NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is open to playoff expansion down the road but is not as keen on the possibility of reseeding teams in the postseason.
On adding two more playoff teams, Goodell said Tuesday night in an interview in New York, “That is under serious consideration. We think it’s one of the great things about the NFL, besides the fact that it’s unscripted. Every team and their fans start the season with hope.
“You mentioned the fact that for 11 straight years we’ve had a team go from last to first, that’s unique to professional football and the NFL, that doesn’t happen in other sports. And that’s because we have such a competitive league and we want to keep that.”
Goodell did not mention a timeframe for expansion, but he said there is the potential for games on Fridays and Monday.
“It’s something that the competition committee looked at last year and thinks there are some real benefits from a competitive standpoint,” Goodell said. “They’re going to study some aspects of that because when would those games occur and one team would get a bye in each conference and you’d have six games on the weekend.
“So would you have three on Saturday, and three on Sunday? Or do you get one on Friday and two on Saturday and two on Sunday and one on Monday? I think those are the kinds of things we want to evaluate.”
On reseeding playoff teams based on records, Goodell said, “I don’t think there is momentum for that. There may be momentum in the media. That happens when you see San Francisco going to Green Bay, but one of the premises we start with every season is that your first objective is to win the division. And when you win the division, you should have a home game.”
The wild-card 49ers finished the regular season with a 12-4 record but had to travel to frigid Green Bay to face the NFC North champion Packers, who entered the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record. San Francisco was one of three wild-card teams that won last weekend.
“The races we had this past season, we had 16 games every weekend, the final weekend we have division games, so your opponent is a division opponent and 13 of those 16 games had playoff implications on the final day of the season,” Goodell said.
“That’s extraordinary and we want to keep that. If we could increase that, and again this is about believing in better, can you make it better, can you make those (division) races better by adding two more teams? That’s compelling and that’s what we’re looking at.”
With the Super Bowl being played in the New York area in February, Goodell also discussed the potential for future games outdoors in other cold-weather locations.
“I think this is obviously innovative and it’s something new, but it’s also unique because it’s New York,” he said. “This is a stage, we have two teams here. Every city can’t host a Super Bowl just because of the sheer enormity of this event. And it’s not just a football game. We have a week full of events, we probably have well over 150,000 coming in to the New York region for this event.
“Will we look at other Super Bowls in cold-weather sites? I think we’ll wait and make that evaluation later.”