Goodell Advocates Expanding Regular Season
By MATTIAS KAREN, AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) An expanded regular season would improve the overall quality of the NFL and increase interest among fans, commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday.
The NFL discussed adding one or two more games to the regular-season schedule at its owners meeting this month, but no decision was made and no change is expected for 2009.
In the long term, however, Goodell said it made sense to shorten the preseason schedule in favor of more competitive games.
“We think that’s better content, it’s higher quality,” Goodell said. “That’s what our partners, our fans are going to demand.”
Goodell was speaking at a conference on the globalization of sports in London, held in conjunction with Sunday’s game between the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints at Wembley Stadium. He said the league is still working out the details of a possible expansion, and that any deal would have to be negotiated with media partners and the players’ union.
“But from a quality standpoint, we believe it’s one alternative to improve the quality of our game,” he said, adding that the long preseason has little entertainment value for fans. “It’s clear that our four preseason games are not high-quality content. They’re just not at the same level our regular-season games are. They don’t have the consequences.”
Goodell spoke during a panel discussion with Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the English Premier League. When asked by moderator Jim Nantz of CBS, Goodell said the NFL had looked briefly at the possibility of copying the model of European football leagues - where the bottom teams get relegated to a lower league every year - but rejected it as unfeasible.
“It is a fascinating concept, and we’ve actually talked about it a great deal,” he said. “Relegation is something that has created a great deal of interest. But it would be counter to everything we do now.”