NFL playoff expansion delayed, LA relocations pondered

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference on January 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary) (AFP/File)

Phoenix (AFP) - National Football League team owners postponed a possible expansion of playoff qualifiers for another year and are looking intently at possible relocation of one or two clubs to Los Angeles.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday other issues discussed by the owners included looking at a possible punishment for Greg Hardy in a domestic violence case that did not result in charges and that there is no timeframe for a resolution in the deflated ball investigation into the New England Patriots.

Owners had considered adding at least two new teams into the playoff mix and at least two more games to the opening week of the NFL playoffs, possibly with games on Thursday or Monday.

"We had a healthy discussion on that," Goodell said. "There were several factors in deciding to postpone. We want to make the regular season more important and more exciting and more teams in the race.

"The right thing for us to do is take another year, evaluate this and make the right decision long term."

The Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are all looking into a potential move to Los Angeles, which has not been called home by an NFL club since the 1994 season.

"If we go back to Los Angeles we want to do it right," said Goodell. "We have a lot to do to get to that place."

Two major potential stadium plans have been discussed with possibly two teams jumping into the second-largest market in America, even as quickly as this year in a temporary stadium.

"I do expect we'll be hearing from all three teams some time in late April. There will be a lot of dialogue. There will be a lot to look at with the stadium alternatives.

"We've had some discussions of whether (after 2015) is an appropriate time frame. We certainly have not come to any conclusion on that. We have not ruled it out."

A US federal judge last month overturned the NFL suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, saying an arbitrator exceeded his authority in upholding the ban imposed last September when he faced charges of causing reckless or negligent injury to a child.

Peterson pleaded no contest last November to a misdemeanor for whipping his four-year-old son with a tree branch. He was banned at least through April 15 and while reinstated, he remains on the commissioner's inactive list and Goodell said April 15 remains a key date.

"I expect to meet with Adrian before we make a final decision," Goodell said.

Goodell also dismissed the idea that the reigning Super Bowl champions New England Patriots might lose picks in the upcoming NFL Draft if a probe into improper inflation of footballs in the playoffs should find wrongdoing.

Defensive end Greg Hardy, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys last week, still faces possible sanction despite having last season cut short because of a domestic violence case that was eventually dismissed.

"We're trying to get as many facts as possible to make an informed decision," Goodell said.