NFL playoffs expansion likely, says commissioner Goodell


Expansion of the NFL play-offs is coming and it is a matter of when not if, commissioner Roger Goodell suggests.

Incorporating two more playoff teams - and two more wild card round playoff games - would add, most importantly from the league's view, a significant amount of revenue.

Scheduling six wild card games on one weekend offers a challenge and any changes have to be approved by the players' union.

Goodell, speaking at a recent question and answer session in Jacksonville, Florida, said when asked about the size of the playoff field: "It's a tough one. And the reason I say that is it works so well right now.

"We have 12 teams that qualify for the playoffs and what it does is it's not just the number of teams in the playoffs, it's what it does to our regular season.

"I think that what makes the NFL great is every game means so much. You don't ever want to lose that. You don't want to lose the fact that every regular season game is important.

"Only having 12 teams qualify, which is the smallest of any of the professional leagues by far, that's a good thing for us.

"Could you do it? Yes, you could do it. From a competitive standpoint, our competition committee said 'we think we can do it properly'.

"We're still looking at the broadcasting side of it and then there's a labour-relations side of it too, which you have to deal with with the union. It will continue to get discussion.

"[It] likely will happen at some point, but we want to be really cautious because we really like the balance we have with the importance of the regular season and the postseason and you don't want to mess with that balance."

London has hosted at least one NFL game a season since 2007, and Goodell suggested a franchise based in the English capital could be a possibility in the future, though he admitted the logistics would prove challenging.

"I'm very optimistic about our continued growth on a global basis. I think as far as putting a franchise overseas... I actually believe that a franchise in London is realistic. We're still trying to be sure we can do it from a proper competitive standpoint," he said.

"You don't want to put a team over there and have them at a competitive disadvantage, and then the logistics just of how you work that out - that's not easy.

"I think we can find solutions to those issues, the way we schedule, the way we do those things. As a market, I believe they can support a franchise. Just by what you see, the reaction. Are we 100 per cent convinced? No."