded a more cautious note, saying he’s concerned about how the scheduling of the extra games would work.
What may tip the balance in favor of expanding the playoffs is money: Two more playoff teams would mean two more playoff games, and those games would fetch upwards of $100 million apiece from one of the NFL’s TV partners. It’s hard to picture the NFL’s owners turning that down.