Roger Goodell: Four preseason games not necessary for NFL

Could changes to the NFL’s preseason be coming?

Roger Goodell, during an appearance at Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s annual golf outing, told reporters he does not believe four preseason games are “necessary.” It’s an opinion he’s voiced before. And in Monday’s comments, he said that sentiment was supported by NFL coaches he has spoken to about the subject.

Goodell said coaches don’t believe four preseason games are needed to properly evaluate players and make roster decisions. He also said he understands that preseason football is not the greatest product for fans.

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“I’m not sure, talking with coaches, that four preseason games is necessary any more to get ready for a season to evaluate players, develop players,” Goodell said, according to the Associated Press. “There are other ways of doing that, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about that.”

Back in 2017, Goodell said he was in favor of reducing the preseason to three games. For decades, all NFL teams have played at least four preseason games. The two teams chosen to play in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, play five.

Ordinarily, the best players see the most action in the third preseason game before sitting out the fourth. The fourth game is usually a showcase of players fighting for a roster spot, or for players who will likely be cut as teams pare their rosters down to 53.

Goodell said he understands that is not the greatest product for fans.

“I feel what we should be doing is always to the highest quality, and I’m not sure preseason games meet that level right now,” Goodell said, per the AP.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during the NFL football owners meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media during the NFL football owners meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fewer preseason games, more regular season games?

Perhaps a shortened preseason could be part of an equation that results in the regular season being lengthened by two games.

The Washington Post reported last week that some owners want to propose an 18-game regular season as part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The current CBA ends after the 2020 season and Goodell said Monday that preliminary talks between the sides are already underway, per the Associated Press.

Lengthening the season came up in the previous CBA negotiations a decade ago and the players, citing safety concerns, were not on board.

Another potential proposal, per the Post, would be an expansion of the playoffs. The change would add one team from each conference, increasing the overall number of playoff teams from 12 to 14.

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