Despite the prospect of more TV money, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated Friday that the league has no plans to expand to a 16-game regular-season schedule, although the issue will continue to be a consideration -- as will expanding the playoffs.
“We’re always going to reevaluate our season structure,” he
said in a pre-Super Bowl news conference.
Any decision on additional regular-season games would have to be made in concert with the players’ union, and there are concerns about additional wear and tear and injuries on the field.
The possibility of reducing the number of pre-season games from four to two and adding two more games to the regular season has been raised in light of pre-season games generating little interest.
“The fans’ reaction to the quality of pre-season is a big concern,” Goodell said in an annual pre-Super Bowl state of the game speech. He referenced adding more playoff games later on the NFL Network.
Much of his discussion focused on efforts to improve the safety of the game, since
President Obama has recently raised concerns.
“I welcome the President’s comments because it has been a priority,” he said. Some of the initiatives, he said, include trying to eliminate all hits to the head.
Separately, he said the two games scheduled for London next year are both already sold out. “It is a sign that the game is growing globally,” Goodell said.
On the issue of whether the Washington Redskins might change their name because of insensitivity to Native Americans, Goodell suggested it won’t happen.
“I do understand the affinity for that name with the fans,” he said. “I also understand the other side.”