NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued his state-of-the-league address on Friday, and he firmly hinted that change could be coming in terms of the handling of replay for games and a bigger playoff field.
Goodell was asked about the possible expansion of the regular-season and postseason slate, and brought up the idea of expanding from 12 to 14 teams in the playoff field without prompting.
"There has been a great deal of focus over the last year on, would we make any modifications to our postseason?" Goodell said. "We currently have 12 teams qualify for the playoffs. We are looking at the idea … would we expand that to 14?
"There [are] a lot of benefits to doing that. We can make the league more competitive. We can make the matchups more competitive toward 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."
Goodell did not mention expanding the regular season to 18 games, which once was one of his popular stumping points. He did, however, field a question later about possibly moving the instant-replay process to the league's headquarters, and not just locally at the individual stadiums. Goodell said having someone in New York weighing in on calls could help the process.
"That input could be helpful," he said, "[to] make sure they're seeing any angle."
Goodell also touched on a few other league subjects.
• On the Redskins' franchise nickname: "I've been spending the last year talking to the leaders in the Native American community," he said. "We are listening. We are trying to understand the issues. Let me remind you: This is the name of a football team. A football team that has had the name for years and has presented the name in a way that is honored by Native Americans. We recognize that some do not agree with the name. ... But let's not forget that this is a name of a football team."
• Goodell said he would be in favor of an expanded player conduct code in light of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin hazing incident and that the league has talked to several parties about changes that could be made.
• Goodell didn't rule out the possibility of cold-weather, outdoor Super Bowls in the future. He appeared to suggest that there will be very few repeat Super Bowl cities in coming years, with the league open to new markets for the game.
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